5 Questions with Caitlin Pae
This month we sat down with Caitlin Pae, coordinator of the Christmas Hamper Program for our 5 Questions segment.
Q. What made you want to join the Shepherds of Good Hope team?
A. After I graduated from university with a degree in Sociology, I applied to employment positions which would allow me to work within my field of study. I had volunteered at the Mission soup kitchen throughout my time in high school and through that experience developed an interest in working with our community’s most vulnerable population. I’m currently planning on completing my MSW (Masters of Social Work) and this role gives me great real life experience which I can apply to my field of study. I’m from a small town where we aren’t really exposed to homelessness, so working at Shepherds of Good Hope provides me with valuable life and career experience.
Q. What is the best part of your job?
A. Interacting with clients and my co-workers is definitely the best part of my job. You never know what to expect when you start a shift; it’s not a typical office job. I always wanted to help other people and this role gives me the opportunity to do that. I also love the different backgrounds you see with our clients and hearing their life experiences.
Q. What would you be doing if you were not at your current job?
A. I would definitely be working within the same field. I would be trying to do social work, especially working with current and former military personnel.
Q. What is one thing you would like to tell people about homelessness?
A. I feel like a lot of people assume that homeless people are “choosing” the lifestyle. In my experience, a lot of people who use the services and programs at Shepherds of Good Hope have faced difficult life circumstances, be it mental health issues, growing up with trauma, etc. They didn’t necessarily “choose” this life. Homelessness could happen to anyone. For example, if a person suffers an acquired brain injury due to trauma and doesn’t have the support of family and friends, they can easily end up on the streets. Every client has their own story and people need to understand that they didn’t necessarily choose to end up on the streets. I really admire the resilience that many of our clients have.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working at Shepherds?
A. My friends and family are really important to me, so spending time with them is my top priority. I feel like I’m really privileged to have a close-knit family so I try my best to spend as much time with my grandparents as I can. I also really like to travel but unfortunately don’t always get the time to do it. I’m currently trying to plan a trip to Banff, AB to visit some of my good friends who are living out there.