Friday, May 27, 2016

I've had some traffic woes

This week I've gotten stuck in Houston traffic several times. Today I was idling next to a city bus and remembered a client many years ago who was searching for work, but didn't have a car. He had to take several different buses for his appointments and job interviews.

What I remember most is his description of riding the bus, day after day. He said there was despondency on the faces of some riders that affected his mood. Maybe it was the routes he took, but he described people who were glum and seemed weighted down with sadness. He shared this to explain how CCSC's JobNet program was an antidote for him: he would get off the bus, walk into our offices, and be greeted by upbeat staff and volunteers. He said they encouraged him to persist and kept him going on those days when he felt his hope waning.

He's long gone (because he found a job) but his comment on our environment has stayed with me.

We're in the process of developing a campus plan that will include a new building to better integrate and grow our services. Over the next year, a lot of attention will be given to office spacing, storage, work flow, and those kinds of matters. We have smart people who will come up with just the right plan.

Yet the aura of CCSC - the gracious, encouraging environment that sees the sacred in all people - will not change. It will just have more space to work and breathe in.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

We alleviated someone's burden

She is in her mid-twenties and attends a local university, paying for her education by working and receiving some financial aid. She just moved into a new apartment, closer to school, and within a few days, realized it was infested with bed bugs. The cost to eradicate the bugs - which the landlord opted out of helping financially - was left to the tenant.

So she paid for the extermination and then bagged up her clothing and soft goods to kill the bugs. The experience took an emotional toll on her - you could see it in her face. But it also took a financial toll because the cost of eliminating the bugs meant she couldn't pay the full amount of her rent that month.

As a Houstonian, I really don't want someone who is working hard to complete her education to become homeless. I want her to succeed and contribute to our future economy.

More importantly, I was deeply touched by how much this seemingly small incident (for those of us who can easily afford extermination services) put her on the brink, emotionally and financially. So I'm grateful she came to CCSC, where we could alleviate her burden. I hope she left our offices feeling a bit freer and able to focus on her upcoming finals.