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Spring 2009 Letter

Dear friend:

At Miriam’s House, we often say that we are a learning organization.  What we mean by this is that we strive to live our values (Compassion, Excellence, Integrity and Recovery) by constantly seeking areas and ways that we can grow, change, and improve.

In this letter, I want to tell you about two current issues and how we are responding to them.

Of course the most important work of Miriam’s House is our service to and presence with the wonderful women who live here: the residents of Miriam’s House.  And this is a situation in constant flux, not only because residents come and go, but because we hold a high value to being with each according to her individuality and unique needs.

We recently welcomed into our home a woman I will call Sasha.  Sasha has a tremendous smile and an engaging way.  We would like to spend time with this smiling, engaging person, getting to know her as we serve her – this, after all, is the heart of how we strive to live our values here at Miriam’s House.

Yet, typical of our 13 years of experience, we are finding that it’s just not that simple.

For one thing, Sasha is far less physically capable than we understood during her intake process and she has a high fall risk.  This in and of itself is not a big problem for us – we are here to serve particularly women like Sasha.  Yet we carefully assess our staffing and our ability to provide for all the residents in this house, and so admitting a woman with great needs when we thought we were admitting a woman who is relatively independent requires an adjustment.

We are re-thinking her transportation needs; how much assistance she needs with the activities of daily living; how often staff should be checking on her to make sure she has not fallen without pressing her emergency call button. 

Shasha is wonderfully independent – such a strong woman, who insists she does not need our help.  Certainly, for most of her life, she has taken care of herself.  Her experience has been that she has not needed support and can manage on her own, thank you very much.

We respect her independence and experience, yet must balance our mandate to protect her health and safety with that respect.  As we engage in the learning process with Sasha, we are struggling for that balance.

We must be true to our core values and the high level of competent, loving care that is our standard practice and which we have developed over these years: we must be true to the ultimate spirit and heart of our mission to provide individualized care that meets each woman where she is.

In the area of creative tension between those poles, we continue our loving work.

In the meanwhile, we have a non-profit to run.  And that leads us to the next issue – we are concerned about the environment and about mounting costs for paper and postage.  Therefore, we have signed on to Constant Contact so that we can begin providing appeals, newsletters and announcements with lower impact on the environment and on our bottom line.

We have enclosed a small card with this letter.  Please use this card as a reminder:

If you want to begin receiving our appeals, newsletters and announcements electronically, please follow the directions on the card.

We will not inundate you with messages.  You will receive four appeals and three or four newsletters per year.  Add to that a few announcements about our annual event, and you have fewer than 12 emails from Miriam’s House annually.

You will be helping the environment: fewer trees killed for paper and envelopes, less gas used for delivery to your mailbox. 

You will be helping Miriam’s House: fewer dollars spent on letterhead, envelopes, stamps and printing services.

If you do not sign up on-line for our electronic communication, you will continue to receive the paper format.

As always, we thank you for being part of our on-going efforts to give excellent, compassionate care to the wonderful women of Miriam’s House.


Carol D Marsh, Founding Executive Director