Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
In Part 1, Maitri Compassionate Care's Executive Director, Reverend Father Rusty Smith, shares stories of his youth. His very New Mexican mom was a powerful figure in his early life, shaping the liberal world view Rusty espouses to this day. Rusty traces his military family upbringing all over the country and the world. The family eventually settled in Texas for his high school years.
After that, Rusty became a priest in the Anglican Church, given that the church allowed openly gay priests. He began his adult life in his mother's home state, doing charitable work in Albuquerque.
While living in New Mexico, Rusty and his husband noticed that San Francisco had become a second home for them. When the opening at Maitri happened, they made the move.
Then we meet Maitri's Development Director, Tomas Moreno. Tomas shares his story of growing up in the Central Valley and making his way to San Francisco.
In Part 2, we hear hear about how, after college out east, Modesto's Tomas Moreno moved to the Bay Area. His mom is a recently retired high school teacher who taught kids with disabilities, and Tomas feels that her work instilled in him a drive to serve others. That eventually led him to Maitri.
Tomas is joined by Maitri Executive Director, Rev. Fr. Rusty Smith, to share with us the history of the nonprofit, which was founded by Issan Dorsey in the Castro in 1987. Rusty tells us how he came to work at Maitri, explaining how a big part of its mission is to serve those with HIV/AIDS who also suffer from poverty.
Rusty and Tomas talk about how Maitri has fared over the past year of the pandemic. Stories include non-volunteers like these two stepping up to facilitate and play bingo with the residents.
We end this episode with Rusty and Tomas's hopes for San Francisco as it emerges from the pandemic.
We recorded this podcast at Maitri Compassionate Care in April 2021.