July 18, 2013
I first heard of the Center for Respite Care a few years ago when a friend of mine asked me if I would consider supporting the Center financially. Before I made any committment, I first wanted to check the place out so I made an appointment with Mrs Mary Beth Meyer, the Executive Director, and she took mw on a tour and explained the mission and goals of the Center. I had the opportunity to meet the Medical Director, Dr. Bob Donovan, as well as other members of the staff. Two things stood out immediately to me; the first was the dedication and committment with which each staff member went about their duties; the second was the the total respect and courtesy with which each staff member treated every resident. Most of the residents are homeless, many of them are suffering from addictions of every type, all of them would be classified as living in the margins of our society. Yet every one of them, including the more difficult ones, were treated with the utmost dignity, care and concern by the staff Of course, I did not see or experience all of this on my initial visit. But that initial visit with Mrs. Meyer impressed me so much that not only did I agree to offer some financial support to the Center, I also decided to volunteer some regular time doing whatever I could to help. Over the next few years I was privileged to see the Center's staff in action and was even more privileged to meet and interact with many of the residents. Their stories often inspire and amaze me. Certainly their stories have helped me to break the stereotypical mind-set that homeless people "just choose to be homeless and live the way they do because they are too lazy to get a job." They truly have taught me and have given me far more gifts than I have ever given them. The staff work very hard at helping the residents reconnect with family, if possible. If not, many of the residents are given the opportunity of moving into taerlow rent apartments in the area and are made aware of services to help them start over. Many of them have taken advantage of those opportunities and have begun new lives.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
expand the size of the Center so that we could accommodate more people
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