GLIDE Voices: Reflecting On What Inspires Us​

GLIDE Voices: Reflecting On What Inspires Us

Our community is alive with stories of empowerment, personal transformation, and the realization of GLIDE’s core values. Read on for a series of anecdotes from the GLIDE staff who build on our legacy each and every day.

Ali, Syringe Access Services Coordinator

“There are a lot of misconceptions about harm reduction. I think that if people really knew about what our services and supplies are, they can see that it’s quite the opposite of the stereotype of ‘enabling.’ It’s about people caring for their health. They’re caring about their bodies. I think that we’re also so indoctrinated into this ‘abstinence-only’ mindset and that’s seen as the only acceptable goal. People who use drugs deserve care and they deserve options to improve their health, regardless of why they’re using drugs. Harm reduction is about incremental change, because that’s realistic. When people make changes, completely changing our lives isn’t going to stick. So, incremental change is really important. I think there’s a lot of beautiful vulnerability in harm reduction that allows us to transform. And for me, that’s always inspiring.”

Ali, Syringe Access Services Coordinator at GLIDE.
Eddie, Community Safety Team GLIDE
Eddie, Community Safety Team

“So, I was around the neighborhood for 15 years. I kept passing by on my bicycle but never came into GLIDE. I never stopped because I was in my addiction. A friend of mine brought me up here one day. I wanted something to eat. When I was in line, they asked for volunteers because they were short-handed. I wasn’t doing anything else, so I signed up. Every day from that, I didn’t miss a day. That year and a half, I was still in my addiction, but I kind of winged off of it. Day by day. Because I kept coming here. Helping other people. That got me to where I’m at. I’ve been working here for 14 years. The rest is history.”

Ivan, Community Safety Team

“I was in juvenile hall for a few months and when I got out, my probation officer told me I needed to get work. Then, I got employed at GLIDE. It’s impacted me tremendously because my life would be a lot different, more hectic, and I probably wouldn’t have so much compassion for people. I’ve got way more patience now, when I’m with clients I know that sometimes they’re just angry because they’re hungry, or they feel like nobody is there to talk to them, or that nobody cares about them because they’re experiencing homelessness or substance abuse. They just want someone to smile back at them, say hi, you know?”

Jonathan, Daily Free Meals at GLIDE
Jonathan, Daily Free Meals

“I’ve been cooking since the age of 10; I learned from my grandmother and mother. I used to work in construction but the doctors told me I couldn’t do that anymore, because I had asthma. So I started cooking and this is where I ended up. Some of the people that come here and eat here, I went to high school with them. Some people got it good, some people don’t. You know, as long as everybody gets a good meal, they’re full, they’re happy, I’m satisfied. I know we did some good for the public, for this community, or anybody for that matter. ‘Cuz it’s called “GLIDE Daily Free Meals,” so it’s open to any and everybody. My satisfaction is seeing that they’re well-fed and we put a smile on their face.”

Lanie, Director of Family Youth and Childcare Center

“The GLIDE value that resonates with me most is the value of For the People. At FYCC we welcome everyone; we help everyone regardless of who you are or what circumstances you have in life. One of the best examples of this was during COVID, when we closed our Childcare and Afterschool programs because of the virus. One of the things that we did following our site closure was call the families and children. We asked if they were okay, what they needed, and how we could help them through this crisis. Our teachers – together with our Family Resource Center – quickly thought to distribute food among our parents and families. This is what the value For the People is all about. We always think about our families.”

Lanie, Director of Family Youth and Childcare Center at GLIDE
Luis, Teaching Assistant at GLIDE
Luis, Teaching Assistant

“Looking back, I think my childhood would’ve been a lot different if GLIDE didn’t exist in the community. It’s the fact that it’s been here so consistently helping. Yeah. I think that’s what I love most about it. I developed friendships at GLIDE, some of them I went to middle school with and still see around today. I wouldn’t have had those memories growing up, without GLIDE. As an employee now, growing up in the Tenderloin and going through GLIDE, it gives me a better understanding of the kids’ perspectives and what they’re going through. It helps to be part of here and knowing the community, knowing how fun it can be.”

May, Volunteer and Flower Donor

“When I first moved here from China, I got homesick. I was afraid to move to a new place – everything was new for me. I was so lonely in the beginning. I took care of the children and did a lot of jobs. I worked at a kitchen from 8:00 until midnight, just for a little bit of income to support the family. Now, it’s quite different than before. Now, I have a lot of friends here, and I’ve adapted to this life. I volunteer a lot, and one of the nonprofits receives flower and food donations every day. They distribute to clients, but sometimes it’s still too much and they want to throw it away. But I don’t want to waste a thing. I can do something for the people, to help heal the people, heal the community, share the happiness. So I bring the flowers and food to GLIDE, every day, Monday through Friday.”

May, Volunteer and Flower Donor at GLIDE
Senecca, Women’s Center Peer Advocate at GLIDE
Senecca, Women’s Center Peer Advocate

“GLIDE loves the community and we love each other. One of our clients was housed recently and she’s been showing a lot of adulation because she really feels like we’ve helped her a lot. In turn, she wants to come help women here and she’s been volunteering with us at the Tenderloin Hub. That’s been meaningful to know that we played a part in supporting her and helping her get housed, and now she wants to pass it forward. That’s what life is supposed to be about. When I’m able to help someone and it helps them in the long term, or even just inspires them to keep going, I feel like I’m doing my job.”