Meet Three Members of Our Amazing Staff

We asked three staff members at Sojourner House/MOMS how the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting their work and home lives.

Matt Lewis, Director of Finance & Operations at Sojourner House

Where did you grow up?

“I was raised in Mars, PA.”

When did you start working at Sojourner House?

“October 2017”

Matt Lewis with his fiance, Ashley Farrelli, celebrating Easter

What is your typical workday like during the COVID-19 crisis?

“Lots of training and meetings, so, with the work that still needs to be done, it definitely makes for a longer work day!”

Any proud moments or positive interactions during the crisis that you’d like to share?

“Not necessarily a specific moment, but I hear about people in different positions within our organization stepping up in different ways, and I hear about SoHo and MOMS receiving assistance from people outside of our organization.”

During the crisis, what have you been doing in your spare time?

“Lots of walks and hikes, and the occasional video chat with people who I otherwise probably wouldn’t have seen.”

Dena Naughton, Certified Recovery Specialist at Sojourner House MOMS Supportive Housing Program

When did you start working at Sojourner House?

“I started working at MOMS on September 9, 2018.”

Vivian, Dena’s Lab-Pitbull mix

What is your typical workday like during the COVID-19 crisis? Any proud moments or positive interactions during the crisis that you’d like to share?

“COVID-19 has messed my groove up, and I don’t like it.  So I just try to do what I would do while at work, of course, I can’t do everything from home. I communicate with our clients and write progress notes. I talk with my supervisor, Karen Upsher, and other staff. I go into the office to do hands-on tasks at least once a week, do what needs to be done for our residents. If you know me (which many don’t), I am having a hard time not being in my office, but I’m doing the best I can. I miss the kids, the ladies and my co-workers. It is what it is.”

Dena’s work-from-home set-up (since she recently got rid of her dining room table)

During the crisis, what have you been doing in your spare time?

“This past Saturday, my daughter fell down the steps of our cellar when she was taking down the laundry. I went to the hospital thinking it was broken, but it’s badly sprained, which can be worse for a softball player. So I have become my daughter’s assistant while she heals. I’m having so much fun!  My daughter is 16 years old, so please pray for me!”

“On a positive note, working from home has slowed me down and I’m able to spend more time with my daughter and get closer to God.  I’ve also been cooking things I don’t get to cook because I’m usually always moving and don’t have the time. (I’m gaining weight because of it!) I try to walk my dog more.  I miss everyone and will keep everyone in my prayers.”

Dena with her daughter, Maecie, practicing social distancing at Dena’s friend’s house
Dolores Mitchell, Program Manager at Sojourner House

Where did you grow up?

“Pittsburgh, PA”

Dolores Mitchell (far left) with her youngest son, Preston (back row); Preston’s wife, Bethany (far right); and five of their seven children: Twins Judah & Akeelah (front); then Jada (middle), Tywuan & Nia’
Dolores Mitchell with her grandson, Devan, on senior night this past fall

When did you start working at Sojourner House?

“March of 1997. I started as a Program Aide part-time in May 2001. I then started working full-time as Program Aide Supervisor, and left Sojourner in 2012.  I stayed in Dallas for 2 years, and returned December 2014 as Operations Coordinator.”

Dolores’s oldest son, David (right), with two of his three sons, David III (middle) and Devan (left)

What is your typical workday like during the COVID-19 crisis?

“The morning COVID-19 video call at 9 a.m.; check email; do check-ins at Sojourner House; do paperwork; do manual updates; schedule supervision meetings; and order supplies.”

During the crisis, what have you been doing in your spare time?

“Not much, really. I call people instead of visiting since the crisis started.  I have been home, reading, watching TV, not doing much.”

Nina, Dolores’s oldest granddaughter
Dolores’s oldest grandson, Quinton
Daylen, Dolores’s grandson