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7 Questions – Kathleen Sibert (A-SPAN)

Catalogue welcomes … Kathleen Sibert, Executive Director of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN), whose workers reach out directly to to homeless men and women — frequenting wooded areas, overpasses, parks, and abandoned buildings, encouraging them to pick up a bagged meal and to drop in at Opportunity Place, the hub of A-SPAN’s operations. Want to take part? A-SPAN’s clients need new glasses and bus fares for job interviews. Help out HERE!

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

The most interesting recent project that we are involved in is the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which is being brought to Arlington as 100 Homes. It is a national initiative to house the most vulnerable people living on the streets and is a powerful way to end homelessness.

2. What else are you up to?

We are constantly working to expand the services that we offer to our clients who live on the streets of Arlington. We run the Arlington’s Emergency Winter Shelter from November through March and brought nursing services there, which has significantly improved the health of our clients and dramatically reduced the number of times they are seen at the Emergency Room and in the hospital.

3. Is there a moment, person, or event that inspired you to do this particular work?

I have had a long career in the corporate world and I decided I wanted to use my skills in development, financial, and management to “give back.” It was one of the best decisions of my life!

4. Who is your hero in the nonprofit/philanthropy world?

I am inspired by the founder of A-SPAN, Lora Rinker, because she started the organization from the porch of her home and grew it into an organization that provides the continuum of services for the homeless — from emergency needs to housing.

5. What is the single greatest (and non-financial) challenge to the work that you do every day?

The greatest challenge is getting people to feel compassion for those who are the most vulnerable and living on the streets. Everyone on the street has a story and you realize that anyone could end up there.

6. What advice do you have for other people who want to work in your field?

It is a field that is challenging and very rewarding because you can make a difference in someone’s life.

7. What’s next?

Now, it is about ending homelessness by housing people as quickly as possible.

EXTRA: If you could have a power breakfast with any three people (living, dead, or fictional) who would they be?

I would like to have a power breakfast with three strong women: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Angelina Jolie!

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