“Tell Me What LOVE Is”

By: Lillian Mark, GLIDE program team member since 2004

This year I celebrate 10 years on GLIDE staff not including the 3 semesters I spent here as an intern prior. During my tenure at GLIDE the people in my life and the people I meet have had many questions: Did you always know you wanted to help people? Why would you choose to do this? Why would you choose to work there? What makes you stay? My response to those questions change as I am changed by this place every day.

151005 Advocacy at City Hall 2014 -- Lillian Mark

John Powell, GLIDE Security Staff, shares a 20-year journey with GLIDE and he says “When you come to GLIDE, you’re always going to come out with something, maybe a piece of fried chicken, no matter what you’re going in for you’re going to come out with something better than what you went in with.” Ten years ago I came to GLIDE seeking community and justice. I wanted to be a part of a legacy, a mission, a body of people that believed in justice and acted on those beliefs valiantly. I found all of those things, but more importantly, I found LOVE. GLIDE has changed how I understand and hold LOVE; it is greater, deeper and more daring than I have ever known.

Ana Guillen, GLIDE Walk-In Center Manager, was sitting at one of the workstations in the Center wearing two hats: attending to her managerial administrative duties while providing coverage for staff out sick. A client approached her and pushed a document towards her and said “Type this.” In the moment she was taken aback by the abruptness and forcefulness of the request, especially given the myriad of tasks before her. Nonetheless, she typed up the documented, printed it, and handed it back to him. He held it in his hands, looked up at her and says “This is LOVE. Here, this, this is LOVE. I have a job, but I come here for shelter and I come here to eat. This is LOVE.”

I sat in a Women’s Center drop-in support group the other morning. One of the women who had spent many months homeless previously handed staff a plastic bag and said “This is a shirt. It’s for Ms. Kathy. It’s a bigger size and I know she needs bigger sizes.” I was humbled. Many times when we look in at a community like GLIDE’s, we think about scarcity. While this may be true for food security, access to quality health care, affordable housing, and workforce opportunities, there is another story that is unfolding here – from one woman to another who knows what it feels like to walk in her shoes, there is LOVE and bountifulness, and there is still room to be generous even when we ourselves may not have enough.

The LOVE we receive in this very moment gives us strength and hope for the next moment.
It lets us know that people see us, hear us and care about us.
It restores our faith in ourselves and others.It lets us know that we are worthy.

This incredible basic, human need is what GLIDE has always provided.

It cannot be measured by tools made by men and women, but I know it is here because I feel it deeply, and it has changed me forever.

And this is why I am still here.

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#BryanStevenson and Rev. Cecil Williams came together last night at the @jccsf. These two people know very well the "power of proximity," having dedicated their lives to working for and with some of the most disenfranchised individuals and communities in our country. Despite the pain of violence and injustice, they stress the importance of staying #hopeful and loving. "It is the broken among us that know and appreciate the power of compassion."--Bryan Stevenson @eji_org @artsjccsf @supersoul @nyulaw @glidesflegacy @harvardlaw @randomhouse #justmercy #unconditionallove Maya Angelou and Isabel Allende join a Sunday Celebration at GLIDE in January 1996. Check out the 2nd installment of our #womenshistorymonth blog series (link in profile) to learn about some of the amazing #WomenOfGLIDE who keep this place runnin' and thrivin'! @glidesflegacy #mayaangelou @allendeisabel @oprahmagazine @sfchronicle @tenderloinmuseum GLIDE on the Move: A Sacramento Day of Action! Click the link in our profile to learn more about why GLIDE supports #SB54, "The California Values Act"! #nobannowall #sanctuary #nomassdeportations @feliciahorowitz @michaelfranti @msmichellearce @ninjagaiden78 @wholefoodssanfrancisco @zendesk @mglide @amygardner9 @glidesflegacy @bewhatspossible @tndcsf @codetenderloin @tenderloinmuseum @laurenbennettsmith The SF Board of Supervisors Rocks! GLIDE sends a special shout-out to the SF Board of Supervisors President, @londonbreed, and our District 6 Supervisor, @supejanekim, for their swift response to our call to help. When a water pressure problem threatened GLIDE's ability to serve the 2000 meals needed daily by our community, these stellar Supervisors got the problem fixed overnight! Much love and gratitude to the SF Board of Supervisors for being great partners in serving our communities! #localgov #publicservice

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