By Abby Lau


Josh Monroy is a Santa Barbara native. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara and has been a landscape designer in the area for 25 years. He was introduced to DWW-SBSM through his family: his aunt, Mimi, is  one of the founders of the organization his mother, Maggie, is the board’s financial advisor; and his aunt, Teresa, is the administrative assistant to the board and also works at the Women’s Free Homeless Clinic. Josh himself has been volunteering as a Peacekeeper with DWW-SBSM for four years at both our Pershing Park and Alameda Park clinics. In his many years of experience, Josh has gotten to know many of our patients and their stories, but there is one family’s story that stands out from the rest.

A father of two young children and his wife came to one of the park clinics because he had stepped on a plant and gotten thorns on the bottom of his foot. During his intake, his wife  informed him that their disability check wasn’t going to come through on time and he became very upset, frustrated, and angry. His family remained silent; they were frightened by their father’s yelling. He was ready to give up and leave the clinic, but Josh stepped in. He talked to him for several minutes, did some breathing exercises, and offered to “let us love him for a bit”. He stayed with him throughout the endeavor –as the scribe wrote down his information, as the doctor assessed him, and as the nurse methodically removed all the thorns. In those 20 minutes, he shared a story of financial hardship and the daily struggle of taking care of his family. In 20 minutes, he saw a man transformed, not only by medical attention, but by an ear and a heart willing to listen. When the children saw their father calmed down, they opened up again and began laughing and playing with the volunteers. The next week, the man came back to thank everyone for their help over and over again. He was so grateful for both the physical and social support he received from us that it changed his perspective on his situation. Josh states that it was that night he “witnessed true healing” and it reminded him of all the reasons our volunteers do what they do.

At DWW, we have  the unique opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, stories, and conditions that led up to the moment they meet us. It only takes 20 minutes of our time to make a difference. When you treat the person, not the disease, you find that there is power in prescribing compassion and care.