I’ve developed an end-of-year reflection muscle as an Executive Director that has served me well in fostering a deep sense of optimism. The state of homelessness in our community this past year has been disheartening at times. We have seen numbers climb, encampments emerge, funding priorities shift, the latter of which could jeopardize the availability of basic, humane emergency services. And yet, my heart is full of hope, thanks to the following forces that helped shape this attitude.

The women we serve: Courageous. Determined. Resilient. I have the privilege of observing the paths of hundreds of women each year who pass through the doors of EGH. I witness the relief experienced when filling an empty belly, replacing wet socks, luxuriating in a hot shower. I see the happy dance when housing or a job is secured. Simple acts of kindness and comfort are freely extended to each newcomer. I am indeed fortunate to be part of this EGH family.

The staff: Compassionate. Dedicated. Kindhearted. The caring service provision from our small staff looms big. Michele, Christine, Valerie, Karen, Elizabeth, Marie, Zenashe, Mari, Kay. Thank you.

The volunteers who serve and guide: Foundational. Committed. Inspiring. Our organization could not exist without these heroes. Intentional acts of kindness, ranging from direct service provision to leadership and governance, are transformative and deeply appreciated.

Our community of donors: Generous. Passionate. Thoughtful. Individual gifts, whether in-kind or financial, are critical to sustaining our ability to support each homeless or at-risk woman we serve. Of equal value are grants, gifts, or sponsorships from foundations, faith communities, and businesses.

I end this missive with this excerpt from Kristi Nelson, Executive Director at A Network for Grateful Living.

“Grateful living in difficult times can help to build a bridge from despair to empowerment and from grief to engagement. And, importantly, it can keep our hearts open when they want to close.”

My hope is to greet the gifts and challenges that 2018 might offer with an open mind and heart. Wishing each of you abundant peace and joy in the New Year.

Ruth Herold, Executive Director

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