Becky Gray, Director of Research, Planning, and Grants Development at SEK-CAP
If you were to visit the offices of the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program
, you would think Becky Gray was MEANT to be there . But for a while, it seemed Becky’s journey wasn’t always destined to lead her toward advocacy.
“I returned to higher education as a married adult, with a 10 year old son and a baby on the way. Half way through Graduate School, my marriage fell apart, and I did not see any way that I could financially or emotionally continue on my educational goals. I was working two jobs, parenting two children, and taking a full load of graduate courses, and living in deep poverty.”
What Becky found was in her community, and in her networks, were encouraging people and supportive systems. She became determined to make poverty a temporary situation. She honed her problem solving skills, and started to apply solutions not just for herself, but for her community as well by becoming more active and more intentional in her civic engagement. Soon, she received an award for excellence in teaching, graduated with (almost) all A’s, and her efforts led her to the Kansas Community Action Network.
Now it is part of Becky’s day to day duties to visit with community groups to discuss poverty, income inequality, and civic engagement. Becky is an expert at helping others find their voice regarding matters at hand. You can see that in action in one of Becky’s favorite SEK-CAP Memories:
“After speaking with a group of local church leaders, one participant, who was a lifelong resident of the community, disclosed that he had no idea that poverty level income was so low, had no idea that some sectors of our city had up to 40% of people living in poverty, and had no idea that our community contained a homeless shelter, much less homeless people. Since then, this group of church leaders has been intentional in their support of the homeless shelter, to the point of becoming the lead spokesperson and facilitator of community meetings.”
Working with diverse groups of talented people, she sees problems solved on a regular basis. We’re so glad she’s solving problems with Community Action.