Laura (pictured here one Christmas at the Bad Weather Shelter) is both one of our newest staff members, and one of our longest serving! As Director of the Bad Weather Shelter she has been with us only a matter of weeks, but as a Bad Weather Shelter worker she has been helping to cover the winter season for over 20 years! She was the ideal person to take on the role of Director of the Bad Weather Shelter as we pivot back to running a congregate shelter.
Laura’s father is a long-serving minister at Altadena Baptist Church, and it was through the church’s indefatigable support of BWS that Laura first began volunteering. But while Laura’s “day job” is in insurance – to pay the bills – her heart is in being active in the community. After the first couple of years of volunteering she was invited to join the staff, and she has been with us almost every season since. And while she is always saddened to see the same clients return year after year, Laura’s long-term connection to the shelter means she has a real depth of relationship with many of them. Given how harsh life on the streets can be, she says it’s always a relief to see that the people she’s known for so long are still ok.
As well as volunteering, Laura has two adult children and has had a whole host of foster children over the years, many of whom she is still “mom” to. Besides spending time with her family, she also loves travel, and binge-watching TV.
Laura has used her personal connections to recruit a great team for this year’s season! On the payroll she has many former FID team members, nurses, mental health specialists, therapists, and people with lived experience of homelessness. We are tremendously grateful to her for using her time and experience to bring our shelter back to life after the pandemic hiatus.