"this experience has confronted me with the reality that many people do not have the luxury of staying home."– Anna Kate

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Volunteer Profiles - Meet Anna Kate

Anna Kate is a premedical college student at Brandeis University who left her life behind in Massachusetts with less than a week’s notice. In between online lectures and studying for her final exams, Anna Kate has begun volunteering at the County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department’s new Emergency Shelters.

Anna Kate Rattray was inspired to volunteer at the Emergency Shelters because she wanted to meaningfully contribute the pandemic response and felt privileged to be in a position to be able to do so. She was especially inspired to support the unhoused community because she believes that unhoused people are “often overlooked and often don’t get the medical treatment they need.” She felt especially concerned for this population that is “so exposed.”

As a volunteer in the shelter in downtown Santa Cruz, the most meaningful moments for her have been giving people masks and hand sanitizer. In those moments, she’s made small but personal connections with the participants. Anna Kate describes feeling inspired to be a part of the process of dignifying the participants with the right and most basic resources to stay healthy.

When asked what she might say to someone who was nervous about volunteering, she recognized that there are some people who should simply make the choice not to volunteer in person because of the exposure risks to themselves or the people they live with. But for those that can afford those risks, she said that “it’s okay to be nervous.” She believes that in addition to great training, some fear is actually a good thing because it helps you take the actions that you need to take to keep yourself and others safe.

While Anna Kate has only just begun to volunteer at the Emergency Shelters, the time that she has spent volunteering has put the time she stays home into perspective. She describes how this experience has confronted her with the reality that many people do not have the luxury of staying home.

The Volunteer Center and the County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department are inspired by the generous and thoughtful volunteers that have stepped up to support the Emergency Shelters. Volunteers are working alongside employees from the County of Santa Cruz and have appropriate personal protective equipment and regular, ongoing training to maintain safety.

GIVE YOUR TIME: Are you inspired by Anna Kate’s story? You are invited to support the unhoused community. Download and email the volunteer application.

FIND YOUR CAUSE: Still trying to discover your passion? The Volunteer Center can help. Check available emergency response volunteer projects.

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