December 2017 Guild Matters: You Make an Impact Every Day
Notes on The Ladder of Hope from Our Executive Director, Julie Bluhm
It was so exciting to participate in my very first Ladder of Hope events this fall! Sixteen people, served by Guild, contributed to the events by telling their stories this year.
I was so moved by each of them and am overwhelmed by their courage. It’s incredibly difficult to tell the stories of one’s worst times, but to do it in front of a crowd of over 600 people is quite another feat.
Our featured speakers, Nico and Ken, shared their stories of struggle and triumph through their life journeys, marked by experiences with mental illness, trauma and chemical dependency. Guild had the privilege of being part of their stories, through the staff members who helped to facilitate their recovery.
Nico’s ongoing struggle with anxiety, depression, and addiction often left him homeless. “It was a crummy hotel at best – a park bench at worst,” he recalls. With help from Guild, today he celebrates one and a half years in his apartment and two years of sobriety. Read Nico’s story.
Ken began experiencing symptoms of mental illness in his early teens. By the time he reached adulthood, the untreated symptoms were worse, and Ken was afraid to leave his apartment. With Guild’s help, today he says, “I work. I socialize. I go to the grocery store. I can drive on the highway. I couldn’t do any of that before.” Watch Ken’s story.
Between the two events, 1,123 guests, met Nico, Ken, Jack, and other individuals we serve. It was incredible to see so many dedicated supporters in one room. We are so grateful for you, Guild’s extended family: those who have consistently supported our mission over the years and those who attended the Ladder of Hope event for the first time. The work that we do at Guild can be hard; the energy we received from you at the events fuels us throughout the year.
The world is full of complicated problems, and we’re all surrounded by seemingly insatiable need. It’s so hard to want to make an impact, but not know how to help. With your support, Guild staff work hard to find solutions that impact and improve life every day for individuals, families and communities – all of us.
Our sincere thanks to:
- Nico, Ken, Jen, Tina, Gayle, Dan, Nellie & Charlie, Jack, Brenda, Dianna, Jajaime, Larry, Scott, and Barb for so generously sharing their stories and to Jack for writing and sharing his poem, “Everyday Life.”
- The Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation, the Otto Bremer Trust, and one anonymous donor for inspiring others to give by providing $110,000 in matching funds. Between the two events, we received all of the matching funds!
- Bituminous Roadways, Inc. for being our Presenting Sponsor, and Anchor Bank, Maguire Agency, and Nasseff Mechanical Contractors for being our Title Sponsors. Their support, combined with other contributions, allows the gifts we received to go directly to our mission. Learn more about our Presenting and Title Sponsors and why they support us.
- Our Supporting Sponsors: 3M, Bolander, CBL Floors, City of St. Paul, Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, Credible, Dean Schiffler & Diane Strand with Guaranteed Rate Affinity, Garrity, Tegeler, and Varley Wealth Strategies, LLP; Genoa, A QoL Healthcare Company; HealthPartners, Hometown Tire and Service, Lakeview Bank, Leadership Transitions, Medica Foundation, Mutual of America, Qualitech, Sam’s Club, Science Museum of Minnesota, Universal Cleaning Service, Valley Staffing, Inc.; Wilkerson Guthmann CPAs and Business Consultants, Wipfli, LLP CPAs and Consultants
- The many staff and the 37 volunteers, including photographers Peter Koeleman and Lisa Christianson and pianist Bob Jones.
December 13, 2017