Friday’s Feature from the Executive Director – Upon learning of my new role at Family Shelter Service, a wise and wonderful long-time friend of mine suggested that I read the children’s book The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, written by Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D. Curious as to why she would suggest a children’s story, I immediately bought and read the book. It is not only a story about the life and death of a personified leaf named Freddie, but a poetic tale of hope. Throughout the story, Freddie changes from a supple green leaf of spring, to the brilliant colors for fall, and finally to the brown brittleness that comes with winter. I understand why my friend suggested this children’s story since there are many lessons held within the pages. There are two lessons that have lingered for me. First, Freddie learns that each leaf’s journey through the seasons is different. One wise leaf, Daniel, tells Freddie, “Each of us is different. We have had different experiences. We have faced the sun differently. Why should we not have different colors.” Just as each person’s journey beyond a victim of domestic violence to survivor is different. Looking from the outside, usually without all of the facts, we can be quick to judge that if I were in her situation, I would have left sooner. Yet we really don’t know, until we are walking in her shoes, how we would have acted. Second, Freddie learns about hope. In the middle of winter, Freddie is the last leaf to fall from the tree. “As he fell, he saw the whole tree for the first time.” Freddie was in awe of the tree’s majestic strength. In that moment, he understood that this tree will be home for many generations of leaves to follow. How do we want to leave our world for our children? I would like to leave for my daughter and son, a world more hope-filled – a world more compassionate – a world in which my neighbors’ homes are safe.