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Staff Highlight: July

Rylie O’Meara has been working with the Thrive Central Oregon team as part of our partnership with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest/Americorps over the past year. She says goodbye to Central Oregon and the Thrive team this month before heading off to medical school in Chicago!

Rylie's best memory: So many of the friendships I have made in Bend have come to me through Thrive. I don't have any family in Bend, so it was nice to have my Thrive crew to celebrate holidays with; like doing yoga and Easter dinner with Sarah and dressing up for Halloween with Emily and Melissa. I love doing things outside of work with our staff, like when we all grabbed a drink together at a local Redmond brewery after a long day!

Her biggest takeaway: How important it is to advocate for more affordable and low-income housing in the Central Oregon area. There is nothing a person can do that makes them unworthy of a safe and reasonable place to live! Housing is a human right and I was reminded of that every day through my work here.

Advice for future JVC members: Try not to get stuck feeling like you are powerless! I thought often about the dynamics of power and privilege while working in my position at Thrive. It can be easy to feel powerless when there are so many folks contacting you in need of housing, but simply not enough affordable housing units available in the area. It is important to remind yourself that, to the clients we are serving, we ARE very powerful! We possess knowledge of how the housing system works and we have the power to share that knowledge with those who need someone to advocate for them.

Words of wisdom:

Stick up for those you are working with, but also remember to stick up for yourself! The work that we do is very challenging, and no service worker deserves to be treated unkindly, regardless of how frustrating of a situation a client may be in. We treat others with respect and we deserve the same!

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