On Friday, I met a young woman, Ethel Canady, who reached out to me because she is a former foster child who lived here at Good Shepherd (back when we were Marian Hall). Ethel left Marian Hall (and foster care) back in 2000. At that time she was living in an efficiency apartment in the space currently occupied by our Family Center. She recently earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from UMSL and is doing some networking. We toured the facility, and while walking the halls of the old Maternity Building (which was formerly residential space for Marian Hall), Ethel saw the mural in the stairway and was moved to tears. She had helped paint that mural, along with a cousin and several other girls. Her name wasn’t on the mural, but she recognized the names that were. She said that Marian Hall helped form her as adult. Although her experiences were not all positive, she said that the staff at Marian Hall changed her life and put her on the path to where she is today (she is the first person in her family to graduate from high school or college). It’s now her goal to work with kids coming out the foster care system.
Naturally, I connected her with some of my colleagues in the field. I also asked her to consider the idea of serving on a Board committee in an advisory capacity. I’d love to have a former consumer join the Board.
It’s nice when we know for certain that the work we do makes a difference.