When Lauren first moved to San Francisco, she was looking for meaningful ways to get involved in her community. As a child, Lauren and her family did a lot of service work with local homeless populations, so when she came across At The Crossroads, she knew this was the place for her.
Six years later, and Lauren is one of ATC’s longest-ever Office Volunteers. She comes in every Wednesday and helps with anything and everything—from packing food boxes during Office Hours, to shopping for maternity clothes, to helping out with special, program-related projects. According to Lauren, when she arrives at ATC, she “expects the unexpected.”
“You start to open up and you’re able to have these conversations with people and then you learn a lot about people. You learn what’s good for them, what’s bad for them. You really are able to fully care for them and ask them, ‘What do you need from me?’” -Lauren, Office Volunteer
Outside of volunteering, Lauren is a nurse. She spends half of her time doing kidney and liver transplants at California Pacific Medical Center and the other half as an in-patient nurse with the city of San Francisco’s shelter health program, working with homeless adults as well as youth. For Lauren, the philosophies that inform ATC’s client work are similar to those she employs regularly in her professional life.
Lauren sat down with ATC’s Volunteer Coordinator, Sharissa, to discuss her experiences as a volunteer with ATC and how important a harm reduction approach is to both her work as a nurse and ATC’s work with homeless youth on the streets.