Thoughts from Outgoing President Debbie Schoeneshoefer
Some days this job is discouraging. Monday was one of those days. We interviewed a family for the Meadow House and a man for the Grace House. It was hard to listen to their struggles, especially when the solutions were not clear.
Afterwards, I had lunch with a counselor who has been instrumental in the success of our program. We talked about what success looked like for the people in our houses, and what were realistic outcomes.
I loved what she said. "Often, we don't see positive results for years, but each person is changed forever because of the growth they experienced at the houses."
While we would like to see immediate, positive results, that is often not the case. Sometimes it's three giant steps forward and a couple of baby steps backwards. Other times it feels like 23 giant steps backwards, but that is simply not true.
In the Meadow House, the children have a stable environment to grow in for nine months. The parents have the opportunity to go to counseling and work through past and present issues. They are often able to overcome many of the obstacles they are facing, and are even able to experience a special Christmas.
After lunch, I returned a call to a client who had recently moved out of the Meadow House. She is doing so good and thankful for the opportunity to get back on her feet. She is setting an example for her daughters that hard work and dedication pays off. I have no doubt that those two little girls’ lives will be different as adults because of their experience with HART.
Later that day I got a call from another former client, who had not only been homeless but was severely burned in a fire and spent 10 days in the hospital. He went from transitional housing to marriage and now lives in an apartment with his wife and is very stable. He spent most of the phone call choking back tears as he told me how he had gotten to see his sister the day before for the first time in many years. He had lost contact with his family due to his actions, but now was reunited with them. He was so thankful for HART and the life changes it had given him the opportunity to make.
As I hand off the presidency to Fred Bremerman, I am confident he will not only do a great job but will take HART to higher levels. His organizational skills and forward thinking has made him a success professionally, and greatly respected with the City of Elk Grove. I admittedly don't have inspiration for what our future program looks like. But I know Fred does. That is his specialty—planning. So, hold on, and be confident that HART is in good hands.
2016-2017 HART President