We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Blankenship and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
A lot of times people see us as a organization that works with a single type of person. As if you can put every homeless person in a niche category and that is what “homeless” is. But that is not the case at all, we work with a very diverse population. There are people that we serve from all different types of backgrounds, whether born in San Diego or not. Some have been born into homeless while others found themselves living that life due to unforeseen circumstances. It can really be anyone that will walk through our doors and it makes it for a very culturally enriching experience.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
CareHouse is a Non-Profit that works with families across San Diego County in assisting their essential needs for living. Initially CareHouse started at Monarch school in downtown San Diego, where we would host a faith based club for the kids. After school the kids would come in and listen to stories of faith while we also gave them a safe place to be themselves. We would provide snacks, gift cards, and life lessons as they grew to become part of our family. We then ventured off into having an office in which kids would come in on the weekends to hangout and be able to surround themselves with others going through similar situations. Nobody was ever treated differently, we have a family that continuously grows each year with each family that comes through our doors. We’ve brought compassion to the table for those that have not always been granted such in their life. Patience is the key when it comes to work like this, people will be hesitant at first due to past experiences with such organizations. Parents were often skeptical of putting their children in our care for the day, a weekend, or the numerous trips we’ve taken the kids on. We have learned however, that with time whether it be our volunteers, the kids, or the parents. Everyone grows to learn that we are one in the same.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Gaslamp district in Downtown has a little bit of everything. It feels like a place that people can be themselves, you can sit down and grab whatever food you have in mind. Then you can take a walk an explore our historic downtown and all that it has to offer. While also, seeing people from different walks of life interact and life in harmony. When you’re done there, you can go a few blocks over to Balboa Park and see some of the finest art whether natural or humanly produced that San Diego has to offer.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mother was always a very inspiring person in my life. As I grew up she instilled morals and compassion that allowed me to empathize with people. It didn’t matter what their background was, she accepted everyone for themselves without needing to change. And without her, I don’t know if I would have the heart to have been doing this for 25 years.
Image credits : Lukas Gaffrey