Written by: Tim Brown, Community Relations Coordinator
EECM's Safe Haven provides permanent supportive housing for homeless, mentally ill men and we are always looking for opportunities to celebrate life, fellowship and friendship. This is one of those opportunities.
Kurt* had been homeless for almost two years before moving into Safe Haven in 2011. In addition to his recent struggles with homelessness, he had also become blind in this recent portion of his life although he had normal vision for most of his adulthood. When he moved into the EECM's Safe Haven program last year, he often expressed his discouragement to celebrate during holidays. He felt that holidays were meant for celebrating with family and Kurt no longer stayed in contact with his family because he grew up in a hostile and abusive environment.
When the time came for Kurt's 45th birthday, Safe Haven took the opportunity to celebrate him. The staff and residents of Safe Haven invited Kurt to a celebration with cake and ice cream. They decorated balloons with puffy paint so he would be able to feel the pictures and notes that people had written for him. Kurt was joyful and talkative at the event.
Kurt explained, "This is the best birthday I have ever had. I have never had a birthday cake before in my life!" He excitedly thanked each person in the room for coming. Although holidays can be difficult times, he now has a new home and a new 'family' to celebrate with him.
Something that most of us would take for granted, like a birthday cake, brightened the day of Kurt as he shared his celebration and his cake with his new friends at Safe Haven. Everyone always says it is the little things that matter, but when it gets right down to it, it truly is the people in our lives that matter the most.
*Kurt's name was changed for this story.