DO-IT Mentor Honored with Award
The Hunthausen Humanitarian Award, established in 1991 by Archbishop of Western Washington, Thomas J. Murphy, is awarded to one who "has sought justice, loved kindly, and gently changed our world." Catholic Community Services recently presented the 1995 Hunthausen Humanitarian Award to CCS/King County Region, Douglas J. Lefever, a DO-IT Mentor from Seattle, WA.
Douglas shares his life experience as well as his trained abilities to improve the condition of many lives in Seattle be they homeless men or disabled teens. Utilizing his M.A. in Psychotherapy and B.S. in Business, Douglas volunteers 33 hours a week at St. Martin's on Westlake, helping men integrate into society after years of living on the street. Douglas assists with the accounting procedures of their Giving Tree program, and is on their board. He is also a Mentor in the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technologies) Program at the University of Washington, preparing students for college and life on their own via the Internet. Douglas has cerebral palsy (a lack of oxygen during birth damaged the part of his brain that controls motor skills). He also finds time to give talks and direct teams for the RCIA program, Teens/Adults Encounter Christ (TEC). He is a board member of United Cerebral Palsy of King and Snohomish Counties. Douglas chairs the Program Committee and is on the Executive Committee. Douglas is the first disabled President of the Puget Sound Area Chapter of Colorado University's Alumni Association. The chapter has over 2,000 members. Douglas is a native of Longmont, Colorado, and was the first Longmont High disabled graduate. Six years ago he moved to Seattle.
Doug's Acceptance Speech:
This award is an affirmation of my many accomplishments. Thanks to my parents and friends who challenge me to reach for my dreams, and to all the people that I serve.
You know that we all are guilty of passing over tattered books and picking up pristine ones. This applies to people, too. In my work and in my own life I've seen it happen. Quite frankly, it hurts to be passed over. If we just open our horizons to view each one as a potential gift then miracles will happen.
In the film, Brother Sun and Sister Moon, St. Francis was building a church. Everyone was hustling and building, when he saw a disabled boy that couldn't do anything except talk with his eyes. St. Francis knew, by his eye movements that he had a talent for angles. So, every time St. Francis needed help figuring out slopes or angles, he would look at this boy and ask. We need to develop this human skill to enable every one to reach their potential.
This award challenges me, and I hope you to change and expand our horizons - inch by inch, and step by step. Through this we will be better able to serve our brothers and sisters.