2017 Judith Clabes Lifetime Achievement Award

Linda M. Young

I won the lottery! I have been loved unconditionally from birth. I have always felt safe and have no idea what it really means to be hungry. I have been nurtured and taught to think for myself. I had two loving parents and large extended families that raised me and a whole town that invested in me. I have been healthy and although have made my share of mistakes, they did not lead to homelessness.

Why did I win the lottery and others did not? That is what has kept me at Welcome House and passionate about this work for over 20 years. Every day I see other people’s lives played out who are not so lucky. I have learned so much from people often misunderstood in our society. They have changed my perspective on how I see the world.

Beginning with my parents who sacrificed so much for me and my five siblings, the relationships that I have with each of you over a lifetime have shaped who I am. My in-laws included. Like my siblings, I have always known you have my back.

My children are my best teachers. I can’t imagine life without you. You literally saved my life. My two miraculous grandchildren remind me how to “be”. My imagination and spontaneity have been rekindled.

I will always be grateful for the Northern Kentucky community that welcomed me. I fell in love with the community that I have called home for 20 years. I am so blessed for the many outstanding people I have come to know and love during my time at Welcome House.

So, it seems that I am a collage of the many experiences and people that have influenced me since birth. I am touched by the grace that I am privileged to know. On behalf of you all, this recognition is for you.