Meet the staff – Carissa Davis

HopeWorks is blessed with caring staff who are committed to our students and helping them succeed. One of those employees is Carissa Davis, associate director of Adult English as a Second Language. Carissa is passionate about her job and finds joy in assisting our students as they transition into this new chapter of life. Keep reading to learn more about Carissa and her role at HopeWorks.

When did you start working at HopeWorks?

I started working at HopeWorks in June 2020.

What is your favorite/the most meaningful part about working at HopeWorks?

Our students are often nervous when they come to HopeWorks. They have years of experience in their home countries but sometimes cannot express their thoughts, interests and experiences in English. I love seeing their language abilities grow and watching their confidence soar. They begin to build community with their peers and instructors and start to feel a sense of belonging in a new place.

Can you share a story related to your job?

I help with intake which is a student’s first encounter with HopeWorks. As part of this process, we ask them a series of questions – one is “Why do you want to learn English?” This simple question unlocks stories about leaving loved ones behind, losing everything they know and other hardships. Among many answers for wanting to learn English, the number one reason is communication, “So I can express myself – my thoughts, feelings and experiences – to those around me.” Each time I sit with these students in their grief, in the middle of the now and the not yet, I pray they are filled with hope through the community they find here at HopeWorks.

What does “hope works” mean to you?

Ron often reminds us of Matthew 25:35. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Every day, we are helping people who feel like outsiders and strangers. We welcome them with the love of Christ.

For someone unfamiliar with HopeWorks, what’s one thing you’d like them to know?

HopeWorks is bigger than one department. When people ask about what HopeWorks does, I often struggle to keep it short! We offer various services to people from all walks of life, and our employees go above and beyond to meet the needs of every person who walks through our doors.

Is there a fun fact about yourself you’d like to share?

I have a three-year-old son (and a little girl on the way). He loves HopeWorks, especially my coworkers who give him treats. He’s been coming to help with intake since he was an infant – he loves to welcome people! You can often find him opening the door at our Summer Avenue location and grinning an infectious smile at our clients and visitors.