We do a lot of different things at Redwood Park Communities. Supporting a community of friends is a big job for a diverse team. But there's one thing we do that is more important than all the rest, and it might not be what you think.
We do paperwork. That's definitely not it. We clean and maintain the building, and that's not it, either. We shop for supplies when the apartments change over—linens, toiletries, groceries. And while that's a fun job, it's not the most important one, either.
We host events. We sit with a friend through a difficult ordeal. We offer rides to appointments and to run errands. These jobs are getting warmer. But they're still not the most important thing.
The single most important thing we do at Redwood is drink coffee. Actually, I don't drink coffee, I drink tea. But the same principle applies. This is the most important thing. Coffee.
It's the reason we knocked out a wall in our office and put in some extra chairs. It's the one thing that trumps everything else we need to do, as often as possible.
Monday morning, the text goes out and we all squeeze in around a banana cake with a mug in our hands and suddenly a magical thing happens. The lines between "family support worker" and "client" vanish and we're just a bunch of women. A bunch of moms.
We chat about parenting and self care. We talk about relationships old and new. We share ideas and problem solve—and the learning goes both ways.
This is the reason we don't have "clients". We have friends. Because when you have a community, when you have others who share a common experience—when you feel both supported and supportive—then you can thrive.
And that is the most important thing.
Erin Hatton is a mom of 4, fiction author, and family support worker at Redwood Park Communities.