When I first started college, I genuinely had no idea what direction I was heading toward regarding my future career. The summer before my junior year in 2018, I received a phone call from the wife of my boss at the time (I worked at Subway). She knew that I was in a sorority and wanted to connect greek organizations with a local homeless shelter for service opportunities. I went in for a simple meeting and ended up leaving with a new job at a shelter that would change my life. I hit the ground running in my new position in my very first “adult job” and learned new skills such as how to conduct intake operations, resources to connect people experiencing homelessness with services, how to help with resumes and applications, basic counseling and crisis intervention skills. Now, I have embarked on my new path to focus on working with those experiencing homelessness, specifically youth. I will graduate with a double Bachelor’s degree in psychology and nonprofit administration in May of 2020.
I first learned about Simply the Basics when I was home for winter break this past school year. I was telling my family about my new job managing a shelter, and my cousin brought up that a person that she went to highschool with, Meghan Freebeck, who was doing a lot of cool stuff working with the population in San Francisco. I immediately began researching both this person’s professional organization, Project Homeless Connect, and her founded nonprofit, Simply the Basics. I was amazed by what they did, reached out to Meghan, and we figured out a way for me to come out for a few months to intern this summer.
I have seen the way that hygiene negatively impacts the confidence of the low income community. Having a toothbrush, feminie hygiene products, deodorant, and other things can directly impact the confidence and attitude of a person. It can be easy for people to forget the privilege of constantly having these basic needs available. Everyone deserves to feel clean and healthy, regardless of the circumstances.
Personally, I could not live without menstrual hygiene products. Every menstruating woman deserves the right to these products in order to feel clean and healthy. The personal dignity lost without these products is indescribable, but they are very expensive, making them out of reach for many.
If there is anything that I have learned in my time working with people experiencing homelessness, especially youth, it is that the impact of a simple relationship is massive. It can completely change the outlook and direction of a person’s life. A lot of times, when there is no consistency in a person’s life, the sense of having basic human needs and also a person who cares about them, can make their world of a difference. I have seen a child’s grades at school skyrocket simply because a staff member at a shelter cared to ask how he was doing and spent time with him. It is here that I have learned to never underestimate the power of connection!
Join us in welcoming Grace to the Simply the Basics community!
Fun Fact about Grace: I am a wedding singer! I play guitar and piano, I write music, and I sing. I plan on pursuing my music career moving forward while working with different nonprofits!