This month marks the 10-year anniversary of a very special person at Saranam- our Director of Family Services, Jennifer Mullen.
Like many of our staff, Jen first joined us as a volunteer, and even then, the impact she could have on families was evident. The very first family she was paired with became the first to meet all six of our measures of success and went on start a thriving career after finishing business school.
As she came on board as Saranam’s case manager, her influence only deepened, becoming a huge part of the transformations of the 103 families (including 211 children!) she has helped in her decade with us.
Jen embodies all that families experiencing homelessness crave- consistency, respect, honesty and empowerment. Throughout their two years, a family is never alone with Jen at their side. She walks beside them, hand on their backs, ushering them forward with a Yoda-esque ability to discern when they need a push or support.
Her efforts have proven successful time and time again, as dozens of families point to Jen’s guidance as a critical in their journey home.
“Her impact on my time at Saranam was a major reason I completed the 2 years and graduated from both CNM & Pima. I hadn’t had someone truly believe in me in many years.”
What’s her secret? Well, part of it is that Jen has a special talent for ensuring that the ownership of change rests firmly in the hands of the people she is helping. She offers tools and constant cheerleading but makes sure to build a family’s confidence in their capacity for change.
This proves crucial because, as we well know, the reasons behind homelessness are unique and often complex to tackle. Likewise, there is no single solution that will be feasible for every family. It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. But Jen never is. Unwaveringly nonjudgmental, she tackles each issue with a calm, learned approach that makes any problem feel manageable.
Beyond her evident skill in working with families is a commitment to learning and consistently elevating the level of practice she provides. That erudition has also been instrumental in our work to validate our model and grow our success to where it is today.
As in all her work, she shares her knowledge to help others be the best they can be. Not only does she bring trainings to continuously enhance our work, she has become a leader in community circles, providing the boots-on-the-ground input necessary to push community progress forward too.
With an easy laugh and an ear that is always bent toward you, she is a pillar of the family atmosphere that envelops you at Saranam. We’re grateful she has been part of our family for over a decade and hope you will join us in thanking her for her commitment to our mission.
To celebrate, we asked several alumni to share with us what Jen has meant to their journey and their success. As you see, her impact will endure for many decades to come..