We’re so lucky at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley to have a staff of hardworking, committed team-players who work tirelessly at our mission of building affordable housing and enriching community life.
In this series, you’ll get to know the people behind the work.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in South Carolina and moved to Woonsocket in 1959! The males in the family were stationed in Rhode island during WWII. After the war, they realized that their families could do better in the North. The Northern part of the country had hundreds of textile factories along the Blackstone River. My entire family (I have 15 sisters and brothers!) left South Carolina and moved here to Rhode Island in the late ’50s and we’ve been here ever since! I also have two daughters I’m very proud of.
What do you do at NWBRV?
As the Executive Assistant, I’m the receptionist for NeighborWorks, I sit in the front office at the main desk. I’m able to greet all visitors or anyone with appointments and direct people where they need to go. I’m also the Director’s assistant. I make sure the Board of Directors have what they need and are well taken care of. I manage the office, make sure we have our necessary supplies, and take care of all mail issues. I also help with our property management office as they’re the ones who work directly with our residents.
I started working with NeighborWorks as an AmeriCorps member completing a year of service. At that time, I also became a resident and have lived in one of our units for 25 years. So I’ve also been able to help the property management office with anything I can in the neighborhood. Between having lived in Woonsocket since 1959, and in the Constitution Hill neighborhood since I was eight, I’ve gotten to be the eyes and ears for our organization!
How long have you been working with NWBRV, and how did you start working with the organization?
NeighborWorks is over 30 years old and I’ve been here for about 25 of them. I started as an AmeriCorps member. After I did my two years of service, I was hired here. I went from community organizing when I started in 1996, to the Director’s assistant and receptionist. So that’s what I do now. I was also a certified HomeOwnership counselor for a good 10 years as well.
What is your proudest accomplishment during your time with NWBRV?
I ended up being a single mom in my thirties. My daughters were able to get the educations they both wanted. One became a lawyer and the other a clinical social worker. I was always thinking, “what do I have to do to take care of my children.” Living around family and in the small, close knit town of Woonsocket, gave me the support I needed to be able to go to work to support my daughters. The neighborhood helped me raise my children. And then I was given the opportunity through NeighborWorks to help the neighborhood. So I would say, being able to do a job that allowed me to raise my children and then being able to give back to that job and the neighborhood.
What inspires you to do this work?
Well my work is still ongoing! My retirement is coming up soon, but I’m still going to work for a while. Since NeighborWorks is a housing agency, I’ve been able to help a lot of people that I knew. It’s been like a double whammy of love and thankfulness that I lived in Woonsocket. Because Woonsocket helped me raise my two children, I have felt so grateful to be able to help the residents here with their needs. So what inspires me is the town of Woonsocket and its people. I feel good about my work here!