Name/Nickname: Willow Gibbons; no nickname.
Job Title at LGBT Life Center: Housing Case Manager
Where’d you come from and what’d you do there? The Home Depot, full-time garden associate (unofficial, unrecognized supervisor).
I’m here to help you with: PHP and STRMU (housing assistance); soon, I’ll also be managing the shelter we have here.
How did you become interested in this job/type of work? Initially, I was working the front desk (at Robin Hood Rd.) as a volunteer, which I did in reaction to a latent, burgeoning, compulsive need to be more involved with my community (queer-folk generally, but also the more I came to understand where my privilege placed me, the more I couldn’t ignore those who are regularly ignored because of their marginalization). Eventually, after many chats with Casey Butler (whom I’m sure you’re aware of), she invited me to volunteer with the housing department, which I jumped on, admittedly with some nerves (I didn’t know anything about housing, and while I wanted to help people in a fulfilling way, I was unsure how much help I could be, and I certainly didn’t want to get in the way). I grew to like it, and the atmosphere was so nice, especially in comparison to Home Depot, so I inquired about open positions, submitted my application, got interviewed, and here I am!
What’s an interesting thing about you that most people don’t know? I can speak/read/write Japanese at a basic level. I also write very well, and have an above-average grasp of grammar, which usually garners more sighs than thank yous, haha!!
What excites you about joining the LGBT Life Center Team? I feel like I definitely hit on this in my above spiel, but
to be concise: the warm, welcoming atmosphere full of people who genuinely want to help others, plus the opportunity to genuinely help those in need. I enjoy being nitpicky, and housing is a nightmare when you don’t know anything about it; so, working here, I get to be nitpicky, I get to creatively explore how to guide people through a process that most are ignorant of (myself included), and I get to learn. Ultimately, I get to go home knowing I’m making a difference.
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