Welcome to the CATALYST, a Courage & Renewal newsletter for you, our supporters, with true stories of how your gifts make a difference. Read this newsletter in PDF format. Also read the previous issue.
Kate Sheppard arrived on the scene of a fatal car crash. Following the trauma of such a harrowing and tragic event, Kate was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, she ended up out of work for four months.
Doing her best to recover and move on, Kate returned to work but soon faced debilitating clinical depression. “Really my life came to a halt in many ways,” she recalls. During that incredibly difficult time Kate also went through a divorce, an experience that doctors agree is one of the most traumatic life events that anyone can ever face.
When asked what need in her life brought Kate to the Center for Courage & Renewal—and specifically the Young Leaders & Activists retreat—Kate’s response was immediate and decisive. “My need was to somehow express thanks to my friend Gigi who had been a rock of support during the most intense months of PTSD. Gigi introduced me to Parker Palmer’s work when she gave me his book, A Hidden Wholeness. So I thought one of the best ways I could possibly thank her is to somehow connect her with her hero.”
“I emailed a bunch of people on the Center’s website and told a little bit about my story. Many people got back to me including Rick Jackson. He and I ended up connecting by phone and subsequently becoming friends.
“As a part of our original conversation Rick was helping me connect my friend to an opportunity to meet Parker. Then he said to me…“Would you be interested in a chance to do a retreat with Parker? Something like the Courage to Lead for Young Leaders program?
“I couldn’t have received a better gift at that moment because I certainly wasn’t reaching out thinking it was going to be about my journey with the Center.”
What a wonderful result of your gift! Thanks to your support, Kate had the opportunity to attend a Courage to Lead for Young Leaders program. She goes on, “When you attend a retreat like that, it’s a process of renewal, of getting back into yourself.”
Kate works for the YMCA in staff and leadership development. When leading one session, she used her experience from the Center for Courage & Renewal to help relieve the trauma everyone was feeling in the wake of a mass shooting. “I was working with a group of leaders, and the pain in the room was really palpable.”
Your support for the Center for Courage & Renewal meant Kate was able to push pause on the agenda, give people time to process what had happened . . . and just breathe. Leaders emerged stronger, although some with tears in their eyes, saying, “Thank you. Thank you for holding that space for my feelings.”
Your gifts are amazingly effective! Not only do you reach into the hearts and lives of leaders who need critical life-changing support, but when you help them, you help every person they touch. That’s remarkable, and your support is incredibly powerful. Thank you again.