Dear MPTC Friend,

Tomorrow, or Giving Tuesday, is the day non profits call for your attention, to showcase their need, to ask for your benevolence. It’s not easy for me to ask for your help, but it’s critically necessary. Your gift WILL make a tangible difference. And here’s why:

Recently, I was at the intersection of Marginal Way. There was a female panhandler in the median strip. I knew her. She’s a mom.

Tiffany*, age 13, is one her kids and also one of ours. She’s been coming to the Center since she was 11- years-old. The child of addicts, homeless for most of her life, always couch surfing, being passed around to relatives and friends, she doesn’t have a permanent place to live. She’s resided in and out of Westbrook, but most recently resides in Portland. Her life, contained in her back-pack, is most precious to her because she never knows where she’s going to be at night. We bought her a Metro bus pass so that she could get to us and “reside” here for five hours/day, five days/week. And come she does. Imagine, at 13-years-old, afterschool, waiting at a public transportation bus stop, boarding that bus, to what she perceives to be her safe haven, MPTC, a city away. Or imagine leaving MPTC, at night, to board it again, to go to…Wherever may be her bed that night.

I remember when I first met Tiffany. We were giving the kids tennis lessons. And while all the kids were hooting and hollering and having a grand, old time, Tiffany was completely expressionless. Very lethargic. Very down. I asked her, in kind of an exasperated tone: “Why aren’t you having fun, Tiffany? Why aren’t you smiling?”

Her reply? “I don’t have a reason to smile. I don’t have anything to smile about.”

Wow. There it was.

We are in the business of changing lives, and in some instances, saving those lives. Kids believing that they have something to smile about is our business model. Our life’s passion. We teach kids to have courage, confidence, self-reliance, persistence, and stamina in order to impact their current path – where they are right now.  Some say that time heals all wounds, but it’s how the time is spent, that heals. And time spent at MPTC, is very precious indeed.

As for cutie patootie, Tiffany, and despite her heart-wrenching existence outside of MPTC, she smiles all the time now. She’s happy. But when she leaves, when she boards that Metro bus, I’m not sure how long that smile remains.

Thank you for your consideration of a life-changingMission_Possible_001 donation. Thank you for recognizing the power and engagement of just one smile. A smile that has the ability to transform a future!

With much gratitude,

Donna Dwyer, Executive Director