By Family & Maternal Health Fellow, Savannah Staten
In reflecting on my time at Lydia’s House, I thought of a piece Meridith wrote in our previous newsletter. She ends her ponderings with “Only prolonged proximity provides the space for relationships to emerge.”. I couldn’t think of a better way to describe how Lydia’s House has changed me. Moving eight hours away from home, knowing no one in Cincinnati, required me to grow in relationships with others, myself, and my spiritual and wellness practices. However, it was not an overnight change.
My elementary, middle, high school and university are all located off one road within 16 miles, so moving to another state was not a simple decision for me. With any change of environment, I needed to adapt or I would fail. Of course, Lydia’s House community events like the Thanksgiving Giveaway and Breakfast with Santa served as a point for me to grow in my relationship with guests. However, the time I spent talking to guests outside of large events helped me settle into my role at Lydia’s House. Dinners, celebrations, and meetings fed my relationships with others. As needs presented themselves and my time researching resources in Cincinnati increased, so did my confidence.
As my confidence in relationships with others grew, my independence and reliance on myself grew too. It took courage to decide to move far away and follow my passions, but it took an even greater effort to show up every day willing to give it my all. On the day of the Lydia’s House Once Upon a Child free shop, I felt my hard work pay off. Being able to organize and plan for the event with confidence felt great! However, I felt like I had grown most as a community member and advocate when I was able to talk with each woman that attended about the importance of the day as they thought about the need for fall and winter clothing.
Thank you to all our volunteers for the kindness and positivity you’ve shared with me. Thank you to Ebony and Macey for being wonderful peers in this experience. Thank you to Meridith and Mary Ellen for believing in my abilities and potential. Thank you most of all to the guests for accepting me into this community. The times of joy we’ve shared hold a special place in my heart.