“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matt. 25:40
After a pretty dreary spring, and when it appeared the sun may never shine again in the Emerald City, on the morning of June 6th, the sun decided to peak from behind the clouds and say hello. In the Seattle area, when you have had a gray, rainy, downright depressing and never ending cold and wet streak, when the sun comes out, it does more than just require sunglasses (hear, we wear sunglasses if the clouds are too bright!), no, it warms not only our earth, but brings a warmth to the people in this great community, that transcends us into a little friendlier city.
With the hope that the sun brings, there was a similar sense of optimism for the annual breakfast at the Matt Talbot Center. One of the center’s chief fundraising events, that bright, lightly warm morning brought ministers, business leaders, local sports celebs, volunteers, and the stars of the day…those that have had their lives transformed by the work being done off of Bell and 4th in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.
You see the Matt Talbot Center, described in an earlier post, is a place that brings hope to the hopeless, and life to those that may be flirting with death death. It is this hope that brought these people together in June. With guest speakers ranging from John Schneider, the GM of the Seahawks, to shout outs from our local Husky football stars (Keith Price, Desmond Trufant, and Josh Shirley), Coach Cameron Dollar of the resurgent Seattle University men’s basketball team, to the MC being none other than Mike Gastineau of the late afternoon sports show on KJR. This breakfast of champions was well on its way to generate the buzz and attention to the cause the event was aiming for.
Barry Horn, founder and board member of the Liberty Road Foundation, shared that the Matt Talbot Center was founded some 26 years ago with 3 guys and $2,000. There was a need in the city of Seattle that was not being met…a drop in, free rehab center for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Fast forward a quarter decade later and that $2,000 has become a $600,000 annual budget, a world class facility with apartment building, and countless lives touched and transformed. Led by Greg Alex, MTC reaches hundreds of people, male and female, annually through their cutting edge rehab programs of accountability, transformation, and healing. That initial “investment” of $2,000 when put in business terms, according to Horn, was an incredible return on the initial seed. The Matt Talbot Center and their leadership have been great stewards of that charity and have used it to make a significant impact in our great city.
Sure, it’s nice to see and visit with some of our local business leaders, well known ministers, and folks we watch on TV play our favorite sports, but I must be honest, the real Champions were two recent graduates from Matt Talbot’s program, Terrence and Angela. I had touched on Terrence’s story when he spoke at a recent luncheon for LRF, so wanted to take a moment to capture Angela’s remarkable story.
At age 11, Angela had has her first alcohol experience, and according to her story, became a full alcoholic by the age of 15. From age 15 and for the next 20 years, Angela became addicted to both heroin and cocaine, was in and out of relationships, living situations, and jail. A call to take care of her ailing grandmother brought her to Seattle, and the change of scenery didn’t initially have an impact on her behavior and addiction. Through a friend, however, she was introduced to the free, drop in program at the Matt Talbot Center, and rest as they say is history. Oh, I personally won’t attempt to understand how it feels to break the bondage of drug and alcohol addiction, but in Angela’s case, it was nothing short of miraculous.
Now clean and sober for almost 3 full years, Angela just completed her AA at Seattle Central CC and graduated with honors! She is now pursuing her BA and was recommended to continue on and get her Master degree!
Not only is this remarkable on its own, but she also was reunited with her estranged mother, who was there in the audience! It was emotional, fantastic, and nothing short of inspirational.
While the call was clear, to invest in MTC, recognize and be mindful of the past, while looking forward to many more years of investment in our community, and our most prized possession, our people, many gave money, volunteered to serve meals, donate food, and even participate in construction-related projects.
In the nonprofit sector, there is ALWAYS going to be a need. It is hard not to be emotionally attached to our “causes.” Sometimes we forget about other, fruit-bearing organizations that are working with segments of our society that are sometimes ignored and disregarded. It was great to be in a “network” on that bright Wednesday morning of a great cross section of our communities’ leaders: sports celebrities, business leaders, and ministers from all over the Puget Sound, all coming together for one cause, to raise money and awareness of the work, no, INVESTMENT, in our communities addicted.
Please join me in giving, volunteering, and supporting the Matt Talbot Center, for at least another 25 years and let’s see our investment continue to earn a great return.