On July 1, 2015 I began my tenure as President of A Woman’s Place (AWP) Board of Directors. July 1, 2015 was also the day my dad died. A tremendous loss and also a time to reflect on the man he was and the legacy he left behind.
My dad was a husband for 56 years, a father to 9 children, and a Pop-Pop to 28 grandkids. He was also an Army veteran, a coach, and a friend. My dad’s most distinguishable trait was his sense of humor. He could make anyone laugh and was famous for his duck jokes… “a duck walked into a bar” kind of thing.
At the funeral service my brother eulogized my dad. He described my dad’s use of humor as my dad’s way of teaching us humility, to never take ourselves too seriously and forget where we came from. This observation from my brother was an epiphany of sorts for me and gave me a new appreciation for my dad. I can look at the how involved my brothers and sisters are with their families and community and see the truth in my brother’s words and also see my dad’s legacy being carried on through his children.
My involvement with AWP began in 2011. I became a volunteer and was able to use my professional experience to help AWP with an administrative need. I was highly motivated to help. Like many people in our community someone close to me had utilized the services of AWP and the experience changed her life.
As I got to know more about AWP it was apparent that although many good services were offered to the victims of domestic violence there was still so much more we as a community could do to help. Services like legal aid, transitional housing, job training and job placement should be community priorities to help the victims of domestic violence. Doesn’t everyone deserve a safe home and the dignity of a job to support her family?
AWP has always been good at understanding the ‘what’ of supporting victims of domestic violence. It is the ‘how’ of supporting these victims that poses a constant challenge. The State Budget debate threatens support for existing AWP programs. As a community we should do our part (i.e., reach out to our state representatives) to ensure critical funding is not cut for AWP programs.
Bucks County is a generous and talented community. I would encourage all of us to contribute what we can either financially or through volunteering of time to help this worthy organization. Remember AWP clients, victims of domestic violence are the mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, or friends of people you more than likely know in the community.
Did you ever have a song play over and over in your head and no matter what you tried the song just kept playing? That happened to me driving home from the hospice the night my dad died. It was a popular church hymn “Peace I Leave With You My Friend.” The song stuck with me for days and I clung to the lyrics of the song to help me through my grief over my dad’s passing. There is a line in the verse of this song that says, “I Give To You So You Can Give To Others Too.” I have been fortunate enough to have PEACE in my life and I sincerely hope that my contributions to AWP help its clients and their children find PEACE in their lives.
President, AWP Board of Directors