Doing Work That Matters
Long before she came in contact with Mile High United Way, Susie knew she wanted to work with the 2-1-1 service. “I always wanted to help people,” she said, “but living in Texas, you had to be bilingual to work [at 2-1-1].” As her children grew older, Susie sought a fresh start and took the opportunity to move to Colorado. Since Susie is visually impaired, she connected with Team EEI, a company dedicated to providing vocational training and job coaching services for the blind and visually impaired. Through Team EEI’s partnership with Mile High United Way and its Adult Self-Sufficiency initiative, Susie obtained an internship with the 2-1-1 call center during the spring of 2012. Her positive experience encouraged her to apply for a full time position and she was hired in November of that year.
At 2-1-1, Susie connects community members with Mile High United Way partners that provide the service they need, such as emergency housing, child care, and so much more. Susie says that working for 2-1-1 has greatly increased her ability to empathize. She enjoys helping “those who have been forgotten” in particular – members of marginalized groups such as domestic violence victims and people with disabilities.
Though Susie is happy to be making a difference in people’s lives, she admits that, “It’s hard sometimes. People are distraught and sometimes no matter what you do or say, they’re panicking.” Another challenging aspect is letting go. In order to focus all of her attention on each caller, Susie must move past the concerns and worries she had for the previous callers – something much easier said than done. Still, at the end of the day, she is satisfied with her work because she likes helping people and knowing that she’s made a positive impact on their lives. “I know that my work matters,” Susie boasts, “it changes lives and I am part of something meaningful."
In May alone, Susie and her fellow 2-1-1 call center specialists answered over 7,600 calls from people who needed help or, in some cases, wanted to give help. 2-1-1 unites more than 4,400 health and human services in order to better serve our community by allowing multiple organizations to work together.