“Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God. Make gentle your words,”
Dear Friends of Thea Bowman House,
What a beautiful image we are given in these words from Isaiah! Who among us would not be touched by a kind word in a world so often torn by harsh and divisive language? Who among us does not want to reach out and comfort those whose lives flash daily across our screens? Whether it is wildfires, endless storms and floods, families being separated or violence in all its forms, we are reminded that we are a people in need of healing and consolation.
The children and families that we see everyday are deeply affected by what has become the “new normal” in society. The gentlest of words are needed for the three brothers who await placement in foster care after they learn that their single father could no longer care for them.
Mere words fail when 10 year old Michael realizes that his mentally ill mother will likely die of drug addiction. He hasn’t seen her in months and clings ever so tightly to his grandmother. Perhaps Amelia, the cranky 2½ year old toddler, will be soothed by the familiar lyrics of her favorite naptime lullaby. Her exhausted mother has worked double shifts all week to make ends meet and has little time for bedtime rituals with her daughter. We must never forget to notice the most unlikely of gifts for they are without price.
Sam, one of a growing number of homeless patrons, finds a warm parka in just the right size at our food pantry and a bonus blanket and can opener as well. Sometimes that gift of encouragement comes in the high five of the volunteer tutor who finally breaks through to 12 year old Lisa as she solves an incredibly difficult math problem. It is celebrated again in the form of a cheer when Sara finally passes her swimming test at summer camp. It is the miracle that happens in the pre-k classrooms as children from all parts of our globe learn together to speak the language of love.
Thea Bowman House just turned 32 years old in October. Hundreds upon hundreds of children have now passed through our doors, each one of them with a unique story. You can meet “alumni” in almost every corner of our city. It is heartwarming to realize that these now grown “children” are bursting to share their memories, their accomplishments and even their wildest dreams. They have gone into careers as social workers, medical professionals, business people, and teachers. Some are janitors, truck drivers, clerks and cooks. Still others have dreams that have had to be put on hold. They are proud parents who want to share some of the adventures that were part of their time at Thea Bowman House with their children, whether it be the monthly birthday parties or that summer camp experience.
Our role model, Sister Thea Bowman, embodiment of unconditional love, spent her life comforting people. She was a champion of inclusiveness and diversity. One of her favorite quotes was “Go! You have a song that will never be sung unless you sing it…” In closing, we would like to thank each and every one of you, our benefactors, for helping so many of our “little ones” to share their song with a world in need of their gifts and talents. We would appreciate any contribution that you might make to our annual holiday appeal. We wish you “glad tidings of comfort and joy” in this beautiful season.
Gratefully, Jane Domingue