Staff Spotlight: Emma Grace Fairchild
â€œMy favorite tool is curiosity,â€ says Emma Grace Fairchild, Program Coordinator for SAYâ€™s Tamayo Village. â€œInstead of making an immediate judgement, try asking an immediate question: â€˜Why did it happen this way? What made you make that decision?â€™â€
Emma Grace approaches all aspects of life with this kind of introspection, and her willingness to lead with curiosity has opened the door to several unique adventures. While in college, she spent six months studying International Social Work in Stockholm. This experience ignited a passion in her for both living in Europe and working with people. Immediately after graduation, Emma Grace packed her bags and moved to Prague. She spent three years as an educator in the Czech Republic, moving up in her profession to become the Head Teacher for an international preschool. Once her visa expired, Emma Grace knew it was time for a new direction.
Her decision to move to Santa Rosa was fortuitous for SAY. She had been in conversation with another organization when she found the Lead Advocate position for Tamayo Village. After interviewing with the Housing team, she was inspired to be a part of it.
â€œI had no idea what the job was,â€ laughs Emma Grace. â€œBut my first thought was, â€˜I want this. I donâ€™t understand what Iâ€™m being asked to do, but I want to work here.â€™â€
Emma Grace uses her compassion and inquisitiveness to support both youth and staff. Her willingness to consider multiple sides of a situation and her commitment to social justice are just a portion of what makes her a strong advocate. The rest is an intuitive understanding of how to be present for others and listen well.
â€œWe help the youth meet challenges in so many ways. First and foremost, by keeping them housed. But also by providing guidance and education; like showing them what healthy boundaries might look like,â€ says Emma Grace. â€œItâ€™s people-centered work.â€
People arenâ€™t the only mammals that thrive under Emma Graceâ€™s attention. Claudia, a 40 lb. Shar-pei mix with a sandstone coat, is never more than five feet away. Emma Grace picked Claudia from the pound almost three years ago, and the two are always ready for adventure. Together they offer a loving foster home for other canines through Compassion Without Borders.
â€œAnimals, children, adults. They all have this need for nurturance,â€ she says.