Mercedes Phillips

How long have you been at DCCH, what is your position, and what transitions have you had here (if any)?

I started working for DCCH back in August of 2017 as a full time weekend staff and loved it. I eventually moved into a full-time floating position once my school schedule picked up. My home life stepped in to a new phase and required a move out of this area and so I stepped down to an on-call position; but, I didn’t ever really want to leave this place and the things we do and what we work so hard for never strayed from my heart. I came back in April of 2020 as a Full-time school staff and later that same year took over as my apartment case manager.

I’ve had quite a few position changes during my time here with DCCH and would say that while my day to day tasks have changed the foundation of what we do never has. Our job is to assist our kids in developing healthy positive relationships with not only those around them but also with themselves.

What's something people don't know about you?

Most people assume that I am an extroverted person because I present that way at work, but they would be surprised that I am a complete introvert. I recharge by spending time alone and taking care of myself. I love being social and working in a social environment, but it takes a lot of energy to maintain. I love to read, see movies alone, and I will include sitting in complete silence with by best friends.

Family - what's that look like?

Webster dictionary defines a family as a social group made up of parents and their children or a group of people who come from the same ancestor. This definition I feel leaves out so much of what makes up a family; a family isn’t just the people who have your same blood line and especially for the kids in our care this is not always the happy ending. Sometimes their happy ending looks nothing like what they see in the mirror but instead what they feel in their heart. Family is a group of people who love and care for each other; those who provide safety and healthy positive influences. For one reason or another this could look like your friends, your biological family, or people that chose you despite all the reasons that society tells us not to.

What do you love the most about working here?

It is so hard to narrow down why I love working here and why this place sits so heavy on my heart. I was led to look into DCCH and what they were all about in a very unconventional way and felt this pull of my heart that this was a place that I needed to be. I believe that my God put this as my path. My coworkers and I have talked about the light bulb moment where a child in our care decides that they want our care just as much as we want to care for them and it is like their entire world changes (not over night, but in small strides); I love watching these moments occur because we as a team made a difference, even if it was in the smallest way.

What is your biggest challenge in this job?

The biggest challenge for me in this line of work has always been the fear of letting these kids down. We are not always going to do or say the right thing in the moment a child needs us just in the way that they also won’t but for that child to have a moment of struggle and still come out the other side of it know that their staff care about them and want to see them succeed is important to me.

In this line of work you find that yourself as well as your coworkers have trauma and we fall on this path because we know what it feels like to see the things these children have seen or felt the way these children have felt; it can be difficult to be in a situation where you know a child’s history and it lines up with something you also have gone through and can’t always tell the child. Everyone here, is here because they want to make a difference; and often we learn that these kids make just as much a difference on the staff as we do on them. It truly is amazing to witness all that occurs with in these four walls and the memories and bonds we make with these kids that will last them and us a lifetime.