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Julie Henson’s Farewell
10th Jan


Julie Henson’s Farewell

I’ve got bittersweet news for you: I’ve accepted a position at Riley Children’s Foundation, and my last day at Coburn Place will be January 17th.

I have to be honest: I’ve been struggling with how to say goodbye. In denial about it, some might say. I don’t want to do it.

Three and a half years ago, I stepped into the mission of Coburn Place, not knowing what to expect, and from the very first week, I knew I was in a special organization, surrounded by the most unbelievable team of supporters I’d ever met.

I could list thousands of memories. A little boy’s board game drive for his birthday. Over $26,000 dollars of mattress protectors. Once, our pantries were dangerously empty and I sent out a single e-mail blast, and within 15 minutes we had donors on the way from grocery stores, eager to make sure that our clients had pantry items for when they needed help stretching their budgets.

I’ve seen volunteers come day after day to organize shelves, tutor clients, serve our kids, clean our floors. I’ve seen volunteers make our gardens bloom. After about 8 weeks at Coburn Place, I stopped asking, “Is it possible?” and started thinking, “When?”

You made me believe in the impossible.

In my time at Coburn Place, we’ve gone from serving 35 households onsite, to nearly 100 households onsite and offsite on any given day. In that expansion, like magic, like a cornucopia that keeps giving and giving with no end, you’ve made sure that our pantries have ALWAYS stayed stocked, and that our clients have all the support they need.

I’ve gotten to supervise interns and watch them grow and flourish. I met one very special college-student-turned-volunteer-turned-intern, Erin, who we just couldn’t quite bring ourselves to say goodbye to. You’ll now find her at the front desk. Watching Erin grow has been an unparalleled joy.

I’ve gotten to see two new committees come to life: Indigo, our Young Professional committee, as well  as our Ambassador Bureau. To see a team of amazing ambassadors go out into the community, ready to spread awareness of what we do, has just been incredible. To work alongside Young Professionals and see what they dream into reality, has been a gift.

How do you find the words to say goodbye to the people, the mission, the clients, the hope of an organization like Coburn Place? So like I said earlier: I don’t want to do it. How about I don’t say goodbye at all? How about I just say what’s really on my heart instead: thank you.

Thank you for coming on the tours, for building new kitchens and a shed, for waking up bright and early for Blue & Gold Breakfast and dancing under the stars at CoburnFest! For coming out to serve quarterly or monthly or weekly. For giving your time. For always stopping by my office door to say hi. For answering every call out for urgent pantry needs. You are magic, you are life savers, you are all-stars.

I’m particularly thankful for an inimitable crew of Young Professionals who inspire me everyday…for launching the first ever Fun Fest, for raising over $20,000 at this year’s Lemonade Stand and inaugural Spiked Lemonade Stand.

I’ve gotten to work alongside true angels and even more…I’ve gotten to tell the story of our incredible direct services team, who are advocating for our clients every single day. Knowing them and seeing their advocacy work is inspiring, humbling…a true marvel.

And I will never get to the bottom of the well of love and gratitude I have for my team: Jen, Sidney, Lara, and Lisa: you are my forever squad. My favorite people. The most brilliant, the most compassionate, unbelievable teachers and friends. I owe everything to you.

Friends, you’ve changed my life and I’m so thankful for my time at Coburn Place. So thankful for you. Thank you for believing that everyone deserves a safe home. You’ve proven over and over how attainable and universal this mission is. That it unites us, that we can make change and provide spaces for folks to rebuild their lives.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the privilege of watching an apartment be transformed into a home in front of my eyes. I have seen the sweat, the tears, the care that you embed in service to this mission, and it has forever imprinted itself on my heart. I will carry your stories and these memories with me, stitched into my very DNA.

It has been a privilege, it has been my life’s highest honor to serve alongside of you, and witness the good you make possible. Thank you for the chance to be your friend.

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