Our Front Porch: Looking Back

Guest Blogger: Erin Stotts, OFP Board President

Heather, Erin, and Maggie at Our Front Porch

I remember going to the first Our Front Porch meeting in January 2014, a setting that many future meetings would include: Heather’s condo, guacamole, exciting ideas, a senior citizen pug, and a hundred different directions it could and should go. At that time, I would have never guessed the journey the next nearly six years would bring, and now that the first house is bought, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on those years.

The first few years were filled with overwhelming amounts of excitement and energy.  Evenings and weekends were spent thinking, dreaming and planning. Maggie and Heather’s knowledge and dedication were infectious, and they made it easy to want to spend my time with them and on this concept, something our community desperately needed.   

The following few years I became less involved due to starting a new job, but I never once stopped believing in and giving as much time as I could to OFP. During this time, I realized that I could have never anticipated the copious amounts of grit and time it takes to get a start up off the ground. I was constantly impressed with Heather and Maggie for never once giving up, not even a little. In fact, they seemed to only push harder where anyone else would’ve thrown in the towel.

They are completely selfless in every sense of the word and that is why Our Front Porch is what it is today, an actual property that will serve hundreds of clients over the years. It has been truly inspiring to watch two people give everything to something that they don’t need and get essentially nothing in return for it. I know that in the years to come Denver will owe these two ladies a huge thank you for the amazing service they have brought to our community, and I feel very lucky to have been along for the ride all of these years.

This Work is Hard

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Olivia Vanni/The Victoria Advocate/Associated Press

Coming into this internship, I did not know what to expect. I had little to no clinical experience, I had never worked with the ‘short term’ homeless population nor clients who had severe trauma, and I honestly did not know how to do case management, let alone effective case management. However, while being a part of this organization, I learned how to do all of this and so much more. I learned that trauma can manifest in completely different ways within the same disaster, and that people are the most resilient when something tragic happens to them. From clients that have anxiety and depression, to clients that just want to move on; they are all resilient and deserve help. Another thing that I learned is that I am so irritated with how our society is ran. These types of clients (short term homeless) get little to no assistance through resources through in communities; why you ask? Because these people are physically not living on the street; per the homeless requirement in Denver, so they do not meet the criteria for government aid.

How messed up is this?

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Sympathy is a Garbage Emotion

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

While working at Our Front Porch I have been able to hone some really useful skills, but one thing seems to stick out the most. Our Front Porch has given me an outlet to truly understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Some people see these words as synonyms, but they are quite different. There are four words that I would consider to be related, but distinguishable: pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Sympathy and empathy tend to be the two ideas that are intertwined the most. I would argue that empathy includes a component of connection and emotional intelligence that only comes from practice.

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How Our Front Porch Helps

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Every person in the United States faces struggles on a daily basis. From running out gas, to losing a credit card; the human race struggles in every aspect of life. But what happens when a natural disaster hits and you lose everything you own and love? Would you be able to pick up and move on, know what to do, or be able to function soundly? I know in my personal life, I would not be able handle the most basic of everyday tasks. People are resilient and can handle so much, but sometimes they need help in this crisis period. I say this, because this is what I do in my internship: I help individuals who have lost everything due to a natural disaster.

Residents wade through floodwaters in Beaumont Place, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/Newscom

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home – Part 2

Our good friend Kim, who lives near Houston, Texas talks more about volunteering with the recovery efforts and community resiliency.

Donations being collected in Dallas for Hurricane Harvey survivors. Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez, AP Photo

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home – Part 1

In this next blog, Kim, a friend of Our Front Porch who lives near Houston, Texas shares her experience of Hurricane Harvey and how it impacted her day-to-day life, her family and her community.

A home in Spring, TX during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP.

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Three Things I’ve Learned from Being Part of a Start Up

Guest Blogger: Sarah Stone, Our Front Porch Intern 2016-17

First of all, I can’t believe this internship is half over. I feel like just yesterday, I was completing orientation and getting the OFP 101. I took the time to reflect over the holiday break on the growth and development that I have made as well as Our Front Porch.

Scenes from a start up.

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Why I Volunteer with Our Front Porch

Guest Blogger: Erin Stotts, MA, LPCC

Being a volunteer for Our Front Porch is something I do with passion and purpose. It aligns with who I am as a person, a community member, and as a clinician. This adventure that started about two years ago has been everything I had hoped it would be, and much more.   Yes, Our Front Porch is an outstanding start up, but the reason I highly value it goes deeper than just being part of something new.

Erins blog photo

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