My name is Maria Alvarez - I’m a senior at Westmont College majoring in Kinesiology. I have been an intern with SB ACT since January and have enjoyed my time in working with and for the marginalized of Santa Barbara.
The Alameda Park Care & Referral Center team has been working on reunification for our friends without homes at Alameda Park. Reunification is the process in which we reunite our friends back to their family, friends, an employer or program willing and able to offer ongoing support to end the cycle of homelessness. We have reunified about 14 people since we’ve started, and have not seen them since — which we count as success!
In addition to my work with SB ACT, I have been volunteering with Doctors Without Walls/SB Street Medicine for the past two years. Doctors Without Walls is a partner in SB ACT’s Alameda Park Care & Referral Center, offering medical assistance to those without homes at Alameda Park every week. As part of my volunteering with Doctors Without Walls and SB ACT, since January I have been partaking in meals with friends without homes on Thursday nights. I have met, gotten to know, and formed relationships during these times of communion. I encourage everyone to keep an open mind and heart when interacting with friends without homes — as these people are our brothers and sisters, and we are more alike than we think.
Maria currently serves at the Alameda Park Care & Referral Center, Harding School, and in the Interfaith Sanctuary Alliance.