“I knew while earning my degree that I wasn’t meant to work for a big corporation or for-profit company. I wanted to use my skills, talents, and what I was learning to serve a non-profit or a smaller guy, an organization that was doing work on the ground to help others rather than help themselves.”
In the corner of Family Promise’s main office resides Hilary, a smiling face when you walk through the doors. Hilary runs the main office as the Administrative Coordinator. Graduating from Eastern Washington University in 2016, Hilary got her degree in accounting but knew she wanted to work in-depth for a smaller company rather than a big corporation. After graduation, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Gonzaga University Center for Community Engagement, where she developed and implemented the Zag Volunteer Corps Program (ZVC). It was there that she first came to know about Family Promise.
“What I really love about Family Promise, and why I was drawn here, is they have a lot of the same values of that program (ZVC), of walking alongside others, meeting people where they’re at, and really seeing others as having infinite worth and being worthy of love. Just because you are experiencing homelessness, doesn’t mean you’re any less than anybody else. You’re just a human and deserve a chance to be happy and successful, like everyone else. I feel very fortunate to work for an organization with these values that allows me to serve my community.”
“I like to ask people: 'If you were homeless, and scared, and didn’t have anywhere to stay or anyone to turn to, how would you cope with that?' I like to remind them that they don’t know the reasons behind someone experiencing homelessness. It’s not our place to judge a person because of the situation that they’re in. If, as a society, we agree that every person has infinite worth... then our place is to meet people where they’re at and help them to be the best versions of themselves.”
She reminded me of the quote, “We judge others because we judge ourselves.” “I always challenge people to look into themselves and ask, why am I judging this person so harshly?” she said. “You should never judge someone who’s trying to better themselves. Instead, you should be encouraging them along the way.”
In a closing statement, Hilary said something to me that I think is important for us all to keep in mind, regardless of who we are or what we do: “Making a difference in one person’s life, even if it’s just a small moment, is still making a difference.”
Written by: Grace Wahlman