Jen and Charlie have worked and volunteered for Face à Face for a combined period of 7 years. Jen began her time with Face à Face as a student while Charlie started out as a volunteer and their commitment to the organization and to the people they work with evolved into many different roles. Charlie also worked as the Volunteer Coordinator and was responsible for recruitment, training and supervision of the volunteer clinical team. Jen worked hard at networking with partner agencies and foundations and organized and updated Face à Face’s current Resource Information Bank.
They have gone on to completing their studies and have started their professional careers. Despite their busy schedules, they remain dedicated to Face à Face’s mission. Jen, who works in the community, considers Face à Face an ‘allied resource’ – a hub for information, consultation, and most importantly, for client referrals. Charlie, who works as an academic advisor while pursuing her PhD in developmental psychology, nods approvingly at this statement.
The skills learned during their time at Face a Face has helped them develop their professional identify and reinforced their love for working with people. They remember developing and refining their interpersonal skills, active listening and crisis intervention skills, and they were introduced to a plethora of resources – references that help them in their work today. Jen and Charlie also praise the network of friends and colleagues that is Face à Face. Working with marginalized groups, vulnerable groups, is not an easy job, but here is a wonderful community of people working together for the greater good and doing so in a way that is humane, that promotes care, and self-care too. When asked, “where do you put it all down?” – the hardships, the heart-wrenching encounters – they sigh, they smile. Jen talks about her walk home, how she disconnects, and distracts herself in between shifts. Charlie talks about learning to trust her clients, how they always seem ok in the morning, despite the turbulence of the previous day. Nevertheless, for particularly hard days, there is always the community. They check in on each other and pay attention to how they’re doing. “It’s home,” Jen says of Face à Face. It’s not just the skills, and the people, but also “the feeling you get when you come here everyday, and you leave,” says Charlie. Of course, they realize that Face à Face is facing a great struggle now, a financial struggle that may jeopardize their ability to provide on-going services. This is why they urge the population to take action in supporting Face à Face. This is a community organization that needs to be preserved. This is why “every fundraiser we can go to,” they go to, and they urge you to as well. Jen and Charlie are the epitome of the community that can be found and fostered at Face à Face.
Written by Emma Telaro