If it takes the same resources to house ten people who have only recently lost their homes as it does to house one “difficult” client who has been living on the streets for decades, then should we not concentrate on the ten “easy” clients? Many organizations do. But one of the things that FID board member Nishanthi Kurukulasuriya values about her involvement with Friends In Deed is that FID does try to find a balance between expedience and the kind of demanding compassion that is needed to work with a more challenging client. And this, says Nishanthi, is where she finds the overlap between her day job and her involvement in Friends In Deed.
Nishanthi is a disability rights attorney whose connection with Friends In Deed goes back to several years before she became a board member. She used to work with long-time FID board member Pam Marx, and through her Nishanthi got involved with providing legal clinics, volunteering at the Bad Weather Shelter, and helping with Christmas for the Kids.
Friends In Deed’s most challenging clients are often people who have disabilities and who are marginalized in multiple ways, and it is here that Nishanthi sees the point of connection between what she does for a living and the work we do at Friends In Deed. What is important to her is a holistic approach to providing services – rather than providing “one-size-fits-all” services, FID tries to treat people with dignity and help them as they want and need to be helped.
Nishanthi feels that she is privileged to have had a good education, and she hopes that she can use that education, and her passion for helping people to “thrive, not survive,” to make an impact. We are grateful to have her working with us!