By Katinka Podmaniczky

Jumaane Kendrick never thought he’d be where he is today. But where he’s ended up is suiting him just fine.

For more than three years, Jumaane has been one of three Boston Public Health Ccommission case managers working with victims of street violence who are brought to the emergency department at Boston Medical Center. His role is to support the individual throughout their time in the hospital and connect them to services they may need like detox, housing assistance, and employment, education, and training opportunities. After there are released from the hospital, he continues to mentor and follow up with them for as many as twelve months after the incident.

Every day, Jumaane draws on the strength he has gained through personal experience. He moved to Roxbury at 14 and was a victim of street violence himself. It was the strong support of his family, he says, that helped him change his path and eventually complete college. Now he wants to give back to the community and help other people in turn. He explains that it is important to help patients realize they are accountable for their actions and for making change. This is a message made more powerful by coming from someone who has been in their shoes.

Earlier this year, Jumaane was recognized by Mayor Menino and The Philanthropic Initiative with a Boston Neighborhood Fellows Unsung Hero Award. Awardees were selected for their vision, creativity, leadership, and commitment to their fellow human beings – words that surely describe Jumaane.

Although he’s uncomfortable with being recognized for his work, Jumaane is grateful to be able to help those in tough situations, because he loves to empower and motivate people. And he sees himself doing this kind of work for a long time. The most gratifying part of the job? Seeing people have hope because they know they are supported by someone who believes in them and trusts they can succeed, he says.

Katinka Podmaniczky is the assistant communications director for the Public Health Commission. Meet other BPHC employees here, here, and here.