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Celebrating Bread for the City Social Services: Brittany Pope, Economic Security Supervisor

What was your journey to becoming a social worker?

I’ve always been a service-minded person. After college, I became an Americorps member and served at a family literacy program for immigrant adults and their children. I knew I was called to this type of work, supporting and guiding people.

“Taking the leap to get my Master of Social Work was one of the best decisions of my life, and I’m so glad I committed to that decision.”

I’m a native Washingtonian and wanted to give back to my beautiful community, so I decided to enroll in the MSW program at Catholic University. I specialized in social justice and change because I wanted to examine the root causes of the systems hurting my community in order to effect societal change.

How did you come to Bread for the City?

My MSW program advisor recommended that I consider Bread for the City for my first internship and I remember being so impressed with the organization when visiting a few years earlier. After my internship, I started working there part-time while finishing school and came on full-time right after graduation – I’ve been here ever since!

What do you work on in Bread for the City’s Social Services Team?

I am the Economic Security Supervisor on the newly formed Economic Security team, which focuses on coordinating, supporting, and advocating for guaranteed income projects and policy change. Our team coordinates with local organizations to partner on these programs and with organizations nationally to learn from each other’s pilots in this rapidly changing work.

Economic security work fully aligns with Bread for the City’s mission of eradicating poverty and uplifting communities. And it’s huge to see BFC taking part in this work. The pandemic opened the door to the possibility of what a just society could look like. Suddenly there were so many people in need, so many who lost their jobs. People started saying:

“Hey, what if we just gave people cash unconditionally, how would that affect their lives?”

In response to the pandemic, the leaders of four local organizations (including Bread for the City) came together to create THRIVE East of the River, and I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to bring this program to life. Bread for the City also helps implement the DC Cares program, which provides relief funding to eligible excluded workers in DC. Now we’re working on a new partnership, Let’s GO DMV! I want to bring light to this systemic type of social work, it’s making waves across the country. We’re also a part of groups advocating for guaranteed basic income in DC and across the country. It’s great that we’re able to jump in the ring and dedicate a whole team to this critical work.

“A well-rounded social worker does it all–they still need to have one foot in macrosystems work because it impacts the individuals and communities they’re helping.”
What advice would you give to someone interested in social work?

Find a mentor who is a social worker or someone in the social work field to shadow in order to understand what their career is like. If you care about helping people, I truly believe social work is an incredibly rewarding career, try it out!

What do you do to decompress from this work?

Being in nature and by bodies of water is so calming to me. I also hopped on the pandemic trend of rollerskating. I’ve officially learned how not to fall! Doing a hobby and teaching yourself something new is such a rewarding experience.

Learn more about THRIVE East of the River, a program Brittany has had a huge role in bringing to life to help DC families during the pandemic, here!

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