Faith Matters – Celebrating 25 Years of Service

Faith Matters – Celebrating 25 Years of Service

There are things to say. I celebrated 25 years at NHS in September, and I decided it was a great time to start a blog to say some of the things that we sometimes push to the side, and to celebrate by sharing daily accomplishments. Yes, every day we celebrate serving at least one more family and helping lift them out of poverty or improve their financial strength. We nudge them toward a better quality of life one step at a time. What a privilege.

As I think about 25 years of service, I know that equally important to me is that Faith Matters. For me, faith in God, faith in people, faith in those I serve with and most certainly, faith in humanity. It’s tough right now. How do we bridge the economic disparities we see? How do we bridge the lingering racial divide? How do we all get along and realize the things we have in common? These questions continue to rise up for me. Through it all though, I know that having faith truly matters. We must each have faith in the work and in the people we serve. If we lose that, nothing matters.

It has always been an honor to serve. I’m grateful for the years I’ve had at NHS, caring for others through helping to make sure they find decent, safe and affordable housing to live in. Home Matters. We’ve been saying those words about home, more specifically over the past two years, in a national campaign to focus more positively on what “home” means to each of us. Along with hundreds of other community developers, I’ve been able to listen to many compelling stories and thoughts around the word “home”…for health, education, public safety, life.

Twenty-five years ago NHS served four distinct neighborhoods in Los Angeles and has now grown to serve hundreds of neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County. As the company has grown, so has my life, and hopefully, impact. I was single, no kids, completely focused on getting the work done back then; studying at night in grad school and learning how to run a business. I was completely dependent on the help of neighborhood residents and the five staff who worked with me every day. We couldn’t have done it without each other. Today, I still feel the same interdependence, even though my life has changed, I’ve married a great guy and become Mom to great kids. My “school” is keeping up with the forceful dynamics of community change and market instability, the economics of community, high finance and real estate. Go figure.

So, how does this impact you? Don’t throw in the towel! You matter and what you do makes a difference. If you are a person who serves through a local nonprofit or helps to create community change by investing in the work of others…you matter. If you don’t fit that profile, that’s fine. You too can make a difference in someone’s life each day. How do you keep doing that? How do you make sure that you stay impassioned enough to keep inspiring those around you? Faith matters.

You must stay ahead of the problem. Please do not focus on the obstacles or hindrances. Don’t place your faith in the wrong thing or surround yourself with people who don’t get anything done. You are in charge. You matter too much to become side tracked, distracted or burdened with the work, the people or the problem. Change the circumstance. My assistant has the acronym FOCUS at her desk… Follow One Course Until Successful. That doesn’t mean don’t multi-task! It does mean to pursue success, accomplishment, getting it done. Finishing.

That’s probably what I celebrate most. I have had the privilege for 25 years to finish many things with the support of many great people. Every time we have the privilege of helping to create another homeowner…we finish. They begin…Exciting! So, how do we keep celebrating the people? How do we keep saying the tough things that push families toward a better quality of life? How do we help create sustainable communities?

These are some of the questions which will challenge me for another 25 years, I’m sure. We face challenges in our communities of economic disparity, the declining family, limited access to opportunity and a growing “lack of communal concern” at every level. We must push forward with faith. Faith matters.

I am committed to continue my resolve to believe in each of you. To believe in the best part of your strengths being the most present all the time. I hope and pray that you continue to be inspired to keep your “hat in the ring.” Dust yourself off. Get up and face another day. We’ve all got work to do to make sure that our communities, our families and all of our futures make a difference in the world. Thank you to those of you who celebrated 25 years with me at some portion of the journey. I’m grateful to walk along side you and commit toward more “faithful” steps of promise as we look ahead.

–Lori Gay

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