Eighty-year-old Suzanne Robinson can trace her love of helping others back to her youth. As a young girl, she learned from her grandfather about sharing hen’s eggs from the family chicken coop with others who were less fortunate.
Robinson has learned many more lessons since then—about accepting other people with differences, volunteering her time, and donating what she can to help people in her community. As a woman shaped by faith, the retired schoolteacher cites “the widow’s mite,” a bible story in which a poor widow makes a sacrificial donation, which is considered more significant than the larger contributions from those with surplus wealth.
Robinson gives what she can to Hillside because she says “Hillside gives you bang for your buck.” Based on her own extensive research, she trusts the way Hillside manages its donations, and how the staff works with children and connects with families.
Her appreciation for Hillside’s mission also has a personal dimension. Years ago, after becoming a foster parent to twin brothers who had emigrated from Vietnam, Robinson came to recognize that although one of the brothers was adjusting to his transition, the other was experiencing severe emotional and behavioral challenges. Seeking support from a family therapist and other resources, she eventually was referred to Hillside’s residential services.
She recalls their uncertain drive up the hill on the Monroe Campus, and the comfort and kindness shown by the staff. She remembers being reassured that the teen would receive much-needed assistance. And she treasures the knowledge that those interventions, along with individual and family counseling, enabled him to overcome his challenges.
Today, he enjoys a productive, successful life, in a professional role that divides his time between Hawaii and Vietnam. “The healing started at Hillside,” she says.
Robinson says her donations have a sense of urgency: she’s eager to see her philanthropy foster meaningful change, while also allowing her to experience the joy of giving. Charity “gives you much more satisfaction than eating a finely prepared meal in a wonderful restaurant,” she says. “With giving, your joyful feeling will last.”
Despite her generosity, Robinson says she doesn’t seek attention for being a donor to Hillside—but she does hope her story inspires others to join her in giving.
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