I have been on the journey of a lifetime. Never did I think I would be spending my days working with the homeless and marginally housed population of Columbus.
My journey into adulthood started when I graduated from Capital University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. I started a teaching career in Reynoldsburg and earned a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Dayton in 1997. I then met my husband and soon started a family. I was home with our three kids for about 12 years.
The church my family attends, Peace United Methodist Church, participates in The Open Shelter’s dinner program. I volunteered to serve a meal and was introduced to Kent & Mary Beittel. Mary invited me to come to the shelter and take a tour. I was overwhelmed by all the small staff of the shelter was able to accomplish for this population of people while running on a budget comprised solely of private donations. The faith in God this requires really appealed to me.
I was also impressed by the longevity of the careers with The Open Shelter of Solomon Dean, our Deputy Director of Day Services & Harry Yeprem, our Development Coordinator. This is a rare thing in an industry where job turnover is rampant, so I knew The Open Shelter was a special place to be.
I started volunteering, then working part time coordinating donations that came in as well as working in the office with Mary on paperwork associated with the Payeeship Program. I saw Mary work with the guests in a respectful, caring way. She was very much focused on the fact that these were adults who needed to be loved as well as guided. Her expectation was that they would be treated like and expected to act like adults.
Once I took on a full-time role in the agency, Kent worked slowly, teaching me not only the approach used at The Open Shelter but why they believed it was the right way to do it.
Though I was immersed in the work I always felt incredible support from Kent, Harry and Solomon.
As we transition to new leadership we have spent time revisiting our programs and their purpose and have found that what we have been doing is exactly what we believe should continue to be done. So, though there will be change, there will be sameness.
I believe God has opened these doors for me and filled my heart with the desire to continue the work started by Kent & Mary over 34 years ago.
I hope each of you will continue this journey with us through your continued financial support. We have been and will continue to be the place where your generosity comes to life.