Caridad strives to humanize the homeless by providing customer service based street outreach. The agency is able to do this at the lowest cost possible by partnering with existing Clark County agencies.
Caridad, simply means “charity” in Spanish and Portuguese. Caridad was originally created in 2010 to collect socks and underwear donations for local homeless charities. Caridad partners with local homeless agencies, police, and experts on homeless issues to educate the public. Caridad strives to be transparent, be accountable to donors, and demonstrate our social impact.
(Chief Kindness Officer) – Merideth Spriggs received her Masters of Divinity in 2004 from Nazarene Theological Seminary. In October 2008 she lost her job and became homeless. After struggling with homelessness, she overcame and was hired at the San Diego Rescue Mission to work in the Recuperative Care Unit. Merideth created a charity, Caridad Inc. in 2010 to help educate the public on the fact versus fiction about homelessness as well as highlight and create partnerships between legitimate agencies and volunteers. She has participated in the 100,000 Homes Campaign. In 2013 she and her husband moved to Las Vegas. In 2014 she joined the Downtown Rangers; a Downtown Project Company providing customer service based outreach to the homeless. Spriggs is currently the Southern Nevada lead on outreach for the federal 25 Cities Initiative working with federal VA, HUD, and USICH to coordinate ending veterans homelessness. A champion of the housing first model Merideth has housed hundreds and helped thousands of homeless. In addition to this leadership, Spriggs also serves as co-lead for the Continuum of Care Community Engagement Working group.
Funder Tony Hsieh and his fund Downtown Project recognized Merideth’s passion to end homelessness. In January of 2015 the Downtown Project and Tony Hsieh donated to bring Caridad to Las Vegas. The City of Las Vegas also showed support of Spriggs and her efforts by awarding her Citizen of the Month in October 2015.
In the past Merideth has provided training for Seattle, Boise, and San Diego communities under the 25 Cities Initiative. Merideth continues to work with Rapid Results to train other communities on coordinated outreach. To book for speaking engagements contact Merideth@caridadcharity.com
(Street Concierge) – Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Tim Melnyk completed a Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Manitoba with an interest in researching gambling addiction and the politics of legalized gambling. This led to a PhD program at UNLV studying under the guidance of Dr. Bo Bernhard, where he is currently an ABD (All But Dissertation) PhD Candidate. During his five years in Las Vegas he has spent time volunteering and conducting research at the Las Vegas Problem Gambling Center and has worked at the International Gaming Institute on campus. Tim has co-authored several academic articles on responsible gambling among young adults, including one published in the Journal of Gambling Studies.
Tim being Caridad’s first employee will assist with street outreach efforts. Specializing in accelerated benefits training, Tim is also the first full-time certified SOAR benefits specialist in the state of Nevada. He will assist all Southern Nevada agencies in aiding homeless clients that qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits so that they may become self-sufficient and move indoors.
(Chaos Diversion Director) – Alexandria is currently working on her Masters of Social Work degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 2015 she began working with Las Vegas CHIPs, a program that partners with local EMS providers to identify people with social needs in the community, then connecting them with social workers who assess, educate, refer and advocate; ultimately, linking people in need to the resources and services they need. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, in 2014, Alexandria worked for 6 years as an Eligibility Worker for Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.
(Grant Catalyst) – Kris received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has over 10 years’ experience as a therapist. She then moved to Florida in 2001 with her husband where she became the CEO of the Mental Health Association of West Florida. During which she spent time volunteering as a board member of the EscaRosa Homeless Coalition. She was also involved with the Crisis Intervention Training for law officers in how to work with the mentally ill and homeless. Kris has had a passion for serving the community throughout her career. She joined the Caridad Team in January of 2016.
Kris is a certified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trainer. To learn more or book Kris to train your team contact Kris@caridadcharity.com
(Activity Sensei) – Karla graduated from Florida Gulf coast University with three degrees in Education, Sciences, and Inter-disciplinary studies. As a quick thinker and passion to serve people she started her career as a General Manger for a restaurant/Comedy club called Captain Brian’s Off the Hook Comedy Club. She quickly tuned her skills as a well-organized, efficient communicator and resourceful leader. Armed with 5 years of food and beverage professional working experience and a multi language skill-set Karla looked for a new challenging path to complement her aptitudes and challenge her drive to grow both personally and professional career, brought her to Las Vegas. In Las Vegas Karla worked for the Mandarin oriental Hotel group as a food and beverage and banquet operations manager. Feeling right at home and well versed with both front of house and back of house operations she heightened her skill set and created network system within the service industry gaining a reputation of excellence. This reputation and devotion to service and excellence was recognized by Station Casinos, Zuffa, Feritta Enterprises who recruited Karla to work as their Food and beverage Director. Climbing the corporate ladder was not for Karla, soon she yearned to slow down her career pace in an effort to get back to her roots and serve people. Through her vast network of friends and professional colleagues she learned of a need for an activity sensei at Caridad. Fitting perfectly into her acquired skillset she accepted the opportunity to volunteer her skills and time in a mutual common goal to serve the community in an effort to humanize the homeless by providing customer service based outreach unifying pre-existing city services.