Dear Open Sky Supporter,
Today, I want to tell you a story that illustrates the impact of your support for Open Sky - a story about one remarkable woman and the opportunities for a richer, more meaningful life you helped make possible.
On August 15, 1998, Lori Holden was a young mother of two on her way to go bowling with her husband. She was a member of five leagues, so heading out to the lanes was part of the Holden household’s normal routine. But, from this evening on, there would be no more “normal” routines. Because, a 16-year old girl decided to drink and drive.
The crash left Lori with broken bones throughout her body and head injuries so severe that she was in a coma for three months. She had to relearn how to walk and talk. Yes, life as Lori knew it was forever changed.
While Lori’s daughters were growing up without her, she was spending 16 years as a nursing home resident. Ironic, because Lori had spent much of her career as a nurse’s aide working in nursing homes. With the support of her family, Lori was adjusting to her new reality – a reality that offered little hope that much would change.
And then, something did change. (Spoiler alert: now is when your support for Open Sky starts to change the course of this sad story.) Lori was approached by staff at The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, now
Open Sky, with an exciting, but frightening offer: Would she like to move out of the nursing home and into a group home in the community?
Some family members were concerned that she might not do well. But, her daughters said “they’d never forgive her” if she turned down this opportunity.
Fortunately, Lori decided to take that leap of faith. It’s been five years since Lori moved into an Open Sky residential program for individuals with acquired brain injuries and Lori is thriving.
Four years ago, Lori was invited to talk about her recovery to a group of almost 400 Open Sky stakeholders. She’d never done anything like that, but rose to the challenge and delivered her speech to a standing ovation. An advocate had been born.
Since then, Lori has become a powerful spokesperson on the dangers of drunk driving – giving talks to youth at a local driving school. She’s also made presentations about her recovery for the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts and at Open Sky’s Valley Friendship Tour.
Lori’s outgoing nature made her an ideal volunteer for the United Way of Central Mass’ raffle table at WooSox games. Twice a month throughout the season, Lori was there to help support their community programs. In fact, the picture on the front of this letter is Lori throwing out the first pitch at a WooSox game at the request of the United Way. She was honored to be chosen, and had a fantastic experience.
Lori has enjoyed many experiences since moving into her new home, including walking her daughter down the aisle and developing relationships with her two grandsons. She says that moving out of the nursing home was “the best thing, I've ever done for myself and my family.”
Your support made a difference for Lori, giving her the chance to make a difference for others, from her family, to the driving school students and to the people receiving services funded in part by her United Way raffle sales.
Now, that’s “paying it forward.”
There are hundreds more stories like Lori’s – people for whom your contributions have provided the opportunity to build a better life.
I hope Lori’s story has inspired you to add Open Sky to your holiday gift list. To make a one-time donation or set up monthly contribution, go to www.openskycs.org/donate. To find out more about legacy giving opportunities, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for investing in the future of the people we serve.
Chair, Board of Directors Open Sky Community Services