We have all heard the phrase, “charity begins at home.” Never having known the origin of that phrase, I did what all educated people do nowadays – I googled it.

The phrase is a proverb meaning one’s first responsibility is for the needs of one’s own family and friends.

I have visited personally with over 250 of our residents here at Plymouth Harbor, and a very common description of the feeling here is “like family.” That typically includes neighbors and employees. It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular needs that residents support through the Foundation is Employee Assistance.

Employee Assistance includes support in several different areas: education, hardship, wellness, and training. Over the years, this fund has contributed to our ability to recruit and retain employees, keep skills sharp and current, identify and train emerging leaders, and improve the health and well-being of employees.

In the same spirit of “charity begins at home” is our newest established employee scholarship, the Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship. The donor (a resident who prefers to remain anonymous) shared her story about her single mother raising her, working sometimes several jobs to hold the family together. When it came time for this donor to go to college, her mother told her that she just couldn’t swing the tuition and that she would not be able to attend college. She was disappointed, but knew that learning a skill was important. So, she attended vocational school, learned an employable skill, and later went back to expand her education when she could afford it.

Knowing now that it must have broken her mother’s heart to have to tell her that she couldn’t afford tuition, she wishes to help others here at Plymouth Harbor, who may be in the same situation, in her mother’s name: Veronica Holak Barton.

The Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship that will be awarded annually, beginning in 2019, to a student interested in a vocational program, not necessitating a 4-year college degree. She has also stated preference for this scholarship to be made to one-parent families. Eventually, this scholarship will be endowed so that it will go on for years and years into the future.

Charity certainly does begin at home, sometimes years ago, sometimes now. And, most times, something very good can result.

-Becky Pazkowski