Kristin Rucinski

My day job is executive director of The Road Home Dane County, the only resource in Madison that works exclusively with homeless families with children. Our method is three-fold: providing emergency shelter, which we do through our partnerships with local faith communities; permanent housing and intensive case management. Each family is assigned a social worker to help them set and meet goals. Housing is, obviously, critical to helping these families get back on their feet but it’s not the only issue they’re dealing with, which is why the case management aspect is so important.

My most memorable caffeine would involve Dr. Pepper, which was my caffeine of choice in college. Whenever I needed to pull an all-nighter, my roommate and I would head to the local gas station and get a Polar Pop: a huge cup filled with crushed ice and soda for 59 cents. It got me through whatever I needed to accomplish.

 My current caffeine of choice is jasmine green tea.

My favorite place for caffeine is either the Barriques on Park Street—great food and beverages—or Lakeside Street Coffee House, which is on Lake Monona, for atmosphere.

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my good friend, Charlotte, whom I think of as my surrogate grandma. When I was going to school at Indiana University in Bloomington, I worked with kids who had autism. One of them was Charlotte’s grandson, Ryder. She was so good with him and we got to be friends during the time that Ryder was in the program. I’d visit Charlotte at her house and we’d enjoy a cup of tea. I really cherish those memories and it would be wonderful to see her again.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  gaining clarity. Sometimes when I’m having a crazy day at work, I head out for a cup of tea. I call it my “clarity break.” Taking the time to sit down and get outside the constant pressure of the day-to-day lets me get past the busyness of my life and focus more on big picture ideas. Indirectly, perhaps we could take steps toward addressing the problem of homelessness with a little caffeine and the space to think strategically.