My last interview was with MaryAnne, the founder of NightShift. MaryAnne represents the heart, mind, and soul of the organization. During a frightening winter storm in 2004, MaryAnne was overwhelmed with the thought of people without homes having nowhere to sleep. She drove out to Surrey in the middle of the night, where she served sandwiches and kept watch over everyone in a small church for the night. This was the birth of NightShift.
Previously a high end real estate marketer, MaryAnne made a drastic life change in starting NightShift. When I asked her why, she replied saying
“There was a shift in my heart. There was really no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ All of the people I talked to were dealing with pain and trauma. As someone who had had a significant amount of pain and trauma in my life, I decided to be vulnerable with them. My vulnerability encouraged their vulnerability, and I saw people with completely different lenses.”
MaryAnne’s mission statement, to love unconditionally and help each other find hope and purpose, came out of an arm wrestle with God, she said. She was struggling with the fact that the people she was helping on the streets were not changing. They were still using drugs, still without homes, and she felt she needed to do more. In that moment, she felt God say that all He asked her to do was love them. So, MaryAnne learned unconditional love through serving these people. To love others without expectations of change and no judgement; to love them exactly where they are.
When asked what her hope was for the future of vulnerable people in Surrey, MaryAnne responded that she wishes to do complex trauma training. From her experience and the people she has interacted with, she believes that 100% of these people have suffered abuse in some form. By educating these people and providing another way to deal with their trauma, NightShift can get to the root of the problem. MaryAnne dreams to bring people along the continuum of recovery so that she can place people in transitional housing to be stabilized. She acknowledges that in this, NightShift has a responsibility to “hold the hand of someone for the rest of their life.” Although dealing with people’s trauma and addictions is extremely hard work, MaryAnne is willing to do it.
In taking this step of faith back in 2004, MaryAnne has seen great transformation in the community she serves. She is someone who sees these people for what they are – people with stories and struggles, just like you and I. In all of this, MaryAnne can’t separate her work from her faith in God. Through faith in Him, she is able to serve this community and trust in His plans. She says that “He is a God of the impossible,” and hopes for the vulnerable people in Surrey to experience His love just as she has.
I am so thankful I was able to hear MaryAnne pour out her beautiful heart for her city. She inspired me to love others without limits, and I am grateful to be volunteering with her organization! With that concludes the Interview series.