spring-benefit-luncheonThe Mary’s Place Spring Benefit Luncheon reminded us all over again why we joined Agents of Change. The luncheon was a time to hear firsthand stories from Mary’s Place and show support, a time to celebrate all that Mary’s Place has done and hope for even bigger accomplishments in the future.

More than 800 Mary’s Place’s supporters packed into the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on Tuesday, and Agents of Change were proud to be among them. Johnine Larsen captained a table, joined by Sarah Rudinoff, Lisa Pim, Angela Guyot, and several other soon-to-be Agents.

As the program unfolded—a series of passionate speakers and touching videos—we saw a hint of all the lives that Mary’s Place has touched, lives connected by a common theme: Dignity. Mary’s Place firmly believes in the inherent dignity of every person, no matter their life circumstance.

We heard from Mayfield, one of the Mary’s Place children: “Mary’s Place showed us that homelessness is a period in your life that you can get through.”

And we heard from Merhawit, who came to the U.S. from Ethiopia with an education that was not recognized in this country, and who was consequently driven into homelessness. But she found Mary’s Place, and with their resources, she pulled herself up.

spring-benefit-luncheon-2“All these students [like me] need is a place at the starting line,” Merhawit said.

Mary’s Place has given thousands of people such a place at the starting line. Mothers and fathers, son and daughters. Fifteen different countries are represented among Mary’s Place’s residents, and as groups like Agents of Change continue to donate, those numbers will grow even higher.

And most importantly, at Mary’s Place, no matter how high the numbers get, they will never obscure the individual women, children, and families behind them.

“Everyone you saw in that last video,” said Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place, “those were my children, my brothers, my sisters, my mothers, my fathers, my colleagues, my neighbors.”

dscf1509At Mary’s Place, one speaker said, “people were looking at me like I was a person who mattered.”

From another: “Mary’s Place healed our whole selves.”

And from one little girl, barely old enough for kindergarten: “I have a home right now, and I live at Mary’s Place.”

This is a goal worth supporting. This is helping done right. This is why we are Agents of Change.