3 minute read

Smiles Make a Difference at Harbor House

Photo credit to Dale Kreebs

Smiles Make a Difference at Harbor House As told by Charlie Moon, Development

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 kids walked in with the former client of Harbor House. All the kids were clean, smiling and polite. They had on cute clothes, cute shoes and they were just dripping with cute! This visit to Harbor House was very different than the first time they visited. Then: worried, anxious, homeless, battered and scared. Now: Employed. Independent. Recently moved into a house. And she smiled. The mom told me, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

I introduced myself and told the mom I was the auctioneer at Cruise Night. Her nine year-old daughter helped raise money when we sold pictures at the end of the live auction.

I asked the mom what she would like the people who donated money to know. Her answer was quick and decisive. “I want them to know their money helps people like me have a better life. The people at Harbor House changed my life.”

When I asked, “How did the people at Harbor House change your life?” again with no delay in answering she stated, “they gave me the support I needed to change.” And then she smiled. As she looked around the room where six little kids were playing she said “I’m always busy, there’s always something to do. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being the mom to all these babies.”

“I want them to know their money helps people like me have a better life. The people at Harbor House changed my life.”

And then she smiled. The mother is young, has six kids, a full-time second-shift job and a house to take care of---and she’s happy. “I can’t remember a time when I’ve been this happy.”

As we visited she told me that the abuse had started about six years ago. There finally came a time when she decided to get some help. She struggled to find the words to explain the difference the staff at Harbor House made in her life.

She apologized for the tears and said again, “they gave me the support I needed”. And then she smiled.

When the mom told the kids they were going to see their favorite person in the world, the three year-old said “Jessica”? And when Jessica, the staff member (that the adults meet with at Harbor House) walked in the room the conversations and the drawing and the game-playing came to an end. The children lined up to hug Jessica and the others that came to say their hellos.

It’s always good to see success stories. This is a success story. And the staff members smiled.

Toward the end of our conversation I asked my nine year-old helper what she likes about summer. Very seriously she replied “reading and swimming”. This summer she is reading Dr. Seuss books. When she grows up she would like to be a reading teacher. And then she smiled.

How does a mom with six kids under the age of nine hold down a full-time job working second shift? “My brother, and two of my friends watch the kids while I work.” Curious I asked if she had that support system before Harbor House. “No the people at Harbor House helped me figure that out”. And then she smiled.

Yes, as a benefit auctioneer, I entertain the crowd, have fun, raise money and hope what I do makes a difference. When I see and experience the difference the staff at Harbor House makes in the lives of those less fortunate I know the money we raise makes a difference. And then I smile.

Let’s keep Wichita smiling and help people have a better life.

Please make a financial contribution to Catholic Charities at CatholicCharitiesWichita.org. You will make a difference in their lives. And then you’ll smile.