If I had to sum up my experience with the Willow team using one word, it would have to be hugs. So. Many. Hugs. Every time you enter a room, you’re greeted with a warm smile and a hug. On the morning of my first staff meeting, I was overwhelmed as 30+ people welcomed me with open arms. As we sat together around the large wooden table, each staff member introduced themselves and shared what they did at Willow and why they love their job.
Although they all had a different reason for choosing this line of work, one commonality was evident. Each and every person is tirelessly committed to this cause and caring for these girls like their own daughters, sisters, and friends. By the time it got to me, I could barely make it through what I do because my voice was cracking. I was on the verge of tears and in complete awe of those sitting beside me.
That awe never faded. Each day, I was continuously amazed by the talent, strength, and passion that surrounded me. In the face of the most challenging and emotionally draining work, these women and men remain positive and never stop fighting for justice. They find joy in helping others heal, and they often put their own needs aside to ensure participants have the proper resources.
Above all else, they are family. They laugh and cry together. They gather around the table for meals. They celebrate life—weddings, new babies (of which there are many!), and birthdays. They lift each other up when needed, and treat each other with respect and kindness. They are united against a common enemy and they work each day to better the lives of the participants in Willow’s care.
I also can’t describe the team without saying—they really like juice. I heard about juice most days. They bring all sorts of homemade concoctions to the office in large jugs—carrot, ginger, beet root, celery – anything they can find at the local market and blend. They’ll share with anyone who is interested. I’m pretty sure they’ll all live forever, and what a gift that would be to the world.
If you ever want to feel inspired, loved, and completely at home, step into the Willow office. You won’t be disappointed.