Going Back to School and Giving Back to the Community

“Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them.”

-Russell M. Nelson

Summer is winding down, and it’s back-to-school time. I hope your summer was filled with family and friends, time to relax, new adventures, and good health. I was blessed to have my eldest son home from college in Utah for the summer, and we enjoyed family trips to new places: Canada and Costa Rica. This time with family and friends was highly restorative.

Last week my children went back to school. My eldest son is back in Utah and my youngest son just had a successful first week of high school. And, I am ready for the school season.

After a restful break, we returned our focus to the spirit of giving to others. For our Wave of Change* campaign for August, we were Guest Chefs at The Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach, where we had the opportunity to cook and serve dinner for 30 individuals. We prepared chicken, vegetables, pasta, green been casserole, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for the thirty residents. During that experience, we also had the pleasure of meeting many of the residents and staff at The Friendship Shelter.

Founded in 1988, The Friendship Shelter’s vision is to end homelessness in south Orange County, one person at a time, by focusing on finding the most appropriate permanent housing solution for each individual who walks through their doors.  The Friendship Shelter provides year-round shelter and rehabilitation to homeless adults and a full complement of services to the most vulnerable homeless people in our community. Their programs follow the framework of three evidence-based practices: housing first, harm reduction, and recovery model. They have worked with more than 10,000 people to end their homelessness and are proud that each night more than 160 homeless, and formerly homeless, people sleep safe, warm, and cared for in one of their programs. At their location in Laguna Beach, most nights dinners are bought, cooked and served by volunteer guest chefs.