Farewell from a CFH Leader

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Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. -Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 For over 9 years, one of my responsibilities has been writing letters; thank you letters, warning letters, letters of agreement, recommendations, congratulation letters, exit letters and condolence letters, so I have been perplexed as to why writing this letter has been so challenging.

I realize now that when you do what you are passionate about with people that you care deeply about it is only natural that it would be difficult to say good-bye.

It has been honor of working with an extraordinary group of men and women, staff, volunteers, congregations, and community members that have true compassion and heart for helping others. I thank each of you for being part of my dream of giving hope to men experiencing homelessness over the years.

Perhaps the greatest thank you goes to the men themselves as they have shared theirs stories and their lives with me.  I have learned the true meaning of courage, determination, patience, acceptance and grace from the men I have met; their stories will hold a special place in my heart forever.

I will be leaving CFH at the end of 2015, to move closer to our children in Central Oregon. For those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised that the only thing that would draw me away from CFH and all of you is my own family. As our children are getting older, they are settling down in the Oregon area and my husband and I have always known that we want to be near them as they begin their own families. Although it will be impossible to replace my CFH family, I will continue to work with men experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon.

You will all be left in very capable hands. CFH has a strong staff and they will continue to live out the values of respect, dignity and empowerment.  The growth of the organization has been monumental over the past 9 years; what an honor to be a part of this journey. I will deeply miss not being part of the incredible future plans; but, I know that CFH will continue to be a pillar in the community offering hope and independence for so many people. I can’t imagine finding a finer organization to work with.

Thank you for the privilege of working with each of you. What a gift it has been to live out my purpose in the most passionate way, each day has truly been well spent.

With the warmest of regards,

Stacey Witte

 


Love is the Key by Dwight Jackson, Director of Shelter Services

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The holiday season is a particular reminder of our solidarity with those struggling with poverty and homelessness. The Eastside community has generously joined together in an effort to offer lifesaving overnight shelter during the coldest winter months, by opening the Eastside Winter Shelter (EWS). Through our shared effort and commitment, CFH is able to provide care to hundreds of men who are currently experiencing homelessness.

At the EWS, I see first-hand the impact our presence makes on those struggling to regain solid footing in their lives. Many of the men we serve have suffered great loss – the biggest loss they share is not the loss of material things, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual losses they have experienced. The biggest void in the lives of these men are hope, faith, and love.

Men come to CFH hopeless and hurting. This hopelessness has many root causes that include poverty, abuse, and neglect.  Most of the men, who walk through our doors, come to us having experienced considerable trauma; they come physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. Besides not having a safe place to rest and heal, many lack self-confidence, supportive connections, and the resources to overcome their condition. CFH offers hope to the hopeless, just by showing that we care as a collective community. That care lifts spirits and helps a man to believe that is he still has worth and ability.

Men come to CFH having lost faith – faith in themselves, in possibility, in a future; faith has waned with each traumatic blow they have suffered.  Faith is reignited as men see positive change in their lives. This can be as simple as having a place to go when it’s cold outside. It also happens as progress is made in addressing issues that have brought them to homelessness. Through our collective compassion and support, men are able to believe in something greater for their lives even when it has not fully materialized yet.  Their faith begins to increase, serving them well when future difficulties arise.

Love is the key. Love heals. Love gives these men a fighting chance. Love helps them find worth in themselves. Love is supportive and encouraging. Love is transformative. We are blessed to witness transformations big and small each day because of love. It’s simple, yet powerful.

I thank you for offering these men hope, faith, and love. These provide the basis for lasting change in their lives.

Keep on, keeping on!

Dwight