← Back to all posts

Making the Connection Between Listening and Independence

Woodley House is fortunate to have dedicated employees who care deeply about serving others.

In this blog, I would like to introduce you to our Residential Director, Edward Barnett. Ed oversees the running of Valenti House (our transitional home), Crossing Place (our crisis home) and Holly House (our long-term group home), as well as our Supported Independent Living Apartment Program with apartments throughout the city.

Ed’s dedication to serving others comes from a strong religious and spiritual foundation. His mother was a missionary, so he and his six older siblings naturally grew up helping people. In the early 1980s, he was ordained as a minister and did missionary work in Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. This past month, he spent two weeks on a mission trip to Africa, where he conducted leadership training to pastors and leaders in Kenya (Kakamega, Butere, Kisumu) and Uganda (Torreo and Mbale). In 2013, Ed celebrated 22 years of ministry as a pastor, and has been happily married for 28 years. He has three children who all serve and work in the public service field, giving back.

Being a problem-solver is Ed’s most important job. He studied electrical engineering in college, which has prepared him to think through the issues that come with managing roughly 30 people, ensuring consumer concerns are addressed, and making sure the quality of Woodley House facilities enable recovery in a safe, secure environment.

Unlike many other service providers, Woodley House offers support every step along the journey towards recovery, from crisis to independence. Barnett tells the story of one consumer who recently went through multiple stages of recovery with Woodley House:

“We had a consumer who came to Crossing Place, our crisis house – homeless, did not have any direction, could not care for himself, did not have much support. Within two weeks, we were able to stabilize him and bring him to a place where he could be cognizant enough to understand directions. We transitioned him from the crisis house to Valenti House, where he stayed in the transition program for about a year, and then we transitioned him from that program over to Holly House, where he stayed for about two to three years before he transitioned out. And now he’s out of our program.”

Most transformations he has seen working at Woodley House start with listening and nurturing.

“You have to listen, because listening doesn’t just tell you what consumers need. Sometimes it tells you what they missed in life. And you try to fill some of those voids to give them confidence to step out and try new things, to reshape their thinking and reshape their lives from the tragic situations they have had in the past.

“They begin to imagine and dream for better lives and better living. And with a little support, they learn day by day that they are competent enough to take care of themselves. And they begin to try a little bit more, and then a little bit more, until you begin to see a form of independence develop.”

Barnett says that working at Woodley House gives him the opportunity to live his ideology, which is “Be your best every day. Give – whoever it is you serve – your best, without looking at where they came from or who they are.”

Before coming to Woodley House, Ed was with the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, working with mentally ill children and adolescents, as well as supervising and training counselors. He has a Master’s Degree in Counseling.

We hope you will join us in thanking Ed for his dedication to making Woodley House a pathway to recovery for hundreds of Washington, DC area residents each year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *