Meet Connie Dean – Helping sad stories become success stories
When people contact the Coalition’s Center for Women and Families (CWF) in crisis mode, they’re most often guided to Miss Connie, our Intake Coordinator. Connie knows if we have space, maintains the waiting list, has been known to “move heaven and earth” to make room for homeless women and families, and interviews incoming CWF clients. As hers is the first office a new resident visits, we wanted to tell you more about this long-time employee.
Connie Dean has dedicated her life to helping people. She came to Coalition for the Homeless 22 years ago, when homeless women and families with children were housed in the old Trailways Bus Station, and men were accommodated in the Men’s Pavilion, unless there was an overflow of women and families.
Then, says Connie, “We had to move them into the Pavilion along with the men, in a cordoned-off section. The old WFTV Channel 9 studio was being renovated into what is now our Center for Women and Families (CWF), but it wasn’t available yet.”
Connie’s compassion for the homeless women and families she helps is very evident. She believes her empathy, as well as well as her desire to help our clients regain control over their lives, comes from her own background, which was fraught with obstacles from an early age. Connie can look back at those who said she’d “never make it” and know they were wrong – and she has the Social Service Degree to prove it!
Since she meets everyone who comes through the doors of CWF, Connie really has a handle on our resident trends. “We used to see mostly people who were lower-skilled, had less formal education, and weren’t prepared with some of life’s basic skills. Fortunately, our programs prepare clients with the essentials, such as financial literacy, so they can become self-sufficient,” she said.
“Now, because of the economy, we’re seeing people with Master’s Degrees and job certifications, people who have their daily living skills in place, but can’t find work. Many are locals; but others have come here from out of state, with their families, to look for jobs. It’s totally not the stereotype of homelessness.”
Connie is proud to be part of such a critically needed community service. “I believe the Coalition is successful in what we do thanks to how hard the staff works, our great on-site partners, and the generous donors and volunteers who support us.”
“I feel super good when I’m able to bring someone in and they don’t have to sleep on the street. I have a satisfied feeling at the end of the day when I can help someone’s sad story become a success story!”
And that, Connie, is why you’re the best at what you do!