Ms. Pat was born in Tarboro, North Carolina. Her father was a sharecropper. When she turned 19, she moved to Baltimore; she was determined to not spend the rest of her life on the farm. She says, “I wanted more for myself.”
Ms. Pat has always had a leadership spirit. Early in her career, Ms. Pat worked volunteered with Baltimore County Public Schools, which landed her a position as a teaching assistant and later the head of Cafeteria Management, spending a total of 21 years in the Baltimore County Public School system.
After her employment with the state, she fell terribly ill and had found herself unemployed for two years. “I decided not to let the illness take control of me… I control my illness,” which is exactly what she did. Ms. Pat got back to work and landed a volunteer position with Family and Children’s Services. After this, she had options to work with other nonprofits and MND was one of them. Sandy, a former Job Coach here at MND explained to Ms. Pat exactly what MND did and she knew right then and there MND was the perfect fit for her. She says, “I knew this is where I wanted to be.”
“My first day here, we all went out to an appreciation lunch. They treated me like I was a part of the MND family for years.” Ms. Pat does not only direct and assist clients, and promote MND, but she also encourages clients. She encourages them to be positive, to apply themselves, and to take advantage of all the MND has to offer. She says, “As I learned more and more about my job duties, I knew this is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”
Ms. Pat loves volunteering here at MND. She describes her position here as her contribution back to the world. Not only does she encourage clients in the office, she encourages clients outside the office also. She says:
In the neighborhood…in church… in the hospital, I hear parents talking about their adult kids who have no career direction. Many of them are convicts…people on the street who don’t know where to go and I tell them about MND. I know MND works because I’ve seen it work. I am the first person to see them when they come in and the last one to see them leave. I can see the difference in attitude. They go from being discouraged to being encouraged. I believe that we have to get to the people before the streets get to them, which is why I am an avid promoter of MND.
Ms. Pat believes the most important work that MND does is give clients the training and dedication they need to succeed. “I want people to know that MND is different. The Job coaches and the staff have a personal interest in the client and want to see them succeed.”
Ms. Pat says that she’s met some interesting people while volunteering at MND, from the volunteers to donors, but the most inspiring are the clients. “The clients are number 1. I can talk to them for over 30 minutes!”
Ms. Pat looks forward to everyday in the office, but when she is not here encouraging clients at MND, she is either on a dialysis machine at Good Samaritan Hospital taking control of her disease, enjoying a good book or television show or enjoying time with her grandchildren.