Reflections from the Road: Columbia, SC

by Wayne Centrone
April 12, 2010

Image of Wayne Centrone

Working in homeless services can be a very lonely experience. As a service provider, some days you feel totally exhilarated by the success of a client. Other days, you might feel completely defeated by their struggle. Each day brings a new set of challenges. Rarely do you have time to slow down and process everything you experience in this challenging line of work.

Before I joined the Homelessness Resource Center (HRC) training team, I worked in direct service delivery. Back then, I looked forward to trainings and conferences as opportunities to connect with my colleagues, recharge my spirit, and learn new skills. Most of all, I looked forward to meeting other providers who faced the same daily challenges as myself.

Recently, a team of us from HRC and Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to offer a free two-day training called “Promoting Wellness.” The curriculum included workshops on Motivational Interviewing, trauma-informed care, how to work with hard to serve youth, Housing First, Critical Time Intervention, consumer involvement, and PATH data collection.

We had a strong team of trainers who represented a multitude of professional disciplines. Participants came from all over South Carolina and the Southeast (with someone who came all the way from Bingham, NY!). The agenda was packed with workshops on best practices for providers, based on the latest research.

A local artist shared his beautiful and provocative paintings with us as part of a presentation on “Homelessness and the Arts.” He is a participant in the South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s “Art of Recovery” program.

By the end of the second day, we were all friends.

Each workshop helped providers to learn tangible, concrete skills that they can use in their everyday work. The theme of “promoting wellness” was woven throughout, with a clear focus on promoting a person-centered, trauma-informed, and recovery-oriented approach to serving people experiencing homelessness.

The venue was the beautiful Department of South Carolina Archives and History. Everyone at HRC and PATH extends a big “THANK YOU” to all our partners in South Carolina who helped make the event a success.

As I’ve transitioned out of direct service delivery and into a supporting role, I’ve felt a little removed from the pressures my direct service colleagues face on a daily basis. But my time in South Carolina helped to reconnect and reinvigorate me. Through conversations with providers, I gained new insight into the wonderful people who have dedicated their careers to homeless services.

It made me realize that HRC’s work – the work of supporting the people who care for those experiencing homelessness – is extremely important.

I can't wait for the next training event!

Join the HRC in El Paso, Texas on May 25 & 26, 2010 for the next free, two-day “Promoting Wellness” training. Register now!

In June 2010, the HRC training team will head to Tacoma, Washington in June 2010. Stay tuned for registration details!

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Category: HRC Insight | HRC Insight