When I graduated from college I knew that I didn’t have any work experience and I didn’t really know what life was about. I didn’t know how much a fulltime job was, you know there were so many thing that I didn’t know. I joined a group called the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, which is kind of like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps or the Peace Corps. The Lutheran Volunteer Corps was usually focused on either social justice organizations or charities. They send you places and you have a job but it’s a volunteer position, with room and board included. I lived in a house with four other women, which was great cause I didn’t just want to move to a big city by myself and figure it out, so I had four friends right from the beginning. During my time with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps I worked in an agency called the Interfaith Conference. This was mostly an office job, and I decided that I’d rather do more direct service with clients. Then I spent a year being a nursing assistant at a homeless shelter for homeless men who were released from the hospital but didn’t have any place to go. That was really interesting and I thought for a while I wanted to be a nurse but then after a year I changed my mind.
Then I went to work for an environmental agency for a couple of years and it was called the Mineral Policy Centre and it was all about mining in the West and that was really great because I got to take several trips.I planned conferences and got to go to have several conferences, one in Colorado, one in Montana, there was another one maybe in Utah. I got to see the West and I thought oh my gosh this is beautiful. I knew I wanted to work with immigrants but couldn’t get a job with immigrants in D.C. mostly because I didn’t speak Spanish and then I found this place called Annunciation House.
Annunciation House was another volunteer organization and they also give you room and board. It was a safe house for undocumented immigrants who were crossing the border or needed someplace to stay while they figured out what they were doing next. It was sort of a Catholic worker house, so it had a little religious bent. They weren’t helping people cross the border illegally but it was making itself available to people who had done that. I worked there for about three years, learned Spanish, and really loved it. I also met my husband there.