Monday’s Motivation!

Good morning Bloggers! Today’s Monday Motivation comes to us from our Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance Marissa Sherrod-Gillium

This is Why I Do What I Do…
Marisa Sherrod-Gillum, Director of quality Assurance and Compliance


God has given me a lot of people and experiences that made a difference in my life, so that I can make a difference in the lives of others. I would be remise not to credit my mother and father for their influence and example they set forth, along with countless teachers and professors and friends and strangers I have met along the way.

 But I recall that I first received the call to care from a project I took on for my high school psychology class. Each student was tasked with examining great literary works for psychological principles and then teaching a 1-hour class about what they learned. Zzzzzzzzz! To make this assignment interesting (for me and my fellow classmates) I chose Dr. Suess! Who would have thought of these children’s classics as deep and thought provoking. But, I read them ALL! I had read them as a child, but now the lessons from these books took on a whole new meaning. Some of my favorite Dr. Suess quotes:

 “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– The Lorax

 “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Horton Hears a Who!

 To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” – Dr. Suess

I appreciate these quotes because it reminds me how much the actions of one person can make a difference to someone else. This is why we do what we do here at Volunteers of America, to make a difference in the lives of others- one person at a time- guided by our Core Values: Caring, Respect, Faith, Quality and Trust.

In my role as Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance, I get to work with so many people who make a difference every day. But what motivates me is the difference that I see in the people we serve. People like Stephanie, a former client of our Lighthouse Center in Virginia Beach, VA. Stephanie always comes back to help out whenever and however she can.  I had met Stephanie before, during one of my visits to the Lighthouse Center in 2012, but was able to make a real connection with her in May 2013 when she came in to help us set up our annual “Make a Difference” dinner event.   She was my right hand all day. We talked about how God had brought her to the Lighthouse Center and how the staff had helped her through many challenges in her life, including homelessness and various health challenges. Later that night she gave her testimony to the many community members that attended the event to learn more about how they can make a difference in the lives of the homeless men and women we serve. That night – she made a difference!

When I received a call from Debbie Maloney, Lighthouse Center Director, a few months later, to tell me that Stephanie had been diagnosed with cancer, I was hurt and at a loss for words. I wanted to reach out to Stephanie, but even Dr. Suess in his infinite wisdom had not written anything to this life lesson. And what is the lesson here – why do bad things always happen to good people? This is a thought that quickly fills our minds when we hear news like this. And this is a reality that we face every day as we help thousands of good people challenged by poverty, homelessness, physical and mental health issues, intellectual disabilities, and other test of life. So I turned to a book that has always given me the answers in times when my faith may be tested, friends and loved ones have been afflicted, and life just seems unfair. I sent these words of wisdom to Stephanie so that she would know that like her VOA Chesapeake family, God had not forgotten her and will be with her – and to remind her that “you cannot have a testimony without a test.”

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalms 18:6

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7


 Click HERE to learn more about The Lighthouse Center 


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