As Midori joined fellow Elevation Outreach volunteers at Crisis Assistance Ministry last week, she quickly earned the title of “Chief Encourager.” As she began to greet people in cars arriving for curbside assistance, she saw herself in every harried face.
“It was very humbling to be on the giving end, because once upon a time, I was there,” she says. “I know how scary it is to have nowhere to go. And Crisis Assistance was there for me.”
You see, Midori knows what it feels like to receive an eviction notice. Back in 2001, she was right out of college with a job she loved. Then 9/11 happened. She was laid off and soon faced eviction from her first solo apartment.
She says that’s when she learned two important lessons: “Never be ashamed to ask for help,” and, “You have to be resourceful with what you have.”
When she visited Crisis Assistance Ministry, she says, “I met with the lady who told me there was nothing to be ashamed of. Then she explained exactly how it works and what to expect and she prepared me. That’s how I got through it. I slept in my car for 3 days, but she gave me the help I needed to get back in my apartment.”
After that, Midori says, there were some highs and some lows. She found a new job and was able to sustain herself. She had to apply those lessons again, and learn some new ones, as she fled domestic violence.
Over time, she began to share the lessons that have carried her forward through a lot of change. As a counselor for people in recovery, as an account specialist for a communications company, and as a volunteer through Elevation Outreach, she says the lessons are still the same.
“Ask for help, don’t discount the resources you have, don’t discount your own value,” she recounts. “Don’t count yourself out. You are your own best asset. Don’t feel like a failure for acknowledging your reality. The only failure is when you don’t try. If you start with being honest with yourself, you can get through anything.”
Today, Midori is stably employed and pursuing an MBA focusing on Human Resources Leadership.
“I want to help survivors of trauma transcend back into the workforce and learn how to thrive again,” she explains. “When you’re in survival mode, it’s no different from any other PTSD. You have to learn to look beyond that tunnel.”
She sees helping others as the solution to many of the troubles she sees around her.
“In order for us all to thrive together, we are all responsible for the upkeep of our community,” she says. “We’re a growing city, but we have homeless camps too. There’s obviously an inequity — a disparity that needs a light shined on it. Crisis Assistance has always been that beacon of light to let us know we still have work to do. But also that beacon of hope, and hope is so important in getting through a crisis.”
Because of generous donors like you, Midori is able to look back with gratitude on the lessons she learned in her own moment of crisis. Even better, she’s able to provide encouragement to families seeking assistance now.
“I just want them to know, I’ve been there,” she says. “I tell them, ‘It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. You can get through this. It just might not feel like it right now.'”
Your gift today will help hundreds of families a week avoid eviction or loss of utilities so they can move forward as Midori did nearly two decades ago.