Meet our new Program Director for Sister Nora’s Place, Kansas Simmons! Though she is new in her role, she is not new to the campus as she shares with us her past experiences at Loaves & Fishes’ Maryhouse Program and in the social work field at large.
Prior to joining Loaves & Fishes, where did you work?
Prior to joining Loaves & Fishes, I held positions in the fields of intimate partner violence, mental health, homeless services and child welfare. Every position I have held has been different in scope, but has consistently stretched me and challenged me as a Social Worker and I am looking forward to seeing what Sister Nora’s Place will bring.
How long have you worked in social service?
I have worked in Social Service for eight years. The bulk of my work experience is in crisis intervention, homelessness and working with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.
What drew you to social service initially?
My love for social service started when I served as a full-time volunteer with the Vincentian Service Corps of San Francisco. I was charged with managing a caseload of fifteen women, offering those fleeing from violence or other forms of domestic abuse safe and confidential respite. After my first day, I knew I was right where I needed to be.
Now that you are on campus what have you learned about this place?
I was lucky enough to be previously employed with Maryhouse of Loaves & Fishes as an Intake Specialist and I was immediately struck by the compassion and respect afforded to every woman and child who walked through the doors. I have been welcomed back to the campus so graciously and I am in constant awe of the resiliency of our guests and the commitment of our staff who remind our guests of their humanity, dignity, and worth on a daily basis.
What are your feelings and your sense of the campus, the people, the volunteers, our guests?
Our campus is such a unique place as it affords the opportunity for our most vulnerable and marginalized neighbors to feel seen and be heard. The volunteers on our campus play such an integral role in showing up for each of our guests through their ongoing care and nurturing interactions; I often look to them as a reminder of humility, generosity and selflessness within this work.
Is there anything else you want to add about yourself, about how you feel working here?
I am eager and humbled to take on the Director role with Sister Nora’s Place. The opportunity I have been given to lead a team of strong and admirable women in support of our residents is not lost on me. Holding space for the residents and for their triumphs and tribulations is such an immense privilege. The women at Sister Nora’s Place have a story to be told, and I am excited to have a front row seat.