As someone working in fundraising, I always appreciate the opportunity to get to see the program side of what we do. I joined Providence Network in September of 2022. That month I was invited to attend my first Joy House graduation ceremony, and take some footage, which was a very special privilege as I knew this wasn’t something we normally did. Little did I realize, it was the beginning of my getting to witness Melinda’s journey of transformation.

(Melinda’s story is shared with her enthusiastic blessing.)

Joy House Graduation

It was a bit odd for me as I was one of two men in the room, the rest were women and children, but the attendees and staff were gracious and I was able to capture some great footage. That led to the YouTube short “Let’s celebrate Melinda completing Joy House’s two-year program!” (Video Link) The photo to the right is one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken so far at Providence Network.

I introduced myself to Melinda that night but beyond that nothing much. Fast forward to our Providence Network Christmas store that year, December 2022, and I get a few moments to sit and chat with her. I find out she cuts hair and has moved into Clausen House, one of our NextStep sober-living apartments, and is doing well. Our conversation is brief. Now into 2023, I email back and forth with Melinda a couple times to make sure we can feature her on our Generational Change webpage. It highlights how our program changes the lives not just of those who go through it, but their childrens’ lives as well. She is more than willing and such a help to us in this way.

Her oldest daughter said this of her mom finishing Joy House, “It brought our family back together with a new stronger bond in connection, and I am proud of my mom for all of the accomplishments and challenges that she has had to face.” That’s the kind of review you want!

Melinda's Graduation at Joy House: Journey of Transformation

A gift I wasn’t expecting

Now it’s December 3, 2023, again the night of our Providence Network Christmas Store. Again I get to sit down and chat with Melinda, but only briefly as I’m also running the event. Her and her two daughters are there and seem to be having a lovely time. It’s the end of the night. I’m tired, and I have some extra ginger-bread houses I need to give away, so I go over to give an “oreo house” (very cool btw! At Sam’s) to Melinda.

She gladly accepts and then she does something that surprises me. She says, “And I have something for you!” Let me tell you why that surprised me. I’m not used to receiving gifts from residents, or alumni. I had just spent all this time organizing an event to give gifts to them! Not the other way around! Working in Development, I guess, you get used to the generosity of people flowing into the organization. But then, I suppose, it shouldn’t surprise me when generosity begets generosity.

As of late, I’ve seen the new guys at Silver Lining House, our home for young men on Broadway, also wanting to give back. They’ve made a meal for those experiencing homelessness, hosted dinners and invited lots of friends in recovery. They too are on their own journey of transformation!

Melinda with her daughters

Melinda reaches inside her bag and pulls out a gift card to Floyd’s Barbershop where she cuts hair. The gift card gives me a free haircut and shampoo! I was, and am, still so deeply touched that Melinda would give me a free haircut. The photo to the right is of Melinda and her girls this last December at Mr. HUG’s!

And if you watch our VLOG of the night, you’ll see Melinda and me briefly advertising getting a haircut with her at Floyd’s on Colfax.

The Haircut!

You better believe I am going to take Melinda up on her offer. A couple days after Christmas I finally got my haircut and it’s an opportunity to get to know her a bit more. Something about sitting in that chair makes me just want to chat.

Life at Clausen is going great! They loved making the oreo houses over Christmas as a family and the Christmas store gifts were a blessing.

I soon learn she is continuing her professional development through CrossPurpose. In fact, she is part of a 10-month angel-investment program called Change Agency because she has a dream of opening a mobile salon that can both make a profit and give haircuts to those living on the streets. She is going through the process of creating a business plan. At the end of the program, she will have the opportunity to present it to investors. Amazing!

The Journey Onward

I was deeply encouraged and blessed by Melinda. Not only did I have a great haircut! I had great news of how one of our graduates is continuing her journey of transformation. I am grateful to know Melinda and excited to see how her journey will unfold. Great job, Melinda!

And if you too want to get an excellent haircut, might I recommend Floyd’s on Colfax? Here’s a link to RSVP your haircut with Melinda today. :) Be sure to mention that I sent you as I am going back for haircut #2 soon.

With classy hair,

Jonathan Romig
Development Manager
(303) 551-9319 Development

Jonathan and Melinda haircut at Floyd's on Colfax