Staff Spotlight: Rimmerman Builds Relationships By Focusing on Basics
Whether it’s sharing coffee with local women in Central American communities or helping
folks get a fresh start with new furniture, for Rachel Rimmerman, building relationships
and making people feel at home have been at the heart of her personal and professional
Rimmerman, event and outreach coordinator for Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at Saint Louis University, spends her time connecting with others through her work with both campus and local
aid groups. She is a technical mentor with SLU’s Billikens for Clean Water, a student group collaborating with Mayan communities in Belize to focus on clean, safe drinking water access. Since 2015, Rimmerman has also been
on the development committee for Home Sweet Home STL, an agency that provides furniture and household items to people transitioning out
of homelessness into new, stable home lives.
Serving others was instilled in her by her parents while growing up in Kansas City,
Rimmerman said, and “it’s been something that’s been instilled in me my whole life.”
“I think there are a lot of inequities, both internationally and in our own community,
and that there are so many things that you can contribute to and give your resources
Following college, Rimmerman lived and worked in Honduras, coordinating programs for
Global Brigades, Inc. She focused on rural water projects, managing international
groups of volunteers as well as building relationships with community members. She’d
been drawn to the region as an undergrad when she and a friend volunteered in neighboring
Nicaragua on a local water effort.
“We just fell in love with it,” she recalled.
After her time in Honduras, Rimmerman moved to St. Louis, working in nonprofit development
before joining SLU – and Home Sweet Home – three years ago. She continued volunteering,
both on the water issues that had drawn her to Central America, and to helping others
make homes for themselves.
She’s been drawn to the missions of groups like Home Sweet Home and Billikens for
Clean Water because she’s seen the difference having access to things many people
take for granted has for those who have gone without them. Rimmerman cites her experiences
with families coming to Home Sweet Home’s furniture facility and showroom as one example.
“It’s been eye-opening these last few years – to see the number of kids in our own
neighborhoods who don’t have beds,” she explained. Home Sweet Home has created a furniture-showroom
setting for its donated items and strives to provide people with an experience similar
to any other furniture buying trip. The agency’s goal is to give families and clients
a sense of pride and anticipation as they step into their new homes.
“They deserve to be proud,” Rimmerman explained, noting that many clients have encountered
significant obstacles from leaving abusive domestic situations to overcoming substance
abuse issues. “They get to have the experience of being excited to pick out a new
Through her work at SLU and in her spare time serving, Rimmerman noted that relationships
remained at the center of her passions.
“I really believe in the importance of just being human with other humans,” she continued
“It’s amazing what you can learn simply by building relationships with other people
in a true spirit of mutuality. There is a quote I always go back to by Uruguayan author
Eduardo Galeano, ‘I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is
vertical, so it’s humiliating; it goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal.
It learns from the other and respects the other. I have a lot to learn from other
Staff Spotlight is an occasional series dedicated to revealing the stories behind
the name badges of SLU's staff members. To suggest a staff member to shine a light
on, contact Newslink or call 314-977-2519.