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At the halfway point of this program, it felt like I had hit a lull. My commute was routine, I do the same work at my community partner, and I come home tired and ready for bed. My nonprofit handles advocacy, and that sounds amazing when looking at the rallies and demonstrations they plan or the community outreach programs, citizenship clinics, and candidate endorsements, but not the time spent sitting behind a computer and telephone planning. After talking to some other people in my group, I realized they were feeling the same. Everything seemed to be flying by while the days dragged on. I don’t know if it was the work we were doing and the emotionally heavy nature of it or the fact that my nonprofit is located in an area that continually shows the housing crisis but the mood was deflated. I was curious how these nonprofits did their work while fighting an uphill battle, with the city of Seattle or the political climate diminishing their efforts.


I started to brainstorm ways to break the routine whether it meant waking up early to go on a run or try one of the million coffee shops around me, volunteer at a community farm, or venture out into Seattle beyond the areas around the university.  Honestly, I was upset that none of these worked, and I still woke up lethargic. The initial shock I had when I saw the ramifications of the housing crisis turned to frustration and anger. It was frustrating that I couldn’t do anything to help beyond giving money when that was not the solution and often felt inappropriate when seeing someone who was evicted from their home for being a few dollars too short on rent. I was angry that this city is plagued with a visible problem that no one had any issue pointing out as a problem but offered no solutions. Or why nonprofits existed to be reactionary to a growing epidemic and whether that was enough. There are amazing shelters and resources in this city, but that’s just putting a band-aid on a wide, gaping wound.


During the monthly staff meeting, there was a time set aside for self-care and talk about how everyone was handling their work. Weirdly, its somewhat comforting to know that everyone was affected by the work they were doing and the difficult nature of it, and were willing to acknowledge their struggles to the larger group. It’s exhausting, and I understand why the turnover rate in nonprofits is so high. There’s not enough money, not enough time, not enough resources while the problems compound. The people I’m surrounded by do amazing, selfless work despite this and I find myself in awe of their dedication because the realities of a nonprofit are that the successes are enormous in a seemingly endless opposition.