Diane, Project Manager for MEI Group, one of the largest excavation and heavy civil contractors in the Portland Area, told Session 2A of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL)™:
"On July 6th, 2021, I sent a Facebook message to my niece's mother, who I refer to as my 'sister.' We had not spoken in a few years. She had been struggling with a 10-year meth addiction and was living on the streets of Kansas with her boyfriend and 11-year-old son. In short, the message entailed that I thought about her all the time, and I really wanted to help.
"I told her I would move she and her son from Kansas to Oregon to live with me, and that I would take care of her son while she went to treatment. I said I would pay for the whole thing, and that all she had to do was say the word 'go'. She said 'GO!'
"Going' wasn't as simple as I had hoped. Imagine how difficult it was to establish plans of a cross country move for someone who is high all the time. Her phone wasn't connected with a service provider, and she could only message me if she was near a business with free Wi-Fi. Days went by between our communications and planning kept getting delayed. I clearly needed to get someone in Kansas to help me.
"After a lot of hesitation, I got her older sister on board. I sent a phone to eliminate the delays in communication, mailed a few other things, and then bought the tickets!
"During the weeks leading up to their flight, I spoke with many people about my plan. NOBODY thought this was a good idea. Her older sister told me she had been done with her for a long time and she worried I might regret it. My mother warned me she might rob me. My brother (they share a child) told me he felt betrayed by my helping her and told me she was going to destroy my entire livelihood like she does everything! My friends couldn't understand why I thought it was a good idea to bring a drug addict into the home I share with my five children. Some friends explained that it was a terrible idea to bring someone with a meth addiction to "the meth capital", Oregon. Most were anticipating my plan would fail.
"My 'sister' has not touched meth since she landed in Oregon on July 20th, 2021. She went into intensive inpatient treatment within a few weeks of arriving and graduated. She is now working full time and is in school full time. She and her son are healthy, thriving, and keep growing. My scary plan to help my "sister" seemed far-fetched, even destined to fail. I was bombarded by every fear people could think of when I told them about my plans. I didn't let their fears stop me.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that I should never be afraid to invest in people. Because plans can work out better than we ever imagined.
"The action I call you to take is to invest lives. Be the one who gives others a second chance."
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems