Camille Simon’s passion for social services started at an early age as she saw her parents struggle with their own vices. She experienced the effects of substance abuse and then later, homelessness. “Because I was impacted by all of those things at a young age, it created a huge passion in me to help others,” shares Simon.
She put herself through school and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a bachelor’s in Hawaiian language studies and then earned her master’s in social work. It was during the latter when she met a social services worker from Catholic Charities Hawai‘i (CCH) who encouraged her to apply for a position.
Simon started as an employment specialist and through hard work and commitment, her responsibilities evolved over the last four years and she now oversees the Family Assessment Center (FAC) and the Villages of Maili. “My personal experience completely changes how I help people. Looking at a situation and knowing I’ve experienced it before, impacts how I work with clients and guide my staff.” In both the FAC and Villages of Maili, Simon works with professionals in benefits, medical, housing and psychological providers to help bring comprehensive solutions to clients. “There’s beauty when we can all come together as professionals and a community to offer a hand up.”
“These programs are changing the paradigm in homeless services today. Our programs are serving as prototypes and are pushing us out of our comfort zone and forcing us to think critically about what our path is for our future in homeless services. We’re not perfect, but we’re constantly being creative and improving.”
Simon’s passion is social work and she’s constantly thinking about what’s next. “What is this going to look like one or two years down the line? Is this service going to be needed in this way or how can the community benefit more? It’s exhausting but it’s completely worthwhile.”
Your support allows our passionate staff to help tens of thousands in our community and provide support to those in need. Please consider making a generous donation today to help us continue providing these needed social services with compassion and dignity.