It Takes a Community
Amid Mental Health Awareness Month and as a part of our 20th birthday celebration, we recently took time to honor folks who have, over the years, played an important role in the formation, foundation and functioning of the Well Community.
We have all heard the phrase, “It takes a village.” Well, here we say, “It takes a community—a wide community—to make the Well successful.”
The Well Community grew out of a vision from Joel Pulis, who at the time was the associate pastor at Cliff Temple Baptist Church. A visionary leader is someone who has a dream and acts on it. He or she is typically bold, strategic, focused, optimistic, inspirational and collaborative. Joel by nature is someone who brings people together. He started the Well with his wife Laura (now deceased); parents, James and Janis; brother, Josh; and a handful of close friends. Soon the work grew to include many other volunteers, businesses and churches. Many new people have become involved over the years, including Joel’s second wife, Deborah.
As the Well Community was established, its leadership recognized that one of the most difficult challenges members face was (and still is) accessing safe, decent and affordable housing. When the board agreed in 2007 to be a small answer to prayers for those in need of housing by opening a group home, one of our board members, Bill Leftwich, stepped forward to make sure there was a suitable house. For 15 years Jacob’s House has been home for up to seven men, many of whom were formerly homeless.
The Well is greatly appreciative of Cliff Temple Baptist Church. It is not easy for a church to open its doors to a new program or project—especially one that welcomes those society has abandoned. But Cliff Temple did! Executive Pastor Kenny Cheshier helped the church open its doors and arms to the Well Community. Barbara Evetts, in the early years, served as the volunteer bookkeeper and is our ongoing expert CPA advisor, as well as assists us with our property needs.
All nonprofits are legally required to have a board of directors to provide oversight, accountability and vision. The Well has been fortunate to have dedicated volunteers who are involved and engaged in this important position. The very first board included Tim Ahlen, Scott Coleman, Ben Loring, James Pulis, Jr., Joel Pulis and Timothy Wood.
These acknowledgements include just a few of the people who have made the Well Community a safe, welcoming place for members to belong. I continue to be awed by so many who give of their time, their talents and their treasures to make sure those dealing with severe mental illnesses have hope and meaning in their lives.