Being Blessed By The Unexpected

By Kansas Simmons

Kansas is a Caseworker at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco Riley Center

Six months into my year of service, I am still in awe of what I get to do each day as a Case Manager at the Riley Center in San Francisco. Each day I learn more and more not only about the seven women I am privileged to work with, but also about myself. We work together on finding permanent housing, stable employment, as well as numerous other resources.

When initially starting my work as a case manager I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. What if they didn’t take me seriously? After all, I am recent college graduate, 23 years old, and I am assigned to somehow help these strong and admirable women become more self-sufficient. It seemed like a daunting and arduous task. However, my very first client changed all of that for me. “How old are you, anyway?” Was one of the first questions she asked me.

My biggest fear was becoming reality. As time moved forward, she proved to be one of my most trying clients to work with. She asked the tough questions, challenged me, and challenged everything I thought I knew thus far. “Do you understand what it means to be homeless?” She was right, I didn’t understand, so how could I possibly try to help her stand on her own two feet? As the weeks passed, our rapport with one another transformed. We began to engage in moments of genuine laughter, and most importantly, this woman who had challenged me from the beginning slowly began to trust me.

Time moved forward, we continued working together, and the day before my Christmas vacation there was a card on my desk from her. It stated, “Kansas, you will never truly know how much I look forward to meeting with you each week. I hope you know how much I appreciate you and I hope you know how much of a difference you have made in my life. You are one of a kind, darling. God has sent me a blessing, and it is you.”

As tears streamed down my face, I rejoiced in the sheer fact that it is I who has been blessed beyond measure.

eva Smythe