Meet Kimberly Hamilton of St. Joseph Center in Venice


Venice, CA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Hamilton.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Hamilton.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always been invested in the success and growth of others. You can ask anyone who knows me and they will more than likely call me mama bear. I really struggled to plant my feet into the social service field upon earning my bachelor’s in Psychology at UC Santa Cruz. A lot of organizations were looking for someone with experience that I just hadn’t grasped yet as a fresh graduate and oftentimes, I felt hopeless about starting my career.

St. Joseph Center honestly found its way to me at the most perfect time in my life, with the help of my amazing mother. She met our fearless CEO, Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum at a mutual family friend’s get together and got her business card after hearing about the work that the agency does. I was blown away by their impact in the community and reached out to her the first chance I could get. I was invited into the agency to share more about myself and had such a good feeling in my gut the moment I walked inside, almost like I was home. This was the first place that I had honestly been seen and empowered to begin my journey as a social worker, after what seemed like an eternity of rejection.

I was in a space that created an opportunity for me that is literally the cornerstone of the agency: hope through empowerment. I was surrounded by compassionate workers who will use everything they have to support those in their care. Stepping into the agency propelled me into my purpose of serving and empowering others. I have been blessed with such a unique role that supports others while they gain skills and experience for the jobs they want to pursue in culinary and technology. I get to show up for others and remind them that anything is possible, as long as they work hard and keep their attention on it. I am so, so grateful for my journey at the agency. It has really helped me to ground myself in my purpose and I am inspired by the stories of our community members daily.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a bumpy road, with a couple of detours that I am grateful for because it really helped to prepare me for where I am at today. This is my first job in my field and I really struggled with imposter syndrome in the beginning. There were days where I would actually lookout for someone to notice I had NO idea what I was doing and then let me go. I had very high expectations for myself and wanted to be able to figure out everything and help everyone when I first started at the agency three years ago. I have since learned to cultivate boundaries and patience for myself because most of us don’t know what we are doing! I learned to trust myself and my compassionate heart and have become more accepting of the things I can’t control. I have had a lot of support from my coworkers to help overcome these challenges and am so grateful to have learned from them as I am still cultivating my craft as a social worker.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with St. Joseph Center – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am filled with pride when I think of the agency I am connect with. I am proud to say that we are a one stop shop for social services and help our community in a multitude of ways through housing, outreach and engagement, mental health and education/vocational training. You name it, we more than likely offer the service. SJC is filled with people who truly care about the well being of others, especially during a time of need. I am very proud to be connected to so many hard working people that help to uplift our community.

I reside in our education and vocation sector as vocational case manager. We have a culinary training program and web development bootcamp for women that are hosted out of our main site in Venice. I support our students and remove and challenges or barriers that impact their program participation or day to day lives. This can be anywhere from transportation barriers, housing issues and food insecurity, to name a few. I am known for figuring things out and making our students feel seen. I notice red flags and anticipate any challenges that may arise for our students as well while linking them to community services and resources.

I think what sets me apart from others is the level of care and compassion I put into my work. I treat others with a level of kindness that makes me very unique from my coworkers. This really helps me to create meaningful relationships with the people we serve. It is so important for the work that we do!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I want to reach more people and take my work a step further by earning a master’s degree. I feel that the knowledge and framework I will establish will help me to be a better social worker and empower myself with more opportunities.

I am bouncing between an LMFT and MSW program. I feel that my interest in serving others is very broad and would like the opportunity to hone in on that!