I Am Project HOME: Valerie Bell
“If someone gets on Val’s radar she does everything she can to get that person to a safe space."
Val has a place and a purpose in life. That place is the Hub of Hope where she works as a resource coordinator connecting guests with housing and services, and that purpose is to fight for others. “If someone gets on Val’s radar”, said Candice Player, Vice-President of Outreach, “she does everything she can to get that person to a safe space.”
In the 1980s, Val joined our co-founder, Sister Mary Scullion, to hand out sandwiches to anyone in need, and learned two important lessons. One was how to treat people as real human beings, and the second, to meet them where they are. “I just want to see [people] move forward,” said Val, “if all you can move is a mustard seed, I don’t care, at least if you’re moving something, you’re moving forward.”
Val has worked in outreach and at the original Hub of Hope. She also earned her bachelor’s degree in human services and rebuilt her life after a long period of incarceration. To say that Val is a fighter, is an understatement. Nothing stops her from working at Project HOME, not even an injury. When she hurt her knee, she kept showing up to work thanks to the help of the Hub’s security guard driving her in every day. That act makes it clear that Val isn’t afraid to ask for help either. She knows that the support of the team at the Hub is what allows everyone to do their work to help others. “I admire her and deeply appreciate what she has done at the Hub,” explains Candice.
Every guest who arrives at the door of the Hub of Hope has a different need and Val and the staff try to meet them all. But when asked if Val could give them one gift what it would be, the answer to her was so simple, give them back “their hope and self-esteem, some of them have lost hope.”