This month, we would like to introduce you to N Street Village staff member Allison Wills. Since 2008, Allison has worked in Bethany Women’s Center as a Program Assistant. Allison works with the Bethany Women’s Center team to support the basic needs of clients and to connect them with resources and opportunities available within the community. Allison recently shared with us more about herself and her experience at N Street Village.
NSV: Tell us a bit about yourself.
AW: I am a native Washingtonian, born and raised. I graduated from T. Roosevelt Senior High School. Go Riders! I attended The Art Institute of Washington’s Culinary Arts program.
NSV: What brought you to N Street Village?
AW: I started working at N Street Village as a volunteer in Bethany Women’s Center. I enjoy doing human service work and giving back to the community, so when a position was offered to me I saw it as a perfect opportunity.
NSV: What was your first impression of N Street Village?
AW: I was very impressed with the services that were offered. I felt that there was a total wraparound of services that were provided to the women. N Street Village offered food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. I remember thinking – “this place is awesome!”
NSV: What has surprised you most about working at N Street Village?
AW: I was very surprised to see the amazing recuperation of a woman with a severe mental illness. To see women come in without medication and probably at the lowest point of their life turn things around has been astounding. I have seen women stabilize their mental health with medication, which has allowed them to be able to complete training programs, obtain employment, and move out of homelessness. It is truly a process like no other!
NSV: What do you find most challenging about working as a Program Assistant in Bethany Women’s Center?
AW: As a Program Assistant, I find it to be most difficult working with the women who are street bound and refuse shelter. Very often, as a result of the weather conditions, they can develop health conditions that may be life-threatening. I can remember during the big snowstorm of 2010 there was a street bound client who suffered from frostbite. We were able to provide her with dry clothing, warm socks, a new pair of shoes, and minor first aid but she refused medical services. I was very afraid that it would result in a lost limb but thanks to the help of the wonderful team at N Street Village she is ok.
NSV: What do you wish other people knew about N Street Village?
AW: I wish that others knew that N Street Village is not only for homeless women. If you are a woman who is struggling in any area of your life, N Street Village can help you refocus your life in the right direction – before you are faced with homelessness. I am a strong believer in stopping a problem before it starts.
NSV: What is it that N Street Village is doing to impact the issue of women who are homeless or very low-income?
AW: N Street Village provides a very large spectrum of services that offer support to women who are homeless and have low-income. N Street Village provides women with two meals and a snack daily in our day center, Bethany Women’s Center. They are provided with a place to stay by being a resident of Luther Place Night Shelter, Group Homes, Recovery Housing, Transitional Housing, and now at our newest program, Miriam’s House. Women can attend groups like “Let’s Talk Mental Health” and “Anger Management.” Women can receive clothing and a hot shower. These are just a few of the services that are offered and I could go on for days.
NSV: What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating to N Street Village?
AW: I would recommend that they go to our website www.nstreetvillage.org and check out our wish list. There are many items that we need that will help us better serve our clients and the wish list is the best way to be informed of those.
NSV: If you weren’t working at N Street Village, what would you be doing instead?
AW: If I was not at the Village, I would probably be working at another organization with a similar mission. I would love to work with families. I think that keeping a family together is very important.
NSV: What do you do when you aren’t working?
AW: I am a proud mother of a beautiful 6-year-old daughter, so when I’m not working I enjoy spending time with her and cooking for my family.
NSV: What do you enjoy most about living and working in D.C.?
AW: One thing I most enjoy about living in D.C. is the convenience of transportation — a bus or train takes you almost anywhere. I also love the proximity of restaurants and stores.