Dear Friends of Saint John's:
"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. It is the door through which I arrived at Saint John's, and the door through which I am leaving Saint John's as its CEO.
It was not in my plan to leave Saint John's. Alas, God has a different plan. I very much look forward to working with the Saint John's board/team to continue to support our vision of model replication, including the development of new public and private partnerships...albeit from our new home in Lucas, Texas.
You might be aware that I had served as vice president of Public Affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce prior to coming to Saint John's. It was a job I loved and I had no plans to leave it. God, however, had a different plan.
In January 2007, in my first few weeks operating the 30-day emergency shelter, I encountered the following issues: bounced employee payroll checks, a call from a food supplier saying he would not deliver due to lack of payment, AT&T turning off our phones for the same reason and a personnel issue that would have made your head spin. Our 2007 annual budget had not been completed. Our 2004 audit was still underway, indicating that our 2005 audit had not even begun.
Also during this time, a woman named Shelly entered the shelter with her two boys. A couple of days later, her sister, Katie, entered with her daughter, Tory. As if this weren't startling enough, I also learned that Katie and Shelly had lived at the shelter as young children with their mom 18 years earlier. The generational aspect of what we were facing was striking... and it was the tipping point for the significant change that has occurred since.
Over the past twelve years, we have been building Saint John's Program for Real Change into a program that breaks the generational cycle of homelessness by supporting mothers in overcoming barriers such as addiction, violent relationships, criminal behavior, lack of employment, and lack of self-worth. We teach them to be positive parental role models for their families, how to gain and maintain employment and most importantly, how to become the people they were intended to be. I use the word "building" intentionally. Saint John's is about change. Programmatically, we evolve every day to ensure Saint John's is also becoming the best it can be.
It has been one of my life's greatest blessings to serve at Saint John's and as its CEO. Thank you for your incredible financial, volunteer, moral and inspirational support over the years. None of our growth and success would have been possible without you. Please know that your continued support is crucial as this transition unfolds and as we embark upon even bolder adventures.