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Kim Kreber

Kim Kreber is the Conservation Education Coordinator at SNAP, Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners.
Interview by Grant Parker, May 2015

Peace to me and in my position in SNAP is really environmental justice where everybody has the same rights and access to basic needs as everyone else. Peace can also mean empowerment and education. Without knowing what is going on in the world and your neighborhood, and how to change things, there can never be peace. I think peace is living in harmony with ourselves, with nature, and with each other. Before working for SNAP I was in to Earth First with a family history of loggers, so I was against a lot of environmental destruction that was happening. My view was that in order to save something, you have to fight for it, especially with the environment and natural resources. My view has changed since then though, after being an adult and working. People aren't generally going to change their behaviors or attitudes if someone is yelling at them or being aggressive about their views. I've found that change can be changing one thing in a person's behavior, whether that's turning off the faucet sooner or reusing paper. Through these things my view has changed after working with SNAP and being involved in environmental advocacy in general.

At SNAP, our mission is to provide access and connections to resources that provides dignified access to people of low income or vulnerable backgrounds. Our vision is a strong community where everybody has the opportunity to strive to be to the best they can be. We have three values as an organization: community, respect, and justice. Community is helping to partner with community members and linking people to our partners. Respect is recognizing someone's humanity and respecting them as a person and not as just a label. Justice is advocating for what is fair, honorable, and equitable. We are big advocates statewide and nationwide for the rights of low income populations in all aspects of life. We want them to have the same opportunities as wealthier people. We also try very hard to keep them in their homes. In Spokane our elderly population usually has a hard time affording their homes, so that is one of our programs here, to assist them in staying in their own home and keeping their independence. We help a lot in leveraging funding for other organizations as well - this goes along with our mission to further community. We're known in Spokane as the go-to agency for any resources or connections.

There's a lot that you can do in your own life to help promote peace and good values without working for a place like SNAP. Knowing your neighbors and having relationships with those around you is a good first step. They may be able to help you in something and vice versa. Next, finding what you're interested in can help guide you in promoting peace. There are a number of non-profits and organizations that need volunteers, especially if you have special knowledge or enthusiasm. Also, it's good to know what issues are facing your community so that you can form an opinion on them and help influence them for the better. It think solutions to problems starts at the root, on a personal level. Government funding is definitely a great tool to help solve problems, but we should always think globally and act locally. Every issue can be solved and it starts from your neighborhood, it's a domino effect, from your neighborhood, to the city, to the state.