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Meet the Change Agent: Susan Young

2019 was a year of new beginnings for me as I transitioned from being the 24/7 care provider for my incredibly wonderful but exhausting 22 year old daughter. I started 2019 with an extremely bold move for me - applying for the Change Agents' Leadership Laboratory (CALL) program at Hope Springs. I thought, "What the heck, it won’t go anywhere, as I can’t afford it and why would they award me a scholarship?" I was thrilled when I heard I was approved and became even more excited when I started the assignments preparing for our first session.

From the moment I stepped out of my car at Hope Springs I recognized I had arrived at a very special place and that the CALL program is a very special program. CALL has not only changed my life, it is equipping me with the knowledge, self-confidence and passion to change the lives of others. Jules and Leah are gifted leaders and after the first session I learned so much about leadership, advocacy, personality types, privilege and intersectionality. But even more than those lessons, for the first time in my life I began to accept myself and realized I was a worthy human being deserving of self-respect and self-care. After the retreat I made immediate changes in how I treated and motivated others and also how I treated myself. The second session was equally transformational. The spirit of Hope Springs continued to nurture my soul, Jules and Leah continued to nurture my mind and for the first time in literally decades I felt a part of something powerful - not an observer but a valuable member of a cohort of change agents!

Since our most recent session, I’ve completed a course in Inspirational Leadership, am over halfway through a Women in Leadership course, have started an appointment to a State Advisory Board for individuals with developmental disabilities, have become involved with a fascinating new organization that meets the needs of the caregivers for individuals with mental illness as both a mentor and will soon be joining their advisory board. I advocated for a much deserved raise at work and finished training for a new job opportunity interviewing individuals about the quality of the services they are receiving.

My CALL project has not yet been identified but it is not a matter of what can I do as a change project or am I capable of enacting change. It is a matter of which of many ideas should I choose first! In summary, my time in the CALL program at Hope Springs has opened my eyes to the fact that 2019 is the year I learned I can do ANYTHING. Now that I’ve learned to care for myself I have the energy to truly become a CHANGE agent for the world.

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