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Ann Marie Byrd

Ann Marie Byrd is the Director of Development for Catholic Charities Spokane. Catholic Charities has been actively involved in the greater Spokane area since 1912; providing social services to people of all denominations in the 13 counties of Eastern Washington. The services offered by the organization are made up of 11 different programs that provide food, shelter, clothing, education, counseling and support to those in need, regardless of creed.
From the website: “Respect: We believe that each person is a child of God with innate dignity. Compassion: We believe in a ministry of love and service to those in need. Collaboration: We believe in the transformative power of partnerships among participants, colleagues, and community. Justice: We believe in ethical, honest, and equitable relationships among all people.” The Catholic Charities Mission: Catholic Charities Spokane is a network of agencies, institutions, parishes and individuals, united in Gospel spirit, who are servants to the poor, supporters for families and aides to parishes and communities in meeting the social service needs of people in eastern Washington.

Interview by Macee Baker
March 2012

Peace to me means security. Security that starts within the family, which happens through creating an environment of trust, faith, and family that can be carried throughout all other areas of your life. 

The mission of Catholic Charities places faith and family first above everything. When my youngest daughter was sick for an extended period of time and my superior at work strongly encouraged me to take all the time I needed; to only come back once she was better. Being able to receive compassion before you can give it is extremely important in what we do as a service based organization. Giving dignity to every individual on earth, which is part of our mission. We do that for everyone we serve in the community and for each other.

Giving dignity to every individual is directly tied to our core values: Respect, Compassion, Collaboration and Justice. Taking care of individuals from life to death is a large part of what we do.

Communicating and connecting is essential in order to understand why we should care because peace effects all of us. By creating healthy and nurturing relationships we can continue to move forward and be informed on how it affects us. If we can create the sense of “what if that was me?”, we can help trigger that innate sense that we are all on this earth for a reason, regardless of that reason, we are all here to build relationships. 

My advice to peace studies students would be to develop your ability to listen and to gain a good sense of yourself as an individual. Being able to listen so that you can be educated and for clarity, so you can better promote peace. It’s important to gain a sense of yourself to help determine whether or not you’re there – participating in community service or volunteering, etc. - for the right reasons. Are you there to further yourself or are you there to serve?