When you think about the institutions that you need to have to make a healthy neighborhood, you might think of the fire department or a police station. Maybe a park. Maybe a school, a grocery store, a bank, or a library. Maybe a restaurant or two.
I would suggest that nestled in your ideal little neighborhood is a Patchwork. A place that’s not quite like the rest and that’s doing something a little different than the others. A place where the pace can be slower, relationships can be built, and special requests can be honored.
Several weeks ago, I sat in the ER with one of our regulars. She’d asked for a ride there and John was not available. She asked me to stay with her, so I did. We were there for several hours, and at the end she thanked me for being there. I told her I was there because I care and because that’s the kind of neighborhood I want to be part of–one where neighbors care about each other and help each other out.
Most of why I do what I do at Patchwork is because this is the kind of neighborhood I want to be part of. It’s a place where people meet each other. It’s a place where there is time to build relationships between diverse people. It’s a place to help people understand one another.
Sometimes it’s the littlest of things.
A few weeks ago, one of our regulars stopped by to say hello. She has a small apartment nearby and she loves it although it is not fancy. Previously, she spent years being homeless and she visited Patchwork often during that time. Since getting her apartment, she looks good. She’s healthier and happier, and things seem to be all right.
But during her most recent visit to Patchwork, she said she was worried. She heard rumors that her apartment complex will be renovated and she’ll have to move out while the work is done. It scared her to think of being homeless again.
Shawn called the woman’s caseworker at Aurora to get more information. In short, if anything happens to the woman’s current housing, Aurora will be there to make sure the woman does not become homeless again.
The woman was grateful to Shawn for checking into the problem for her. Then she asked, would Shawn type up everything that she had just said and print it out.
The fear of losing her home had been weighing very heavily on the woman. She wanted a piece of paper with Shawn’s reassuring words on it so that every time doubt began to creep into her mind, she could take the paper out and read it and remind herself that everything would be OK.
So Shawn did just that, and the woman left feeling much better.
Our neighborhood is a stronger, better place because Patchwork is here doing what we can do to help people work together to make this the kind of place where we all want to live.