Good evening, my name is Caroline Gaulin and I am starting my 4th year as a member of the Emerging Leaders Board. Thank you all so much for being here to celebrate the amazing honorees and the incredible work of this organization that means so much to me and so many of us here. If you all would bear with me, I was hoping to be able to share a few personal experiences with you all tonight.
A large portion of my life, I have been personally affected by watching my sister battle addiction. At times she has also experienced homelessness. I joined the board because being a part of BHCHP gave me an opportunity to help others in need when I felt helpless to support her. BHCHP offers a safe place that is judgement free and open to anyone, no matter what their struggles may be. They have the programs in place to save people’s lives and the services in place to help people begin their recovery when they are ready to do so.
As we have heard tonight, treating Substance Use Disorder is just one of the many programs that BHCHP has. One of the other programs that I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time volunteering in is the Barbara McInnis House. Over the summer I was able to attend one of the legendary Karaoke nights at McInnis House. I met a patient named David who was brave enough to kick off the singing and get the crowd going. At first glance, he seemed to have been through some really challenging times – having lost his vision and one of his legs. After navigating his wheelchair up to the front, he grabbed the microphone and started to tell everyone how McInnis House had changed his life. He spoke beautifully and inspired all of the patients in the room to have hope for a better tomorrow. Although they were all having a rough time, he gave hope that because of this place, they would all get through it together. He then moved on to the singing – choosing Ain’t No Stopping Us Now as his song. He explained his choice was because everyone there was on the move to bigger and better things. As if this was not enough, David sang like an angel. I was so moved by his spirit, his positivity and resiliency, and the hope that he had gained from his time with the amazing staff at McInnis House.
I will never be able to repay BHCHP for the experiences that I have had. But, I thought I could encourage all of you to help me try. On the screen and in your program you can see the direct impact that your donation can have on the lives of homeless individuals and families. Every gift, large or small, has the power to change a life. Please join me in making a donation so there is no stopping the amazing things that BHCHP can do for the people that need it most. To donate, you can text the number on the screen or refer to your program book and signage throughout the room for more information. Thank you so much for being here and supporting the Emerging Leader Board’s effort to raise awareness and funds for BHCHP.