Thanks to the courageous perspectives of so many clients over the years, Higher Ground has been able to continually offer an alternative to a “victim” mentality and the systemic approach that often enables it. There are plenty of well-minded organizations that operate something on the order of a vending machine. The first customer arrives and gets the choice picks and when the goods are gone, the machine shuts down until a refill can be arranged. Here, in a space seeking authentic community, we have to engage one another, learn to share, discover our own prejudices and biases and work with them together. Thus even what would seem to be the simple sharing of leftovers mandates a communal response, facing our fears of scarcity, imagining the lives of others, including those who will come to the door next.
The fact that this approach is much more difficult than a drive-through or vending-machine perspective is easily trumped by the engagement with and opportunities for transformation for the people who come to us seeking help. These are the sorts of things that transform a service agency into a movement, an encounter into a relationship, a meal into communion and a house into a home.
Current & Recent Events
The house responded magnificently during my 4-day leave last month, managing meals, groups, and conflicts without having to draw other THP staff away from their duties. We want to give a loud shout-out to Hannah Strom, a current THP intern, who has already done beautiful work with the people of the house through presence and fresh ideas for workshops. Thanks to the generosity and skill sets of a few clients, Higher Ground will be open for “Feast & Fellowship” the day after Thanksgiving. And otherwise, we brace for the holidays!
Mark Cassity, Director of Higher Ground