Room at the Inn

Room at the Inn

Interview With Mother's Refuge

“They just want someone to listen, love them and be there for them. It’s something most of them have never had.”

“She softly said, ‘I now have no home again.’ Those six little words, ‘I now have no home again,’ will forever echo in my mind.” 

Those are the words of Mother’s Refuge executive director Robert Zornes, describing his memory of the fire that destroyed their community home the night of Oct. 8, 2012. 

Mother’s Refuge is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving young, single pregnant women a loving and supportive home. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mandy Taylor, the nonprofit’s volunteer coordinator, and what struck me most about her description of their organization is how everyone becomes “family.” 

 

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Time for Time Management

Time for Time Management

How Brilliant People Plan: Five Efficiency Secrets

Walk into a room full of chaos, and ask the question: if nothing else gets done today, what has to happen?

I have never been a volunteer manager, but I love to talk shop with them because we understand one another’s worlds.

Their job, like mine as a Project Manager, is to be the ultimate mom. Part liaison, part strategy, more than a little administration and lots of list making. You are almost always on call, constantly interrupted and usually spinning a dozen plates at one time. At best, these roles are challenging and exciting. At worst, they are harried and harrowing.

Here's 5 coping secrets from the experts: the Project Manager, Writer, Systems Geek, Coffee Shop Manager, and the Mom. 

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Reinventing Volunteering

Reinventing Volunteering

People are reinventing how they volunteer, nonprofits need to follow suit.

"I’m so disappointed with the way the world has become,” my grandfather told me. “I don’t know what happened to the values of my generation.”

Do people even care or help anymore? I’ve asked myself this several times since that talk and a more jaded part of me agrees with him. Nowadays, I think a young boy would probably be less inclined to help an old lady cross a street than when my grandpa was young.

Why has helping others changed? Or should the question be — how has helping others changed?

 

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How to Get Bitter

How to Get Bitter

Give what you can with joy. When you get bitter, it’s time to stop.

She was telling me how much she loved her cause, how needed it was, how much she believed in it and above all, how utterly and totally exhausted she was.

As she admitted her exhaustion, her eyes filled with tears of frustration and shame. I nodded my head in the solidarity of understanding. 

The woman in question ran a local nonprofit. I met her at One Million Cups KC a couple of months back. To my embarrassment, I don’t remember her name or the organization, but I remember our conversation vividly. It was so familiar.

 

 

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Snacking on Bugs

Snacking on Bugs

How Ryan Became a Lion

 “Spider!” screamed Ryan.

A man terrified of spiders is entertaining enough, but the fact that said man was a 6-foot-5-inch blonde giant only amplified the hilarity. Ryan Childress and I were 15 at the time, had known each other for years and were practically family, which became official two years later when his sister married my brother. Ironically, we sealed our fate as a family when I caught the bouquet and he caught the garter.

As Ryan bounded to the other side of the kitchen, terrified of the tiny insect, I doubled over laughing. It was so typical of the goofy and often whiny Ryan. Preppy, middle class, white kid who refused to wear anything but American Eagle clothes.

If you had told me then that eight years later that same gentle giant would be spending his days driving around on tuk-tuksworking to rescue young men from the Cambodia sex slave trade while eating bugs as a daily snack, I would’ve said you were crazy.

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