Starting as a social worker and now as the managing director for housing and Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) for Selfhelp, Mishra oversees social services for all ten affordable housing developments owned by the nonprofit.
“I work with the social service staff to see what the needs are of the residents who are living in the building, and provide them with those services,” she said.
It’s not a simple task, considering the variety of languages and cultures represented in the population. But Mishra said she has staff members who speak Russian, Chinese and Korean, and they use a language line to help interact with residents. Selfhelp also has advisory councils and volunteers who help liaise with the seniors.
“We have a very culturally diverse staff that reflects the diversity of clients we serve,” she said.
Despite the language differences, Mishra is still able to connect with residents and understand their needs.
“I feel we are empowering their lives by helping them reach out to what the needs are,” she said.
One thing that Mishra has learned throughout her 12 years with Selfhelp is the power of resiliency.
“Language, music, food, love, compassion speaks all different languages, it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from,” she said. “We all can get together and speak that common language of love and compassion and understanding.
“One of the things we do here is make sure they live here independently in the community as long as they can,” she added. “We provide them with all the support and services so this can be their home and this is where they can live.”