Name: MonRa Muse
Occupation: Child mental health therapist
Why I’m here: “This is where I was born and raised. The three main reasons I’m here are my family, graduate school and my job. I attended graduate school at Eastern Washington University. Through the nature of my job, they kind of recruited me. They wanted me to come and help make their program better. Grad school brought me back, as far as finding a job that’s helping me take care of my family.
“I’ve lived mainly around the state, in Ellensburg, Cheney and Seattle. First it was Ellensburg. I wanted to get a degree at Central Washington University. I was there for five quarters, but I came back and got my AA in liberal arts at Spokane Community College. Then I transferred out to Cheney and got my bachelor’s in social work.
“I took a position in Seattle. I basically did what I always wanted to do, which is to work with real urban young kids coming out of the poorest parts of Seattle. I wanted to work with this specific population, and I couldn’t do it in Spokane. It was the perfect job because I wanted the opportunity to work with kids who look like me and just give back. I was a lucky kid so I wanted to help kids of the same ethnic background. ‘If I can do it, you can do it’ type of thing.
“I wanted to get my master’s degree more than anything. I felt limited in how much I could make doing what I loved. The only way around that was to pursue more education. It only made sense to do it at Eastern. My experience there was very good. Right after graduate school I was offered two jobs, one at Excelsior Youth Center, (which) I have a history with and the other at Spokane Aids Network. I was fortunate enough to land here and stick here.
“I don’t plan on leaving, not in the near future, but it’s been thought about. The job market is tough. It’s competitive in Spokane. That’s the only thing that gets me to even think about leaving: ‘Am I going to be able to provide for my family.’ I know I can make a lot more money in different parts of the state, or back in Seattle. It’s tough having a master’s degree and not clearing $30,000. But I choose to stay because, truth be told, the education for my kids – the grade schools; I’m able to live comfortably, if that’s not a contradiction. Thirty-thousand dollars anywhere else wouldn’t get you much, but in Spokane you can still live happily and comfortably.
“If you’re family-oriented, Spokane is the place to be, I think.”