I recently heard a few words that have caused me to pause and reflect. Reflection on me as a person, our organization and those we serve. We are a nonprofit organization…..there is a real definition, but in our world, it means a lot is expected on very minimal means. So, what makes an nonprofit tick?
“Some of the best movements start with sorrow” (Luke Frechette). That is how most nonprofits begin. A grass roots organization started by a need, a desire, a burden. A great sorrow that fills every fiber of a being. Let’s face it, homelessness, poverty, widows and orphans, hunger, many things that have always been and could continue down the ages, yet, this sorrow to make a difference and impact for change overtakes us. For us, that is building housing that is affordable for those who need a place to call home. It is incorporating services into housing and calling it “Housing with a heart” so those less fortunate have opportunity for success. How many of you came from this background? If I am to be transparent and honest, I would say I did too.
When I look back over my childhood, I remember the good things (I have been told I am weird). Our family goes back 7 generations here on the coast. I am proud of the history and enrichment they provided to our community. I remember living here at the beach, and spending summers with my grandmother on the farm. I remember running, playing, laughing, learning, fishing, camping, youth group, hide-and-go-seek, and riding bikes. But that was not my whole story.
I am the child of a teen mom. My father was 8 years older and fresh out of the military. Both my parents came from dysfunctional families leading to alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence. I spent many of my growing up years in a mobile home park where I made lifelong friendships in a rural community. I remember being embarrassed when my mom bought all the turkey burger she could, filling a basket, because it was cheap and food stamps were a part of my everyday life. I wore second hand clothes, was teased and bullied mercilessly in multiple schools, and worked side by side with my mom picking strawberries and garlic in the fields in order to get new clothes off layaway from K-Mart. I remember when we spent a week in a domestic violence shelter, only to return to my father after he put my moms dog down. I remember when my mom and I left again, only to be stalked for 3 years by my father and not seeing my younger sister during that time. I remember everything…..
So, you see, I am just a normal person working a job, but I have this burden, this sorrow to make an impact. Sure, maybe it stems from my upbringing, but one thing I do know. This work in affordable housing development is needed. It is challenging, it is difficult and it takes funding to do it. That trailer park, that affordable housing, shaped me into who I am today. One who is giving back and fighting for opportunities and successes for others. So, I make no apologies when I say, we need your help. Our organization is developing and preserving housing for the less fortunate and at risk populations, but our operations are beginning to dwindle substantially during this COVID-19 crisis.
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. Please, if you feel a burden, a sorrow to house those that are in need, please consider donating to our organization, Northwest Coastal Housing. Together, we can make a difference, because everyone deserves a place to call home.