Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poison Ivy

A couple of weeks ago, I mowed Mrs. White's back yard. I've been doing this now for three or four years and keep my lawn mower at her house since I live in a condo now. Mrs. White is one of our Meals On Wheels Atlanta clients.

Mrs. White always wanted a big family, but ended up with only one daughter. Her daughter is busy with her own career and travels frequently. She's only able to stop by and see Mrs. White a couple of times each week at the most. Mrs. White no longer drives, so she is pretty confined to her house.

When I first met Mrs. White, she said, "Welcome to the White House!" At that point, her back yard was almost three feet high with grass and weeds. (That was back when it still rained in Atlanta.) She has someone that cuts the front yard, but he can't get his riding mower through the gate into the back yard. Ever since then, I've made sure that her back yard gets trimmed every two or three weeks, so that when she looks out her window, she's not seeing a jungle.

I think Mrs. White enjoys my visits more than having her back yard mowed. She definitely looks forward to the drivers who bring her meals to her. She moves slowly, so volunteers have to be prepared to wait a while at the front door until she gets there.

The last time I was at her house mowing, I got a bad case of poison ivy. It was only one spot on my arm, but every time it itched I thought of Mrs. White. I need to call her and see if it's time for me to cut her yard again.

-- Steve Hargrove

Monday, June 16, 2008

Servant Leadership

By Brad Catherman
Vice President, Gift Planning

In this Presidential election year, much is made of a candidate’s leadership ability. In fact, the very definition of leadership becomes a topic worthy of debate. We like to align a host of adjectives to our most revered leaders: courageous, honest, proactive, articulate, intelligent, charismatic, and others. However, I would like to suggest that the principle hallmark of a leader is having the heart of a servant.

The most effective leaders with whom I have had the privilege of working are the ones whose main goal is to serve others, not be served by others. Leaders achieve effectiveness by serving others in their organization when they create an environment to maximize everyone’s talents, abilities, and resources – who in turn – serve clients, customers, or other stakeholders. True leaders understand that they are not at the “top of the pyramid,” but rather, true leaders understand the most effective organizational pyramid stands upside down on its tip, where the leader is at the bottom! Those who are served always take their rightful place at the top of the upside-down pyramid. In this model, a servant leader’s main attributes would include being unselfish, nurturing, respectful, and a team-builder.

Being new to the management team at Senior Citizen Services, I have witnessed this culture of servant leadership on a daily basis. This fundamental perspective was the reason I wanted to join SCS. Our managers and supervisors serve each other and our volunteers, who in turn are always eager and dedicated to serve our seniors in many ways. This focus on our priority to serve drives everything we do at SCS.

Servant leadership demands the best traits in all of us, and at SCS, it’s the reason for our success since 1965. Thank you for all you do to help us serve our seniors in the future.