In the Spotlight: Meet Brittany!
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
What is your role at Sojourner?
I am a shelter advocate at Sojourner. We provide emergency shelter for women and their children. I help women who are in dangerous situations explore realistic, safer, and more hopeful options.
I support women at the shelter, providing information and resources to help them create a safer and more stable life. I lead domestic violence support group which provides discussion and education on topics related to domestic violence, health and wellness to help clients understand and heal from the traumatic experiences they have endured. Support group also shows clients they are not alone and helps decrease the isolation they may experience. In addition, I coordinate the Children's Program at Sojourner. I provide support and youth activities for the children who are at the shelter with their mother.
What background do you bring into your work with Sojourner?
I graduated from St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN with a BA degree in Human Services. While going to school in Winona I was involved in the Women’s Resource Center and a 24-hour crisis line that worked with women and children who were experiencing domestic violence. Prior to Sojourner, I worked at another domestic violence agency, Tubman, for two years. While at Tubman I was asked to create a Fourth Floor for their Safe Journey’s shelter. This Fourth Floor continues to this day to service unaccompanied minors ages 15 to 25.
I grew up in Brooklyn Park, MN. Brooklyn Park is an extremely diverse community and I was very involved in my high school and community. I worked with the Police Department and Community Leaders to create a Youth in Action Group. We worked on building a better relationship between police officers and local citizens. The Youth in Action Group provided healthy, safe after school activities for students. We created and provided a city map for the youth and their parents to help them locate safe, supportive places to go. This information and map was very valuable for many of the students and their families in our community.
I have also always been active with youth programs and sports. I played Varsity Women’s Hockey for St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN. I have used my experiences and athletic ability to work with youth in the community and at the shelter. I enjoy working with the youth, planning activities for them and organizing outings for the youth and their mothers. Often the goal of these programs is to better the relationship between safe adults, police officers and local citizens. Working with women and their children and helping them find safety and stability has always been a passion of mine. This is part of the reason I was drawn to Sojourner Project in 2016.
What do you most want people to know about the work you do?
I would like to tell people that being an advocate is many things. It's asking clients how they really feel about the situations that they are in. I have the opportunity to actually write "Safety Plans" for clients and their children. Other times it's just being with someone, so they don't feel so alone. Advocacy is different for each client. For me, that is the exciting part of my job.