Continuing to meet more people within the JOURNEYS community, I had the chance to talk with one of our Board Members, Lori. Lori talked about her history in the area, her work with JOURNEYS, and how her day job helps provide a unique perspective and approach to helping those in need in her community.
Take a look at what she had to say!
"I grew up in Buffalo Grove, and my husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to raise our three kids in this community and send our kids to the same high school we both attended.
We started working with PADS out of our church when our kids were in high school, and we did that as a family for about 10 years. It's really been an important part of our family to work within our community and do what we can to help members in our community that are facing homelessness or dealing with homelessness directly.
I'm an attorney by trade, and while my daily work isn’t really related to non-profit work, it does allow me to think analytically and critically about problem-solving and risk mitigation. I can use some of those day-job skills to have more systemic impact in my community than just volunteering.
In 2020 I was fortunate enough to participate in the United Way Board Leadership Institute. It was a great training program for people who want to serve on non-profit boards. Through that program I was connected with JOURNEYS. I don't know that I really, fully understood the breadth of JOURNEYS’ profile in the community before that since I was previously only working with PADS program.
Beth, JOURNEYS’ Executive Director, is such a dynamic leader and very much engaged in this community, has lived in this community forever like me. I really loved her leadership style, and I was thrilled to be able to use my opportunity to serve on JOURNEYS’ board to better support the homeless community and expand services, especially during COVID.
JOURNEYS has had programs that we've had in place for years that we've totally had to pivot from because of the pandemic, and I think that the staff has done an amazing job. The board has really just tried to support them along the way. So what we are trying to do - and I think the new building is evidence of this - is to evolve with the needs of the community.
JOURNEYS has done an excellent job of trying to partner with existing community organizations that are already supporting this population in different areas, connecting them with mental health services, job services, and housing services. The care teams that are interfacing with people one-on-one have also had to get creative. For example, there have been clients for whom the best thing is to get them connected with a family member, and their family might be out in California or somewhere across the country. A train ticket could be a resource to this individual to get them back on the right track. It’s important to think creatively about what the community needs are, and how we can pivot our programs to meet the needs that exist today.
As a community, I think we do a really good job of providing opportunities for supporting JOURNEYS in a number of different ways. Some people are involved day-to-day either working at the [HOPE] Center and working directly with clients, while others are delivering food, or doing some once-a-week or once-a-month support.
Our events are another fun way to support JOURNEYS. I was just at the self-defense class, and I took my two nieces who are both in college. Everyone had a really good time, and it was very rewarding to be involved. We have lots of other events, like the Casino Night and the Bid for HOPE Gala that's coming up in the fall, and even a golf outing. There are lots ways for the community to make a connection and it's really rewarding to be one-on-one with people that are in your community and making an impact where you live."
-Arranged by Roxanne Gentry, Marketing Associate
Our blog contains original writing on issues related to homelessness, community happenings, and unique agency stories.