One Life at a Time

February 16, 2022

“Who knew?” Mary Katherine Black reflected on 22 years of work as a volunteer and staff member at the Urban Ministry Center and Roof Above. At the end of this month, Mary Katherine will be leaving, but her impact on this place will remain. 

Who knew that “MK” would leave such a mark on this community? Only every neighbor, volunteer, and staff member she worked with over two decades.  

“Everybody comes here for a reason, a very personal reason.” For Mary Katherine, she started volunteering to continue a passion she has had her entire career, first as a counselor in Birmingham, Alabama and now as Volunteer Coordinator for Roof Above. Those first years Mary Katherine joined the “rag-tag” Urban Ministry Center team. 

As a Volunteer Coordinator, she connects with both volunteers and neighbors. She worked with the full diversity of Roof Above’s volunteers: ages from 18-89 from every neighborhood in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Her relationships with volunteers have spanned years and transformed into close friendships.  

“Each relationship has taught me so much.” She described it as a cumulative, layering effect: calling to mind our garden, where layers of soil, sand, rock, and clay have, with gentle and patient hands, grown something new. Ironically, this image only goes so far: no one let Mary Katherine near the actual plants in our garden. Mary Katherine has cultivated community here instead. 

Reflecting on these last weeks, Mary Katherine said she will miss “working alongside people who share the same passion.” Without a doubt, she has helped forge the shared passion of every person who walks through our doors. 

Now, we are wishing Mary Katherine the best for her next chapter!