As we enter the new fiscal year on July 1 we are excited to welcome new Preble Street Board member, Lauren Gauthier! Lauren is the Infectious Disease Prevention Program Director at Maine Center for Disease Control and has a Master of Public Health. Our work is incredibly interconnected with Maine’s public health system and Lauren’s expertise will be a welcome addition to the Board.
And it is with tremendous gratitude that we bid farewell to Preble Street Board members Judy Bertram, Jane Bradley, and Rob Ravenelle who have contributed a collective 67 years of volunteer service to our organization. Each of them has brought unique strengths to the table and worked tirelessly to help ensure that Preble Street expands to meet the changing needs of our community and succeeds in our mission. Below they each shared some parting thoughts about Preble Street and their time here.
Why is the work Preble Street does important to you or to others who might consider supporting these efforts?
Judy Bertram (29 years of service): Before I discovered volunteering in the dining room at Preble Street, I enjoyed raising funds for a few local organizations. Yet that work did not give me the hands-on experience I craved.
Interacting closely with clients and bonding with like-minded volunteers while serving breakfast gave me a deep admiration for Mark [Swann] and the staff. Witnessing their dedication and loving support inspired me to join the Board of Directors. Growing up in Portland I knew people struggled with basic needs, but as an adult I came to realize the importance of making a difference in my community. We all wish we lived in a world in which Preble Street didn’t have to exist. Sadly, our clients and others need our services now more than ever before.
What do you consider the most important thing you’ve learned in your time on the Preble Street Board?
Rob Ravenelle (30 years of service): Humility. No person is more important than one in need in the moment and Preble Street has always put them first. Swannie (Executive Director Mark Swann) often says “Love + Peace = Preble Street.” But I believe humility is an equal part in that formula.
As you reflect back on your time serving on the Board, what makes you the most proud?
Jane Bradley (7 years of service): Being part of an organization that has the willingness and ability to embrace growth and change. Preble Street never stops examining ways to improve its services and expand and tailor them to more effectively address the needs of the people it serves. A good example of this during my tenure is the expansion of services for Veterans and survivors of human trafficking. Even more impressive is the organization’s ability to undertake change. Virtually overnight in March 2020, Preble Street adjusted its practices to safely provide food and shelter under pandemic conditions. The extraordinary professionalism of the organization’s leadership and staff to meet the challenges and re-evaluate the ways to carry out its mission manifests a maturity, creativity, and nimbleness that makes me incredibly proud of the work Preble Street does. It has been an honor to have been a part of it.