This was the moment I had been dreading. My mouth became dry and my stomach was turning. I saw my chance to walk in her office and break the news, but it was difficult to work up the courage. I took a couple deep breaths and asked Sheri, the CEO, if she had a few minutes to chat. After hearing her reply, I closed her office door. My time at Simple Life is now coming to a close and I would be remiss not to take a moment to reflect. But how does one condense over three years of experiences at such a phenomenal organization? Honestly, you can’t. But here is what I can tell you.

As I look back, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride in knowing where we were when I started, and how far we have come as I am about to leave. The growth is undeniable. We have moved to a nicer facility, our staff has doubled, and our members have conquered goals and gained tremendous new levels of independence. I always joke with our members by fanning my face and saying “I’m having a proud mommy moment” when they share about utilizing a daily life skill they learned at Simple Life. Although I am not an education major nor do I have children of my own, this role has taught me so much about the reward of teaching and shaping someone’s life. Watching members grow and graduate our program has been one of the most rewarding aspects of this job.

Seeing the staff overcome obstacles and grow together as a team has also been remarkable. We started as indifferent individuals and ended up as a supportive work family. The relationships I have developed with my coworkers will continue on as I enter this new chapter of my life. Sheri would always say, “I can monitor how things are going based on the laughter that fills the building.” I didn’t realize how accurate of a barometer it truly was, but some of my best belly laughs took place within Simple Life’s walls. I will forever look back at this time in my life with a warm feeling in my heart and a smile on my face.

Saying goodbye to the members has been absolutely gut wrenching. I knew this part would be difficult, but I wasn’t prepared for how much sadness it would bring. The reactions I have received range anywhere from sobbing on my shoulder, to straight up rage. It takes a lot for members to feel comfortable enough with a staff member let down their guards and open up. I know change is never easy, but I did my best to explain to the members that just because I’m leaving, doesn’t mean I stop caring for everyone.

Simple Life will always hold a unique and special place in my heart. The memories and laughs I’ve experienced here will shine bright for years to come. I am thankful to all the members for letting me be a part of their journey. I am very thankful to my boss for taking a chance on me and letting me grow under her wing. I am also grateful to my coworkers for challenging me and supporting me. I wish nothing but happiness and success for Simple Life Inc. I know this summary doesn’t even scratch the surface, but I hope it allows you to catch a glimpse of the beating heart behind this nonprofit organization. I am confident that Simple Life will continue to grow and change lives and I feel blessed to have been a part of its development.