We moved to St. Louis nine years ago for my husband Jeff’s job and I was managing our lives with three children. Shortly after our move, I found out I had a malignant brain tumor. I feel like things happen for a reason: We’d just relocated to the home of Siteman Cancer Center, one of the top places in the world to care for my needs.
I wasn’t leaving the house much at the time, but we decided to go out to dinner one night. And once again, it felt like things happened for a reason. We ran into Mike Nardini – he and I grew up together and he is good friends with Jeff – and as we were trading stories to catch up on our lives, he told me about Good Shepherd.
Why did you choose to get involved?
Good Shepherd saved me more than I could ever help Good Shepherd. I joined the board not long after I received my diagnosis and it gave me purpose. I had something to look forward to, something to get me going, to put life back into me. Everything fell into place.
I was already knowledgeable about adoption. My sister-in-law adopted through Catholic Charities, and I was really touched by the Nardinis’ story. I toured the shelter and saw what they do for the moms and it really spoke to me. That’s why I’ve given my time, talent, and treasure for the past seven years.
What has kept you involved?
Many moms and babies in St. Louis are in crisis: They need help and they don’t know where to go. There are other organizations that do some of the things that Good Shepherd does, but I think our services are exceptional. The success rates we have speak for themselves. As I said, I’m particularly touched by the services we offer pregnant moms. I love how we help them discover their own strengths, build their confidence, give them tools to get their education and find a job. We show them they’re important to us.
I’m also so impressed with the success we have with placing children in adoptive and foster families, and I love that we make it affordable to adopt through our flexible fees.
Also, I’m Catholic, but I would have been a part of Good Shepherd no matter what. It enhances my faith to work with their team and see their examples of selfless service. It has also drawn me closer to my parish as I connected more deeply with Monsignor after asking him for a letter of recommendation. I’ve also done my part to share news about Good Shepherd’s mission with others at church.
What is something you would like for people to know about Good Shepherd?
One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” It tells me that with faith, you can do almost anything. Can you give your time to Good Shepherd? Yes, even if you don’t think you have much to give. Maybe it’s sharing your expertise in a phone call, maybe it’s helping volunteer by babysitting for the moms in the shelter,so they can have a night to focus on themselves and feel special. You may not think of yourself as a donor, but any amount is a blessing. Jeff and I always say we’d rather give it to Good Shepherd than the IRS!