Beacon of Light
Earl’s Place is a beautiful program in Baltimore, doing a lot of good providing stability and support for men within the community who suffer from homelessness and addiction. It was an honor to get to spend time there, and to profile some of the residents and staff that work there.
Any program, regardless of how pure their intention, is only as effective as the people leading it. This particular program owes a lot of its success to this beautiful woman right here. Sheila Helgerson is the Executive Director of Earl’s Place, and within minutes of meeting her and seeing her move throughout the building and engage with the residents it becomes apparent that she is the heart and soul the organization.
Sheila never set out to run a nonprofit. She didn’t plan to have a career in social work, or tirelessly crusade to help homeless men suffering from addiction get their lives back. She actually just wanted to volunteer in her off time, she said. She’d been talking with her husband, and they decided to look for a way to give back to the community, maybe something they would do once or twice a month, nothing too intense. She volunteered to paint a bedroom, which lead to her joining the Board of Directors for the project that became Earl’s Place. Before she knew it, she’d discovered a passion and a need to help this community that has never gone away. She was appointed Executive Director of the program part time a couple years later, and took it on full-time 15 years ago. Burn out is common in this industry, but nearly two decades after becoming involved with Earl’s Place, Sheila still lights up talking about the program that she leads and the men who benefit from it.
Thank you Sheila for being such a stunning beautiful beacon of light within your community. I hope you inspire others to find small ways they can volunteer, and get involved. I know you certainly inspired me.
You can find more information
about Earl’s Place at www.earlsplace.org.
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