A couple of weeks ago, our board president and I were giving a tour of Woodley House to two people who wanted to learn a little more about our programs and what we do. After visiting Valenti House (our flagship group home), we stopped by Crossing Place (our short-term crisis home). We were just about to leave when a young woman came down the stairs. She must have just come out of the shower as her hair was still very wet. She approached us and zeroed in on Isabel, our board president, forming an immediate connection. She asked if Isabel were part of Woodley House and learning that she was head of our Board of Trustees, the girl took a deep breath and started to tell her story.
A graduate of Smith College, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had recently gone through a very difficult period. She had been at Crossing Place for nearly a week and felt immeasurably better … still fairly fragile, but stable and hopeful. She was effusive in her appreciation of her stay at Crossing Place … the staff, welcoming environment and security of knowing that she was being looked after. She was SO articulate, in fact, that if it weren’t so obviously unrehearsed and unexpected, it could almost be seen as the perfect unsolicited testimonial … a true gift to a development director!
We wished her well and went on our way — but thinking back, it hit me that this was why we are here — really making a difference in people’s lives. As development director, I’m busy trying to raise funds through donations, grants and events like our Annual Movie Benefit. Sometimes you can get lost in the day to day … but in this one 10 minute encounter, I could see exactly WHY we do what we do. We provided that special space for someone in great need to regroup, become stable and start anew. Without us, who knows how she might have fared. We were there when it mattered.
There are so many great causes out there, but not all can truly step in and provide such a meaningful and perhaps life-changing respite. So thank you to all our supporters who make Woodley House possible for so many who need us.