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10 Franklin Street, Saratoga Springs, NY

Franklin Community Center Blog

Another lesson learned.

July 6th, 2012

I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason; in fact I’m sure I’ve said that before in one of my previous posts.  But there are some moments in life when you just know the very reason a particular circumstance unfolds is to teach you something important…

We pride ourselves on our compassion, empathy and kindness here at FCC.  Most people tell us it’s obvious that our staff is here by “choice” and not by “chore”.  There is no doubt that each one of us gets busy in our defined “roles,” but we all love the opportunity to directly reach out and help someone when we can.

Today, from my desk at the top of the stairs, I could hear the busy-ness in the lobby below.  As I not-so-gracefully galloped down the stairs to help, I noticed a well-dressed woman glancing at the pamphlets and flyers on the wall.  I politely asked, “May I help you?”  With concern in her eyes, she replied, “I’m just hoping to get some information about the services you provide.”  She went on to say that she was “basically homeless” and looking for resources on which she could rely, and eventually hoping to find senior housing.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because this scenario happens more times than I’d like to count, but every person’s story is eerily similar and yet markedly different each time.         

As I took the woman into the empty office downstairs to see if I could help, she shared her tragic story.  She moved here from an urban city about a year ago after encountering some devastating life circumstances to her closest loved ones.  Her mental health was severely affected, and she was now struggling to regain some sense of normalcy, coping skills and self- respect.  Relying on SSD and SSI until she is feeling well enough to get a job, her primary issue was finding a “safe place” to live, but she also needed some clothing, food and resources.  Thankfully, we were able to provide her with much of what she needed.
 
Think about it.  This woman on the surface was someone who was once a donor to agencies like ours.  She’s educated, smart, kind, and she presented well for someone truly struggling.  On the inside, she was scared, overwhelmed and searching for help.

When I first looked at her, I assumed she was a donor dropping something off.  And I’m ashamed to admit that when I realized she needed me to sit with her for a while, I grew internally frustrated that I’d have to shift my focus away from my “important fundraiser” for a bit.

But I walked away realizing something: This is why I do what I do.  Her hug and smile on her way out the door made me realize exactly why we’re here.  My “important fundraisers” are for people exactly like this woman and thousands of others like her.  And if I didn’t have these reminders every once in a while, I think I’d lose sight of what’s most important. 

She never would have guessed she’d need a place like Franklin Community Center, but she did.  

Funny, I guess I needed her, too.