What are we doing?

Posted by: JenniferJohnson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Celebrating the Wins, Fundraising, Our mission, Reflections

April
26

I’ve told you before that I often hear this question from people who have referred mothers to us: “What are you doing over there? She’s not even the same person.” It’s a difficult question to answer because it isn’t something WE are doing – it’s something SHE is doing. But what is it? How do we define it, quantify it, explain it?

We joke and say what we are doing at My Safe Harbor is embarrassingly NOT earthshaking – we’re mothering mothers. We didn’t create something new, we don’t have a patent on a unique process, we aren’t being revolutionary. And THAT, my dear friends, is why we are so difficult to fund. I wish I had a dollar for every time a funder has said, “What you’re doing is so important, but it just doesn’t fit our boxes. We already have so many in the queue that do and so we fund them.”

Here’s the problem: My Safe Harbor is not about creating a new program or building a new and improved widget or fitting boxes. We are creating a culture, an environment, a mindset. How do you quantify that and put it in a neat box? I can describe it, I can give you examples, I can bring you testimonies, but outcomes assessment – definable boxes – is proving very difficult in this endeavor.

I sat down and in about two minutes wrote down a list of words that try to capture what “happens” in Mother’s Clubs or Enrichment Electives or the Strong Families Institute. I stopped at 50 words. I didn’t try to prioritize them, just alphabetized them. Take a look:

Accomplishment 
Compassion 
Equip 
 
Joy 
 
Safe  
Accountability 
Confidence 
Expect 
 
Love 
 
Self-Awareness 
Aspiration 
Connection 
Faith 
 
Opportunity 
Self-Discipline 
Belonging 
Contentment 
Forgiveness 
Peace 
 
Self-Esteem 
Capable 
 
Conviction 
Fulfillment 
Perseverance 
Spiritual 
 
Capacity 
 
Courage 
 
Healthy 
 
Pride 
 
Strong Families 
Change 
 
Dignity 
 
Hope 
 
Purpose 
 
Transformation 
Character 
 
Dreams 
 
Inclusive 
 
Relationship 
Trust 
 
Commitment 
Empathy 
 
Inspiration 
Responsibility 
Vulnerability 
Community 
Empower 
 
Integrity 
 
Risk 
 
Whole 

At first glance there sure are a bunch of C words! But a closer look reveals every one of those words as an intangible or according to the dictionary: “difficult to define or describe clearly, but nonetheless perceived.” In our situation it is the accumulation of all those words – and more, I just stopped at 50 – that bring about the “perception” that something is happening at My Safe Harbor. Actually, it’s more than a perception, it’s a reality; a miraculous reality that is transforming lives.

Aha! It’s a God thing. It’s not what My Safe Harbor does, it’s not even what our mothers do, it’s what GOD does. And definable or not it is the most REAL thing anyone can imagine. Present funding schemes don’t know what to do with it, but He does…..and I’m constantly amazed at how HE funds it!

–Becky

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