How did you get into this field?
- I have always been interested in issues of poverty. My parents encouraged my sister and me to volunteer whenever possible, teaching us the value of government and citizenship. When I went to college in New York City, I saw the very clear divide between rich and poor. As a teacher at the Sarah J. Hale High School in Brooklyn, it was apparent that issues of poverty and inequality were systemic. I realized my skills would be better utilized at a system-wide level to work toward ensuring everyone could have the same opportunities I was lucky enough to have.
Who would you consider to be your mentor and why?
- My parents, Ron and Fran Kehoe, are my mentors. They provided my sister and me with what we needed to succeed, and in return expected the best out of us. They led by example that it was our duty to identify and address inequality when we saw it.
What quote do you live by?
- Life is all about relationships. - my mother
What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
- While I was Executive Director at Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP), a friend of mine won the lottery and asked what I would do with some of the money. I told her I would create programming to fill gaps in funding which would contribute to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and prevent the trauma of homelessness. Over the course of two years, my friend and her father donated $250,000 to MBHP and we instituted the Childhood Enrichment Fund and Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Childhood Enrichment Fund provided financial assistance for low-income children to attend summer camp, many for the first time; funded the Tenant Youth Mentoring Program, a paid summer internship for homeless high school students; and supported the cost of events like the Back-to-School Resource Fair.
The Emergency Assistance Fund offered financial assistance to stabilize the housing of individuals and others not served by the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program.
From 2005-2007, we were able to help hundreds of children to attend summer camp and prevented hundreds of individuals from becoming homeless.
Can you share an interesting fact about yourself that your colleagues wouldn't necessarily know?
- I attended college with Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City.
Is there anything you'd like people to know about your agency?
- The DTA staff is fantastic. Knowing 1,600 people are so dedicated to assisting the people of the Commonwealth is really inspiring. Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to see our staff take on a variety of challenges: from rushing to the aid of fire survivors, to planning the Statewide Hunger Summit, to managing very high caseloads, and more. They handle each new project with knowledge, commitment, and creativity. Together, we look forward to improving the personal and economic well-being of our clients and providing necessary benefits, reducing homelessness, and improving our customer service.
This information is provided by the Department of Transitional Assistance.