Meet Board Member Maureen Rogers.
Years on Board: 15+
How I started
I’m not exactly sure how long I’ve been on the Board, but it has to be approaching (gulp!) twenty years. I do know that I first learned about St. Francis House from a friend who was both a regular volunteer and a Board member, and he got me involved with the Board. From the first time I stepped through that front door on Boylston Street, I was struck by the spirit of the place.
You might think that a homeless shelter would be a pretty depressing environment, but what you notice right away is that our guests are treated with genuine warmth, caring and respect, and that’s pretty much reflected back.
Over the years, I’ve done occasional volunteer work – working in the kitchen, speaking about St. Francis House at churches. And one year, I ran a writing workshop, which was tremendously gratifying and illuminating. Everyone who comes here has a story to tell.
It’s that none of us are more than one degree of separation from looking to St. Francis House for help. It truly is a case of “there but for fortune…”
One of the folks I met through the workshop is a very talented artist. (I have two of his original works hanging in my home.) He’s also a man who has, over the years, struggled with mental illness and homelessness. One day, he overhead me talking with a volunteer who was a student at Emmanuel College, my alma mater. He told me that his sister-in-law and her mother were both Emmanuel grads. So I took a shot and asked for their names. His sister-in-law was not only in my college class, she and I were friends from high school. We’d lost touch, but back in the day, we’d been close and I knew her family – including her Emmanuel alumna mother.
So this is what I tell people when they ask “why St. Francis House?” Yes, we do a remarkable job helping the poor and homeless with both their basic needs and with rebuilding their lives, but it’s more than an abstract notion. It’s not about helping some “other” out there, some “them.”
– Maureen Rogers