Can you be the catalyst for change?

May 1, 2015

Red wooden door with the word 'welcome' painted in white on a separate wooden board

I was reminded twice last week that a simple act of kindness can change a life forever. Bi-annually our Board of Trustees meet together in a residential setting to discuss key areas of governance. We always try and hold it near to a Langley House Trust project and last week the Board and Executive Team visited the Bedford project. It was great that we had the opportunity to meet with the staff, volunteers and residents there. During the visit a resident (I will call him Jim) shared his story. Jim had been long-term street homeless and he had a significant drink problem. He had been living in a tent in the Bedford area. His drinking no doubt helped to blot out the pain and discomfort of the situation he faced. One day he received a visit from his Probation Officer. She saw that all Jim had was a few items of dirty clothing. She, in an act of kindness, asked him whether she could wash his clothes for him. Jim said this gesture took him by surprise – he didn’t believe anyone cared this much for his wellbeing. He said at that moment something changed within him and from that day he vowed to deal with his drinking and the other issues he faced. He did and soon after he made that commitment he moved in with Langley. He now has a flat, is alcohol free and is taking a full positive part within the life of his local community.

Tekoa House, Rochdale, homeless hostel - white and blue painted building with hanging baskets

Tekoa House, Rochdale

That same weekend another resident shared with me how he too had been living homeless in an abandoned building. A policeman found him there, whereupon he expected to be arrested for trespassing. Instead, the policeman referred him to Tekoa House, one of our projects in Rochdale. His life turned around and he is now co-opted to our Board! This reminds me of how a small act of kindness can change a life forever. All humans have basic needs which include the need to be accepted and to belong. At Langley we daily see the value of treating humans with respect, going the extra mile for residents, ensuring we generate in individuals a sense of belonging and encouraging them to contribute to something bigger than themselves. We daily see the benefit of this approach on the lives of our residents. I am personally challenged on being more aware of the needs of people around me and not to live in my own bubble. I want to be a positive catalyst in other peoples lives. This week’s blog is from Tracy Wild, CEO, Langley House Trust, 1st May 2015. Back to current blogs