Even if there weren’t school supplies stashed away in office corners, donated backpacks lined up smartly along office walls or FSH program participants filling the computer lab stations much more frequently, you’d still know that fall and a new academic year have descended upon Family Scholar House.
It’s just in the air–the same way leaves turning from green to gold and russet have a sort of familiar and promising scent to them. Interns have arrived in full force. The phone rings even more than it usually does, and the traffic through offices and around both the Louisville and Downtown SH campuses is heavier. Plans are underway for for the annual Luncheon, for Halloween, for Thanksgiving, for the holidays of all sorts…. Never mind a new residential facility on its way to completion!
It isn’t uncommon to feel as if you’ve landed on a speeding train, unable to slow down or hop off long enough to catch your breath and make sure you’re headed in the right direction. There is just a whole lot happening around here these days, and while we celebrate and give thanks for every bit of it–because it all points to good things for both our families and our community–it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed.
And, then, just when you’re in the middle of something really important–maybe data you’ve been struggling to find the time to enter and organize, maybe a grant you’re writing a first draft of, maybe an email you’ve been searching for time all day to send and, finally, you have it–it is, inevitably, then, that the phone will ring again. And you’ll reach for it with a sigh….
“Hello,” a woman’s soft voice says, “is this Family Scholar House?”
“Yes,” you say, “yes it is–how can I help you?”
There’s silence on the other end, and you can hear the unmistakable sound of a very frightened human being trying to fight back tears so that she can answer your question.
“I don’t know what to do. My kids, they’re sick; the power, it’s been shut off; I can’t get any more groceries this week and I’ve got no one to help. I’m scared. And someone said I should call you.”
And then we remember (as if we could ever really forget….)–then we remember why it is we do this work–why the long hours, the hectic days, the full email inboxes and the constantly flashing voicemail indicator lights. Then we remember why this work matters, why we’re fortunate to get to do it at all, why being part of this place means being part of making a difference.
We do it for her. And for her children. And for every other parent and child like them who has wondered too long and too hard how they’ll ever find a way forward from the difficult, scary and seemingly impossible place they’ve landed in.
We do it for all of us–for everyone in our community–because, as one of our staff often says, “It could just as easily be me making that phone call.”
We don’t ever really forget–sometimes, though, we remember with greater clarity, with renewed energy, with confidence and with hope.
And then we carry on.