Sophie Stanford doesn’t take anything for granted. Instead, she says she understands and appreciates life’s basic necessities.
“I myself had been homeless at one point years ago—in transition from a bad relationship,” Stanford says. “So I know how important it is to have organizations like the Tom Geiger Guest House
in a community, and what it does for a person’s self-esteem and helping them get back to where they need to be.”
Stanford, who works as Records Maintenance and Transcript Specialist at Union Institute & University’s
Office of the Registrar, also serves as co-coordinator for the school’s partnership with the Geiger House.
Each month, she helps organize and collect supplies from other UIU employees who want to help support women and their children living in affordable housing offered by the Geiger House.
“Once they get a new family in, they provide them with a welcome bag which includes toilet paper, garbage bags, soap, paper towels, dish liquids, bleach, general cleaning supplies, gift cards for Kroger—things to just get them started in their own apartment,” Stanford says.
“They go there and take advantage of the support services to either stay there as long as they need to or transitionally—they’ll link them with educational services and all different types of things until they’re self-sufficient and can move out. But in the meantime, Geiger House helps them by providing those basic necessities that they need, and this is what we collect on a monthly basis.”
While providing supplies for daily living is important, Stanford says she and others at UIU also hope to provide a sense of empowerment to other women in the community.
“Part of our mission and vision statement is to be a beacon of hope for people—just to be there and try to bridge that gap,” Stanford says. “That’s what makes a community a community. Hopefully, this will take that family far, empower them to go to the next step, whether it’s education, housing or employment. But the smallest things make the biggest difference in a person’s life.”
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By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.