Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why I Support Sheffield Place - Scott Mathews, Board Member

Why I Support Sheffield Place by Scott Mathews, Board Member

Why do I support Sheffield Place as a volunteer and board member? Simple answer…my family and I believe in the concept of “Do to Get”, which means one must perform the work to get the reward.  For me, that is the most appealing aspect of Sheffield Place.  It is a haven for homeless women and children. It is a welcoming, safe, steady, supportive environment with a wonderful and talented professional staff and dedicated volunteers trained to welcome homeless mothers and their children, assess their critical needs and then provide programs to counsel, educate, support, and develop such women to ultimately develop them to become productive members of society…equipped with new skills allowing them to navigate the real world, earn a living through stable work, make wise and informed decisions, and most importantly care for their families.

Here is what Sheffield Place is not.  It is not a handout.  It is not a free ride.  It is not a “gift”.  It does not promote a mindset evident in some social and charitable programs, well-intentioned but misguided, that throw money at an issue, providing short term relief perhaps but not addressing the core issues. The Sheffield Place path is not an easy path.  There are rules, chores, responsibilities and other commitments.  If a mother is willing to invest in herself, Sheffield Place provides the tools to help her get to a better place, but she must commit to the program.  She must “do to get”.  That is what I love about Sheffield Place.  Andrew Carnegie once said, “There is no use whatsoever trying to help people who do not help themselves.  You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself”.  This to me is the essence of Sheffield Place.

To see this model in action energizes me and gives me hope for the future.  I would urge anyone interested to attend the periodic ceremony where Sheffield Place recognizes the select group of women who have completed the residential program and stabilized their lives. These women typically speak for a few minutes about their life condition when they arrived at Sheffield Place, how the program helped them, and how their current situation has improved due to guidance from Sheffield Place.  The mothers all agree that the process is hard work.  But these short presentations always include key phrases such as gratitude, hope, fellowship, employment, stability, emotional control, and benefits to children...all positive and forward-looking comments.  It is the most powerful event I have ever attended and it humbles me and makes me proud at the same time.  A Canadian farmer named Nelson Henderson once said, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit”.  This is a fitting analogy to the mission and efforts of Sheffield Place and I am honored to be a small part of this process.

Scott Mathews

Sheffield Place Board Member