by Bethany Kurtz

The last weeks of November had us all stuck in a Covid quarantine. The days seemed to last for years and the nights even longer. But as I spent that time by myself I was able to reflect on the year at Lydia’s House, just as my time was coming to an end. Coming to Ohio was a huge decision for me. I spent most of life in NY and when I landed in West Norwood, it  was  a leap  of  faith.
It’s been one incredible year working here at Lydia’s House. When I began working here in November of 2019, little did I know only four months into my stay we would be in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. I was finally adjusting to my new life,  and then it all changed.

When I arrived at Lydia’s House I was welcomed by a community that clearly cared. My first day, as I sat at the table,  I knew it was a good fit. This first meal was somewhat of a blur as I was very overwhelmed. But what stood out the most was this: halfway through the meal one of the guests walked in. This mother moved to Cincinnati with her two children, a three-year-old and a five-year-old, hoping for a better life for her family. She was late because she had been working all day. We were introduced and our evening conversations continued. As the conversations progressed I soon realized not only did she work until 7:00 every day she was going to school to become a nurse, while also caring for two rambunctious children. I was so impressed. After dinner I sat on the couch with these two beautiful children reading them stories, and inwardly exclaiming over their mother.
This year has continued to reveal to me how incredible these women are.
During this year, Lydia’s house paid for me to attend a Doula training. As some of you may have read in the last newsletter I was awaiting my first chance to doula for one of our young mothers back in July, but I wasn’t able to be at the birth due to pandemic regulations. To have the knowledge to be able to sit down with this woman and make a birth plan from scratch was an awe-inspiring thing. Then just last month much to my surprise, I was able to be present, in the hospital as a doula, for one of our former guests. I was able to finally put into practice the things I had learned months before in class. Though I wasn’t there for the birth, the labor experience will be invaluable.
Looking back on this year I have had at Lydia’s House, I realize I have so much thankfulness to the staff and guests for welcoming me into this community with so much love. Thanks for dealing with my crazy extroverted self. Thank you for showing me what true advocacy looks like.
Lydia’s House is a special place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something meaningful to do with your life. I’ve just left to start pursuing my nursing education at Cincinnati State. Its been an incredible year. Thanks to ALL!