by Lillian Mark, Community Building Division Operations Manager
This blog is a tribute to some of the wonderful staff and clients in the Community Building Division at GLIDE who have demonstrated GLIDE’s core values to me by “walking the walk.”
June Lucarotti, Case Manager in the GLIDE Walk-In Center 3 years ago, had taped a sheet of paper with the words “Today I Am Grateful For” on her desk. Clients receiving supportive services were welcomed to write down their thoughts. One day I saw this written: I got out of bed today. There has not been day in my life when I could not get out of bed because of circumstance, so I was not able to resonate with that feeling, but that does not make it any less important. Progress and success are relative to who we are and where we are.
At GLIDE, everyone’s success is worthy of celebration.
A client who was upset at the staff began to yell in the lobby and during the busy lunch period. Most of us on the Community Building Division Management Team meeting agreed that this type of behavior was inappropriate. Zwazzi Sowö, Women’s Center Manager, spoke up and said “I’m glad that he was yelling. He has a voice! He feels empowered enough to say something. There are many people in the community who are so dis-empowered that they wouldn’t even say anything.” My desire to maintain a comfortable environment for myself involved silencing others. There is a difference between being comfortable and being safe.
At GLIDE, it is safe because everyone has a voice.
One morning, an elderly senior in his 80’s came into the office at 11:00 AM, to speak with Kim Armbruster, Walk-In Center Manager. He was distraught from having waited since 4:00 AM in the emergency shelter line that morning without any luck reserving a bed. He leaned in against the desk and started to raise his voice at Kim. Kim sat there, without leaning back, and listened closely. At the end, Kim apologized to him even though GLIDE has no control over the availability of beds in the city’s shelter system. He apologized because the human heart needed to feel compassion during its time of distress in that moment.
At GLIDE, everyone deserves respect, love and compassion.
There are days when I feel unattractive and insufficient. One day I attempted to remedy this by buying a new pair of jeans during my lunch break. Later that day, a woman from the Women’s Center, who visits frequently, came into the office abruptly and said, without any prompting, “Lillian, how come women feel they are the clothes they wear? How come women can’t just be who they are?” I looked at her soiled clothing and was humbled. The wholeness of the human spirit does not depend on how much worth you wear on the outside, but how much you feel you are worth on the inside.
At GLIDE, everyone is in recovery.