Building Sanctuaries of Love and Security Amidst the Storm

Susy Tejeda | June 10, 2024

If there’s something I could do forever, it would be humanitarian work. I believe there is no greater satisfaction than providing support to those in need and witnessing the positive transformation it brings to their lives.

As a Cuban and Haitian Gaps Case Manager with the CWS Jersey City Housing Team, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a vulnerable community. Firstly, because they come from countries facing extreme poverty, political oppression and insecurity. And secondly, because upon arriving in the United States, they face immense barriers such as language barriers, economic instability and housing insecurity, among others.

Every day, I encounter situations that reaffirm that this work goes beyond knowledge and experience. It requires a heart full of love and empathy to truly connect with the needs of others and provide them with genuine assistance. It’s in these moments that the true essence of our humanitarian work is revealed: in the act of understanding and advocating for the rights of those who need our support.

During my first days carrying out my duties as part of the Housing team, there was a particular situation that deeply impacted me. I vividly recall the day when a Haitian family arrived at the shelter with two young children. They had endured a long and arduous journey, facing  adversities that most of us can’t even imagine. The fatigue and weariness were evident on their tired faces as they finally arrived. We assigned them a room in our residential building, which serves as temporary housing, and when the mother saw the two beds prepared for them, she couldn’t hold back her tears. Her eyes lit up with a glimmer of hope and gratitude as she raised her hands in a gesture of thanks. In that moment, I understood the true magnitude of our work. For them, that room was not just a place to rest; it was a sanctuary of love and security amidst the storm. It was a poignant reminder that even what we consider as routine actions or services in our work has an immense impact on the lives of our clients.

Being part of a team dedicated to providing services to refugees from different parts of the world is an extremely gratifying endeavor, as it contributes significantly to promoting hope, dreams and the well-being of people facing extreme vulnerability. In this process of bringing about positive changes for them, one receives an invaluable gift: transforming into a more committed individual to their work and becoming more sensitive, empathetic and grateful individuals.

Susy Tejeda is the Cuban and Haitian Gaps Manager with CWS Jersey City. To learn more about the work of CWS Jersey City, click here.