Sonia Grice's journey as a social worker is endlessly inspiring
Sonia Grice, Director of the Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department (CAHSD), has been an active social worker for over 26 years now. It's amazing how she has continued to be a source of guidance, love, and compassion for her clients and staff during this time.
We got the honor of speaking with this remarkable woman and learning about her many roles in her professional life.
Sonia Grice believes everyone deserves a second chance
Sonia Grice began her public service career in the county nearly 26 years ago at the Beckham Hall Homeless Shelter for Men. Nearly two years later, she moved into a social work role with the Homeless Assessment Referral and Tracking Program. She then went to the housing opportunities program for people with AIDS. Due to her professional experiences with those experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, and life-threatening illness, she believes that everyone deserves a second shot at life.
Sonia learned the value of compassion after witnessing firsthand how people with AIDS or drug addiction are often shunned instead of receiving the support they require. She also mentioned that seeing her clients succeed despite their difficulties is the most satisfying aspect of her work. Seeing her clients go from having a life-limiting illness to recovering and going on to live normal, happy lives is the most rewarding part of her job.
She understands that we're all faced with difficult choices, and no one is born perfect – people are bound to make faulty and rash decisions that don't always turn out right. But that doesn't mean that they don't deserve help and treatment when the going gets tough. Her work focuses on getting people to believe they can do better.
Sonia's upbringing in a Christian household has also played a huge role in instilling the values of empathy and generosity in her. She was always taught that God gives us choices and chances to do better. As humans and community members, we exist to support one another and encourage each other to make positive choices.
How CAHSD helps struggling community members
The CAHSD helps people with rent, water, and food assistance. They have 12 community resource centers around the county and a kiosk where people can access their services. In fact, the state is funding CAHSD to expand its reach with water assistance.
They also work in the public housing sector to ensure that all citizens can feel comfortable and secure in their homes. If people are facing a crisis, if they need to deal with an eviction notice or any other situation where they're about to lose their residence, CAHSD can help them relocate to a new place and pay the security deposit.
Grice also admitted that her line of work is very challenging. Social workers need to have nerves of steel to get through the things they see daily. Most of these helpers are struggling with the same issues their clients are facing, such as substance abuse and homelessness. And that takes a huge toll on their physical and mental health. So, she makes sure that her staff knows they can reach out to her if they feel burnt out or need help with their own problems.
Sonia hopes to complete 3 decades of service with the CAHSD, and in that time, she aims to help the younger members of her team grow and reach their goals. She's grateful to her mentors for guiding her throughout her career and wants to extend the same hand to her colleagues.
You can keep up with what Sonia Grice and the CAHSD is doing to protect community members and their tenant rights by visiting their website. To learn more about the latest news, events, and more inspiring stories from Miami, subscribe to Calle Ocho News.