“He told him the greatest truths, which are the simplest. He was father, brother, friend to him-and a bishop only for blessings. He taught him everything by encouraging and consoling him. The man would have died in despair….he was constantly looking beyond this world and seeing nothing but darkness; the bishop showed him light.” — Victor Hugo in Les Miserables
Messages of peace and goodwill resound at this time of year, as each of us reflects on and gives attention toward the message at home, amongst our neighbors and around the world. Along with peace and goodwill, I believe offering hope to people in times of need is essential for life. Without hope, we are lost.
In our world today, the reality is that for many people, the concepts of peace and hope seem out of reach. The nightly news fills our mind with never ending stories of mindless, unconscionable acts of brutality. In our own backyard, the hidden (and not so hidden) stories of those living on the outer boundaries of society continue to grow. The amount of suffering and loss is staggering. It is tempting to want to either ignore these individual lives, or to react in fear because they pose a threat to the rest of us.
Those of us who are blessed to have hope and peace in our lives might ask what we can do for those who have little to no hope left. The answers are rarely obvious, or easy. Whether escaping a war torn homeland, or escaping domestic violence in Central Oregon, hope and peace can seem a long way off.
The answer to what each of us can do to help restore hope and peace in the lives of others may be different for each of us, but I believe the solutions, are part spiritual and part physical.
It is my belief that substance abuse isn’t the problem. It is the result of a problem. Just as there are different views on how to approach wealth, there are different opinions on how to transform the lives of people suffering from addiction and abuse. I’ve always believed that to create true wealth we have to focus on the long-term versus the short term. If we want to change lives, we have to invest in them for the long-term.
My own journey to find a way to bring hope and peace to those who do not have it led me to The Shepherd’s House. The Shepherd’s House not only addresses emergency shelter issues, but provides long-term, transformational assistance to those who truly have no place else to turn. They have created a home-like atmosphere where men who have burned every bridge behind them, can find a path forward in a place where they can experience acceptance and be part of a family. With Shepherd’s House, I’ve witnessed the lives of those who are hurting be transformed by the support of those willing to walk along the journey beside them. With the sacrifice of our time, our finances and prayers, we can make a difference.
Now The Shepherd’s House will be offering the same long term, transformational services to homeless women and their children. This has been a long neglected area of need in our community. This is where my passion lies, to help bring hope and peace to a women and children with nowhere else to turn.
Similar to the men’s program, the women’s program has launched its first phase which includes a home for up to eight (8) women. The next phase includes the development and construction of the expanded facility to serve as many as 40 women and their children.
In order to accomplish this project, there are needs including an increase in staff and fundraising capacity to ensure resources to achieve and sustain the efforts to address this critical need are met.
Our vision is to create a new residential care program addressing the life controlling issues leading to homelessness for women and their children.
The Shepherd’s House “No Place Like Home” Campaign in support of this mission has just begun. I welcome you to join me, and many others in the community to help transform the lives of people in need. For more information, visit: http://myshepherdshouse.org/tshgive/
I think most of us believed in miracles when we were children and then stopped when the perceived reality of the world took over. There is no greater miracle than a transformed life. If you would like to believe in miracles again, stop by The Shepherd’s House and get involved. This is how we change the world.
Steve Toomey, CCIM is co-founder and a partner broker with Compass Commercial Real Estate Services.