When the pandemic hit, Megan Sarver was in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was working with children, youth, and families, and was just starting her third year when she had to come back to the states due to COVID restrictions.

It wasn’t the first time she had worked in the social service field having done two years in AmeriCorps, assistant managing a needs-based after-school program. She earned her degree in environmental policy. She started with Compass at our Nyer Urness House as a program assistant.

“I actually have a long-time connection to Compass,” she said. “When I was in high school, I had volunteered at Compass with Key Club. We did meal prep at one of the emergency shelters. I loved that and when I saw that they were hiring I knew I would love to get back involved with this organization.”

Megan was at Nyer for about six months when an opportunity opened at our Renton Veterans Center (RVC). RVC is permanent supportive housing for Veterans who were homeless and their families. Compass works collaboratively with the VA both in housing and services. There are 59 units in the building ranging from studios to 2–3-bedroom apartments.

It isn’t just an affordable apartment building though.

“We work hard to create community,” Megan said. “We bring in programs to help make people feel included. As part of the management team at RVC, I’m always looking for ways to help people get to where they want to go and help them feel at home.”

Megan is part of the management team as the program coordinator and her responsibilities are wide-reaching. She has a caseload of residents of about a dozen households. She oversees the food program (to help Veterans access SNAP benefits and supply the in-house food bank). She also helps build relationships with vendors, the City of Renton, and organizations to create community for Veterans.

Recently, there was an opera troupe from Seattle Opera that put on a performance for the residents. RVC also has a long-standing relationship with Bob Ross Inc. where residents can take lessons from a certified trainer. Sometimes this is the first time they’ve ever picked up a paintbrush in their lives. They’re also starting a family totem project led by an indigenous volunteer and have a beautiful open-air garden that residents cultivate.

“Direct social services give me a sense of fulfillment that I can’t get anywhere else,” she said. “I want to love what I do. Every day is different and seeing people achieve and pursue their hopes and dreams is so rewarding. Seeing people reach their potential is why I do this.”

Megan paused.

“I have veterans in my family. People have a certain perception that Veterans are this group of strong people – which is true,” she said. “But Veterans come from all walks of life. The one thing I really appreciate is that they support each other, they support other Veterans. The community stands up for each other. ‘I don’t know you, but you served in the military, so I got your back.’ There is a strong brotherhood and sisterhood, the Veterans in this building go above and beyond for each other all the time. Sometimes I think that as a society we appreciate Veterans on holidays, but when it comes to what they really need after all they’ve done for our nation, we need to continue to honor them with a good place to live and a strong community to thrive. That’s why I do this work.”

Share This Page with Family and Friends