We here at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Flint believe in the potential good in humanity, and in honoring those everyday heroes among us that seek to help and heal amidst these trying times.
One such person is Monica Holmes, an Intervention Specialist with Catholic Charities of Flint. Monica has a degree in Criminal Justice and has dedicated her life to helping those in our society that are most vulnerable and in need.
The evidence of this is overwhelming. She helped jumpstart a YMCA after-school children’s program called Safe Places, which gives kids a space to do homework and have time in the gym. She volunteers with My Brother’s keeper. In her work with Catholic Charities she leads parenting classes for adults seeking to better themselves and get their children back from a well-intentioned but oft dysfunctional legal system. Monica spoke about one family in particular she has given her attention to.
“They had not been back to work since the start of the Pandemic, and I was able to make sure that they had clothes, gifts and food for the Holidays,” she said.
Through Catholic Charities she also works with students; for example, she leads small group sessions with female students in Grand Blanc High School, which focus on coping skills and finding inner strength. She is absolutely loved by them.
One student said that, “Ms. Holmes will never know how much she has helped me; I know she understands and has been through it, and she is so caring and honest.”
Like all of us, life during COVID has greatly affected her, and she has been forced to reinvent both herself and her work. She recognizes that to care for others she must also care for herself. “COVID has allowed me to reflect on myself and to heal and to be a better me. I have had to learn to like the skin that I am in. I have also learned to be creative with how to keep going day to day. I cook many recipes that I had never tried before. I read affirmations daily. And I listen to a lot of music.”
In regard to her work, like many of us she does not consider herself “internet-savvy,” so she has rethought how to build rapport and connect with her young people. “My work is more important than ever right now because COVID has caused many people to decline in their mental wellness, and depression is at an all-time high.”
We live in dangerous and divisive times. Monica Holmes is a reminder that we can find good everywhere we look, if we choose to. We can find reassurance in everyday heroes like her, who seek to heal and not harm, to love and not hate, to hope and not fear.
Hometown Heroes is a feature about people who are making a difference in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, presented by the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2474 S. Ballenger Hwy., in Flint Township.