As Program Manager at Cascade Youth and Family Center, I was very pleased that Mike Bookey took the time and energy to explore the problem of teen homelessness in our community in his article “Searching For Stability.” I was eager to work with Mike, mostly to continue to create awareness of the issue, and to promote solutions to the problem. I am constantly impressed by the youth that I encounter and I strive to cast a positive light on youth who have experienced hardships, yet continue to work to overcome their circumstance.
I was quite surprised to read the opinion of Tio Zo who wrote in response to the article. This person seemed to draw the erroneous conclusion that I have attained some sort of financial wealth through my work over the years. I wish this were true. My income is below the median for Bend. While renting a small home in the Bay Area and working hard there for more than two decades, my wife and I saved and sacrificed. Eventually we were able to purchase our modest home in Deschutes County. We had a vision of escaping the city and living in this community, to carry on our work here. And yes, we made that happen.
I have, through the years, developed a thick skin. I don't worry much about what those who do not know me might think. However, I would hate to see the conjecture of those who have no real knowledge of my personal affairs affect funding for those in need. The only real wealth that I have attained and the real wealth that everyone who works with me at Cascade Youth and Family Center achieves, is that we can smile at the end of the day, understanding that we are doing work that is making a difference in this great community.
– Pat Gundy, program manager Cascade Youth and Family Center