Compassionate Encounters: A Workshop for Volunteers

Sponsored by First Unitarian Church Committee on Homelessness and Central Louisville Community Ministries, with support from the Coalition for the Homeless

Thanks to everyone who attended the Compassionate Encounters workshop and for all the organizers, presenters, and volunteers! Below are the presentation materials from this event for you to download or view at your convenience.

Presentation: March 6, 2020

1. Introduction (Rev. Lori Kyle and Cassandra Culin, First Unitarian Church)

2. “The Road to Jericho,” Barbara Sexton Smith, Louisville Metro Council District Four

3. Compassionate Encounters presentation by Tim Welsh, LCSW, Family Health Centers Phoenix (Healthcare for the Homeless)

Engagement handout

4. Resources presentation by Erin Rutherford, CSW, Coalition for the Homeless, and Dr. Matthew L. Kelley,, Family Scholar House

5. What’s Next: Moving Forward with Compassion: Conversation moderated by Suzanne Meeks, First Unitarian Committee on Homelessness

6. Compassionate Encounters panel: Street Outreach workers, 3/6/20, featuring:

  • Tim Welsh, Moderator
  • Tiny Herron, Lead Outreach Worker, St. John Center/UP, and Founder of The Forgotten Louisville
  • Paul Bliss, CSW, Wellspring
  • Nakia Harris, Homeless Outreach Team, Centerstone
  • Carrie Dorton, St. John Center/UP Outreach Worker
  • Andrea Scott, UP Co-Founder

Participant Bios (as of 3/6/20)

  • Paul Bliss, CSW, Obtained a Master’s degree in social work from Northern Kentucky University and is the Program Manager for Hansen Intensive Program at Wellspring. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Kent School of Social Work, where he teaches foundation practice for bachelor’s students and forensics social work for masters students. Before coming to Louisville, Mr. Bliss was the Team Supervisor for Mental Health Court and the Assertive Community Treatment team through Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services. Mr. Bliss has almost two decades of practice experience working with person with serious mental illnesses, homelessness, and forensic populations.

  • Cassandra Culin, Chair, First Unitarian Committee on Homelessness.  A member of First Unitarian for over 20 years, Cassandra became aware of homelessness on our doorstep weeding and planting with our Churchyard Friends.  When the church Board formed a Task force on Homelessness in 2018, she and others stepped forward to work toward addressing the issue on our doorstep and beyond.

  • Nakia Harris graduated from UofL with a degree in Psychology. She has worked consistently with vulnerable populations since graduating and currently works for Centerstone with the Homeless Outreach Team.

  • Tiny Herron founded The Forgotten Louisville about 15 yrs ago.  She has been employed with St. John Center as an Outreach Worker since early 2016. She serves on the Board of Directors for UP for Women and Children where she served as president their first year, and also serves on the board for the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition as their “homeless adviser.”

  • Dr. Matthew L. Kelley is the Project Manager for at Family Scholar House in Louisville. After twenty years in congregational ministry, Matt now pastors people who serve those pushed to the margins of our community.

  • Linette Lowe is the Executive Director of Central Louisville Community Ministries and a seminarian at LPTS.  She was the Director of Religious Exploration at First Unitarian Church for six years and adjunct faculty in philosophy at several local universities.  Teaching, learning, and building community are her passions.

  • Erin Rutherford, CSW, Monitoring & Training Specialist at the Coalition for the Homeless. Erin has been with the Coalition for the Homeless since July of 2018. She previously worked in homeless services in Hawaii for ten years. In Louisville she helps coordinate the homeless response system, and also plans trainings for service providers to learn new skills to better serve their clients. 

  • Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith considers herself “re-wired” not retired.  As President & CEO of the Fund for the Arts, Barbara turned the reins over to the next generation and became the Chief Liaison for the Compassionate Schools Project.  She also teaches the highly sought after Street-Smart Principled Negotiation program which focuses on teaching you how to get others to do what you want.  She has had extensive experience with non-profits, governmental agencies, and businesses in Metro Louisville and is the proud recipient of the Girl Scouts’ 2019 Tough Cookie Award!

  • Tim Welsh, LCSW, a lifelong Louisvillian, is a Counselor at the Family Health Center’s Phoenix Healthcare for the Homeless site where he has worked for over 17 years.