Making a Difference: Lisa Lowrie, Cleveland Angels volunteer
Second in a series of articles that aims to inspire readers to take the risk to try something new, see the positive in life, and recognize that everyday people can make a difference by following their passions.
“I always admired people who do really big things in this world,” says Lisa Lowrie. “I’m not good at being that big-project person, but I like to do the small things that help the people doing the big things, so they keep going.”
Lisa’s “small things,” done with great passion, are actually “big things”!
Last fall, a friend introduced Lisa to Cleveland Angels, a non-profit organization whose mission is to work with children in the foster care system, as well as their caretakers, by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building and mentorship. This mission piqued Lisa’s interest as she has a soft spot for people who foster and adopt children. At 18, Lisa was adopted.
“Someone took me in and cared for me. That person made sure my sister and I had a family. I know it’s not easy at any age and I’m really grateful for that.” Foster parenting, to Lisa, is a “big thing.”
One of Cleveland Angels’ programs, the Love Box, matches a volunteer group with one local foster family. “There are a lot of challenges to foster parenting,” says Lisa. “If we can support them, they’re less likely to stop fostering.”
So Lisa decided to form a Love Box group. She searched her local Facebook friends and acquaintances, asking herself, “Who would be good at this?” Lisa, a Bay Village resident, followed her gut and invited 12 ladies from Bay, Westlake, North Olmsted, Strongsville and Avon Lake. Ten excitedly said “yes!”
“Each member brings their unique gift to the group and the family,” says Lisa. “For example, one is excellent at organizing the group’s finances and one is a great shopper. We make meals for the family, celebrate birthdays, and offer on-going support. We listen.”
Lisa notes that “what we may consider a small thing, like making a meal, is a huge gesture to a parent working from home and home schooling simultaneously during the Covid-19 stay-at-home mandate.”
While Lisa was initially concerned about the Love Box’s 12-month commitment, she quickly realized that “the time challenge was actually the greatest blessing because I got to build relationships.”
The feelings were mutual. Program director Apryl Rashid describes Lisa as an “incredibly positive, bright light – a beautiful soul dedicated to helping those around her. Lisa dug deep to understand the needs of the family. She’s so sensitive and caring with everyone.”
I asked Lisa how she stays so positive during these challenging times. She replied, “We’re all just supposed to help each other! The best way to get out of our worries is to help someone else. It gets you out of your own stuff.”
“We have to pay attention!” is Lisa’s mantra. “When we stop paying attention and only pay attention to our own problems, we stop helping people," she says. "During this pandemic, it’s easy for people to become invisible. When someone you know, even an acquaintance, acts differently, it’s usually because something is wrong. They need a little extra help. Ask them, ‘How are you doing?’ It gets you out of your isolation.”
Lisa genuinely believes there are a lot of big things out there for us to care about. Her advice is to “pay attention and ask yourself, ‘What can I do to support that?’”
To learn more about Cleveland Angels and how to get involved, visit CLEangels.org or email Apryl@CLEangels.org.
Resident of Bay Village since 1987.