The Gift of Forgiveness – A Conversation with LPGA Golf Great, Carol Mann

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“Forgiveness isn’t about losing the memories, but losing what you assign to those memories.” Carol Mann

Carol Mann is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. During her professional career, she won two major championships and 38 LPGA tour events. She is, by any standard, an example of a “rousing success” – a celebrated and revered sports figure. So who would have believed that when Mann was at the pinnacle of her career, she was also at the lowest point in her life?

“I came from a dysfunctional family, as many of us do,” says Mann. “My mother was an addict and a rager. I didn’t have a loving and supportive home. I didn’t learn about life the normal way – through church, school or home, and for many years, those seemingly negative experiences pointed me down my own path of dysfunction. I was marinating in resentment and anger, and I learned how to harbor those feelings without actually dealing with them.”

That was, until Carol started down the path of forgiveness. It was immediately after her mother’s death, at her funeral in fact, that she began to heal. At the suggestion of a funeral home employee, Mann drafted a note to put in her mother’s casket. In that note, she thanked her mother for what she had learned through her experiences and her own healing.

“I told her that she gave me the gift of learning, even though she omitted teaching.”

According to Mann, this ongoing process of forgiveness has allowed her to experience far richer things in life.

“And I haven’t only forgiven others,” said Mann, “I have forgiven myself – for my own guilt, shame and adoption of inappropriate attitudes. Forgiveness of others is really in concert with forgiving yourself.”

Admittedly, the act of forgiveness takes time. Mann describes it as a “re-peeling of layers, like an onion”. It is not something that happens overnight.

“The human condition is to assign blame to others and play the victim,” said Mann. “We have to begin to recognize who we are blaming and why. Before I began practicing forgiveness, my negative feelings were drowning me. Those feelings of unhealthiness spanned decades.”

Eventually, Mann found and began surrounding herself with people and groups who were on a similar path, peeling away their own layers of anger and resentment.

“Together, we worked to get rid of all the negative ‘junk’. My life today is completely different. I am grateful and joyful. As with all of us, life still throws me curve balls, but now I know how to work through those moments with understanding and insight.”

Carol Mann has been involved with The Women’s Home Men’s and Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament for seven years. Her commitment to the tournament and The Women’s Home is greatly appreciated and her extensive knowledge of her chosen sport has helped us build this tournament into the first class event it is today. We certainly consider Carol a tremendous resource and supporter of The Home, but we also consider her a very dear friend.

In our conversation with Carol, we asked her a few questions related to The Women’s Home and her involvement with the golf tournament. This is what she said:

TWH:  What has kept you involved with the tournament all these years?

CM:    When I was initially approached, my participation had more to do with lending my name to the event in hopes it would help the tournament to be a success. I hoped it would help The Home to reach new donors and get more men involved. Golf has a great record for philanthropy. I chose to stay involved because of the quality of people I met – great people with caring hearts. There is a real sense of spirit at The Women’s Home. I also did an inventory of our volunteers and that culture really attracted me. They are loving, generous, committed people.

 

TWH: Why do you feel organizations like The Women’s Home are so important to the community?

CM:    Every community has those in need – circumstances we have messed up. It’s important to have a place where people can rest, heal, have new possibilities. Some of these women have been bound so long. We can help them get back to what I call “neutral” – a place from which they can begin their transformation. We can send them down a “cared for” path…a smooth path where they can find their self-worth and a whole new life.

 

TWH: What would you say to an individual or group who is thinking about getting involved with The Women’s Home golf tournament?

CM:    The tournament is glamorous. It’s where we join together for fun and fellowship. It’s held in early spring. There’s fresh air, sunshine, green grass and terrific folks. I can’t think of a better environment than a golf course to have a pleasant day while giving back to a worthy cause. We should have a good time while doing good!

 

For more information on The Women’s Home Men’s and Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament (held at Champions Golf Club on Monday, April 7, 2014), contact Marcia Tapp at 713-328-1975 or mtapp@thewomenshome.org.

ExxonMobil Makes a Splash at Their Annual WAVE Day Volunteer Event

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On a crisp, sunny day in early March of this year, 130 volunteers from ExxonMobil took time out of their busy day to help our clients hone some of the skills necessary to re-enter the workforce. This day of giving back is part of ExxonMobil’s WAVE (Women’s Annual Volunteer Event) Day community effort. With the help of volunteers, including the Women’s Leadership Team at ExxonMobil, our women were given the gift of tapping into years of knowledge and experience that will undoubtedly help them to provide a better future for themselves and their families.

During the full day of empowerment, ExxonMobil volunteers led sessions on resume building, job interviewing skills, dressing for success, and much more. Volunteers also renovated our library, (which is used to prepare for job interviews), organized books, and for months prior to the event, collected professional attire for our women. A donation of over $12,000 will also be provided to The Home. For over ten years, ExxonMobil has chosen The Women’s Home as the beneficiary of their WAVE Day event, and we simply can’t thank them enough.

Special Appearance: The fabulous Deborah Duncan from Great Day Houston surprised our women as a guest speaker at lunch! With her amazing and poignant story of success in the face of adversity, Deborah’s infectious energy and commitment to our community is something to be commended. Many thanks to Deborah and all of the ExxonMobil volunteers for a day that will not only prepare, but inspire our women to approach the next step in their lives with confidence and true sense of excitement.

The Women’s Energy Network Chooses The Women’s Home as 2014 Luncheon Beneficiary

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On Thursday, April 17th, the Houston chapter of the Women’s Energy Network (WEN) – a global organization of professional women working across all sectors of the energy industry – will be holding their Women’s Energy Network Biennial Charity Luncheon. The fundraising event is designed to benefit a local charity that aligns with the tenets of the Women’s Energy Network and will feature keynote speaker, Sara Ortwein, President of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company. The Women’s Home is honored to be chosen as the beneficiary of this year’s charity luncheon, which, through the generosity of sponsors, is expected to raise over $100,000 for The Women’s Home. Amazing! Both WEN-Houston and The Women’s Home are committed to the mission of empowering women, and we believe this pairing is a perfect match!

The Charity Luncheon is held bi-annually so that WEN’s Charity Luncheon Selection Committee has the necessary time to both research and choose the charity that best represents their core values and heart. The selection process begins two years prior to the lunch when members are asked to submit charity suggestions. Once vetted, the selections are narrowed to five (5). The Committee then begins an even more in-depth selection process – which includes the requesting of financial records, additional research into programs offered and a site visit. It is during that site visit that the Committee is able to physically assess the needs of each charity to decide if the ultimate contribution will make a true impact on the lives of those served by the organization. It is, admittedly, a tough process to narrow down charities, as there are so many worthwhile and deserving organizations in need of support.

The Women’s Home was ecstatic to learn that we would be the luncheon beneficiary. Not only is the event exciting and interesting, with impressive speakers and guests, but through the generosity of their sponsors, WEN-Houston is expected to raise over $100,000 for The Women’s Home. Amazing!

When asked about their ultimate decision to choose The Women’s Home, Arlene Nowak, WEN member, Luncheon chair and Business Development/Producer at Sullivan Group, said:

“It was both the holistic approach to The Women’s Home’s program of healing and realizing that any one of us could be there. When we learned of successful women who had fallen for whatever reason, it resonated with us. Life is a journey, and you never know where that journey will lead you. We felt the simplicity and very nurturing environment, combined with a very complex, well thought-out program served the highest good of each individual.”

Spiritual Wellness Component of WholeLife Program Receives Support from Spiritual Community

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The growing efforts of The Women’s Home are all tied together by our comprehensive and very effective WholeLife model, which addresses the emotional/mental, physical, social, spiritual, vocational, and financial wellness of our clients and residents.

An integral part of the WholeLife program is the Spiritual wellness of our clients/residents. Aided by volunteers trained as spiritual companions, clients of The Women’s Home are invited to explore their spiritually. Through faith discussions, daily prayer and participation in a non-denominational religious community, many women commit to continued spiritual growth and find the inner peace and strength that aids in rehabilitation.

Over the years, The Women’s Home has been blessed to have the support (spiritually, financially and via volunteerism) from many local churches. Their selfless outreach provides the clients in our Treatment and Transitional program and the residents living in our permanent supportive housing complex (Jane Cizik Garden Place) with the opportunity to explore a new or renewed spiritual path. In many cases, this is the missing piece that helps our clients and residents commit fully to a productive and meaningful life.

Two Shining Examples of Spiritual Partners

The spiritual community in Houston has been with us since the beginning, and were we to thank all of the individuals and congregations that have made a difference over the years, we would need space in dozens of newsletters to do so! We send out a big, heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of our spiritual volunteers and financial donors. You are so very appreciated and we hope you realize the significant difference you have made in the lives of so many.

We would like to take this opportunity to highlight two of the many wonderful churches that have made a difference this year:

Chapelwood United Methodist Church

Chapelwood United Methodist Church has been a proud supporter of The Women’s Home for over a decade. On March 13 of this year, we received word from Executive Director of the Chapelwood Foundation, Teresa Cannon, that CUMC would once again be donating in fiscal year 2014. The donation amount will be $5,000. Chapelwood also asked that we pass on volunteer opportunities to their congregation, so that their members can have first-hand involvement with The Women’s Home.

“CUMC is funding your ministry because we believe that we are all called to embody God’s grace as we have received it to those who are in need,” Cannon wrote. “We believe we are called to be conduits of blessings – not just containers – and are honored to partner with you in the important work you are doing in our community.”

We are so grateful to Chapelwood for not only their financial donation, but also for the future volunteers that will help us to continue our mission.

Terrace United Methodist Church

The Women’s Home’s WholeLife program extends to our permanent supportive housing as well, and for the past two years, the congregation at Terrace United Methodist Church on Wirt Road has been a source of hope and inspiration to our Jane Cizik Garden Place (JCGP) residents. Terrace United hosts a monthly fellowship activity with our residents at JCGP and they also provide transportation to and from their church services on Sunday mornings. In addition, transportation is provided to JCGP residents attending AA and NA meetings in the Spring Branch area.

“The ministry team that interacts with the residents at Jane Cizik has had so many positive experiences, seeing first-hand how the women who live there are workng and progressing, determined to live independently and successfully,” said Assistant Pastor, Tammy Heinrich. “Likewise, several residents have formally joined our congregation and are faithful participants in the ministries of our church.”

With volunteers and community partners like this, our women are given the best chance possible at a joyful, successful life. Again, we thank all who have been involved in promoting the spiritual growth of our clients and residents over the years. Your participation is invaluable.

We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge additional financial donors from 2012-2014:

Canvas Church Houston

Manson B. Johnson Ministries, Inc.

Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

Pines Presbyterian Church

Plymouth United Church U.C.C

Spring Woods United Methodist Church

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

St. Peter’s United Methodist Church

St. Philip Presbyterian Church

If you or your spiritual organization would like to help The Women’s Home by volunteering and/or providing a financial donation, feel free to contact Chief Development Officer Julie Comiskey at 713-328-1975 or jcomiskey@thewomenshome.org. We look forward to partnering with you in the near future!