With appreciation for all the folks at Gray’s Bookstore who support and encourage the mission of Family Scholar House!
Chris Merrifield, Director of Operations for Gray’s College Bookstore, has both a vision for how community can be encouraged and why it matters so much that it is. He is also a faithful supporter of Family Scholar House. Walk into his university campus store and you’ll see on multiple surfaces FSH posters and photographs. And at the front entrance, a big barrel where college students finished with high-priced textbooks can donate them, either to be sold on the Internet (with partial profits benefitting FSH) or given directly to FSH student-parents who need them.
Accompany him across the street to a new store, just now opening, and you’ll find space that is dedicated to both unique retail and, perhaps more importantly, community. He’s envisioned a place where people want to be—where they have space to drink coffee or study or talk or write or dream or imagine or just simply belong. Chris knows that community matters, and that everyone needs a community to call their own.
And this is why he understands FSH so well, why he gets that at the heart of what happens to those who participate in FSH’s programs is a realization that they are not alone. That someone cares. That no matter where they’ve been or what they’ve been through, there are people willing to stand in the trenches with them, and help them find the tools they need to climb out.
The truth is not a one of us navigates this life without the guidance and direction and support of those who have gone before us, and those who surround us in our day-to-day living. For the single-parent students at Family Scholar House, men and women who have seen the worst life can mete out, this truth is known. For those of us who’ve been lucky, who’ve had everything we needed along the way, this truth is sometimes harder to learn.
And in between what is already known and what must be learned lies the very important work of Family Scholar House.
It takes whole communities to do the work of this place, men and women and children from all walks of life working together towards a common goal.
And the relationships that spring up along the way are testimony to a way of being we’d all be better off paying attention to.