Staff Spotlight – Ashley Silva

Meet N Street Village Case Management Team Leader, Ashley Silva.  Ashley has been working at N Street Village since April 2009.  As Case Management Team Leader, Ashley works with her clients while coordinating N Street Village intakes and processes for welcoming newcomers to the N Street Village community.  Ashley took a few minutes out of her very busy day to share a bit about herself and her work with N Street Village friends and supporters.

N Street Village (NSV):  Tell us a bit about yourself.
AS: I come from a large family in Michigan where I was born and raised. Family is very important to me; I have four sisters, four brothers, and the two best parents a person could ask for. I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2008 where I focused on Interpersonal Practice in Mental Health. I currently hold an LGSW and I’m working toward obtaining my LICSW early fall 2012.

NSV: What brought you to N Street Village?
N Street Village is the only place I applied to in D.C. and it turns out, it was the only place for me. When I was in school one of my classmates kept talking about a fantastic agency she used to volunteer at so when I came across the opening at N Street Village, I already knew it was a place I could proudly stand behind. As soon as I came here for my interview, I felt like I was right at home so I decided to make the transition from Michigan, where I lived my whole life, to D.C.

NSV: What was your first impression of N Street Village?
When I came for my interview I passed by N Street Village several times; it was hard for me to imagine such a beautiful community could be the right place. No other social service agency I’ve been to compares. When I first walked through the courtyard and entered Bethany, I felt surrounded by joy and love. I felt at home right from the beginning.

NSV: What has surprised you most about working at N Street Village?
Even when women in the community have transitioned on, they still come back to N Street Village for years to show their support for the community.

NSV: What do you find most challenging about working as a case manager?
The most challenging aspect of working as a case manager is having limited time and resources. There are so many women ready to make a change in their lives and there aren’t enough places like N Street Village; we have 92 beds and there are always more women than we can serve.

NSV: What do you wish other people knew about clients you work with?
I wish everyone could understand that the women we serve are more like us than not; any of us could experience an unexpected setback that could lead to homelessness.

NSV: What is it that N Street Village is doing to make an impact?
N Street Village is giving women a safe place to eat a meal; lay their heads down; work toward their goals; and build positive relationships.

NSV: If you weren’t working as a case manager-what would you be doing instead?
It’s hard to imagine doing something else, but I would love to do something in the sciences like archaeology. Or if I were really lucky I’d certainly enjoy being a food critic!

NSV: What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting N Street Village?
I would tell them if you care about helping women, then N Street Village is the best place to start! We offer wrap-around services to more than half the homeless women in D.C. It doesn’t take a large donation to make a difference; just $25 can feed 20 women in our Bethany Women’s Center.