How and when did you get involved at greeNest?
I joined the school system in 2017, and I remember hearing about a new non-profit in town that was working with families to help furnish their homes. My wife got a job out of state in 2018, so we moved away for two years, but were fortunate to be able to return in 2020. While I was gone, greeNest really started to blossom. During the 2020-2021 school year, at one of our school social work staff meetings, someone from greeNest came to speak to us about your programming. I started connecting with Loree Armstrong and working with her through the Up Off The Floor program to get beds for the kids and families I work with.
As school social workers, we are tasked with helping to break down barriers that prevent kids from accessing their education. When I think of the low-hanging fruit--the essential things we can work on with our families to help make their lives easier--it’s assisting with food, shelter, security, safety, etc. All those things that fall on the bottom of the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s hard to focus on anything else until our physiological needs are being met.
For all of us, it’s vital that we have a safe place to sleep. A kid without a bed is not just heartbreaking, but it’s detrimental to their overall well-being. And it certainly impacts their ability to be a productive student day in and day out in the classroom. If I can help get them a bed, that really is a beautiful thing.
What is one of your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy being outside whenever I can. These days I find myself jogging a fair amount for exercise. I don‘t get to do it as much as I want to, but when I can, it helps me unplug and be in the moment. There are so few of those opportunities these days, so if I can take an hour or so to run and be disconnected, that is very valuable time for me
What is one of your favorite ways to ‘nest’ or make your home unique or special?
Having plants! I am the houseplant person in our family. I carefully water and move plants around based on the light and the conditions they need. I think having plants brings a different kind of coziness to the room. I have had some plants for nearly twenty years, I’ve even had to make arrangements to move them across the country.
Do you have a book or movie recommendation related to the greeNest mission?
This may seem like a strange connection, but the first thing that came to mind is the Italian movie, Life is Beautiful. The movie is ostensibly about a father making a concentration camp tolerable for his young son, But it really is about much more than that. It is about the lifting up of the human spirit. And when I think about greeNest, on its face, it’s an organization that helps families furnish their homes. After all, a house is not a home without the furnishings and special things that make it a home. But greeNest is about more than just providing furniture, greeNest lifts the human spirit. Small acts can make tremendous reverberations in a life, and greeNest champions those small acts every day.