My name is Sarah and I attended Structure House July of last year. Once completing my stay and returning home, I intended to send you this letter. Life happens, as it does, and I failed to in a reasonable period. Please accept my apologies. After attending several Zoom meetings I felt like I had to correct this oversight.
I was reminded recently of why I love SH. It is the one place I have found where I always feel safe. I have none of the negative reactions or thoughts like I do in everyday life. There are no judgements, no condescension, no negativity. Just a staff that is going above and beyond to make sure that you are getting what you need for your individual journey. Even down to physical accommodations and limitations that can be a struggle for an overweight individual.
If you have never experienced it, there are so many day to day struggles. Examples: “is it a table or a booth, can I get around people and not get stuck at a table, will they have arms on the chairs so I can push myself up, can I get in and out ok?” All this and more make your self-esteem tank and your anxiety go through the roof! I did not experience any of this at SH. Your team has done a great job of making sure that spacing is adequate and can be easily navigated in the dining room, classrooms and other locations. Thank you!
Everyone I met on staff was wonderful! Each person, in their respective roles made sure that you were taken care of and that your needs were met. As wonderful as your staff is, there are two individuals that I feel deserve to be recognized.
The first one is Chef Jon. From my first day there, he made you feel at ease. He has such a wonderful personality! He would gladly answer any question that he could. (Even ones that he could easily defer to someone else.) He is also so knowledgeable and is glad to share his knowledge. He is someone that you can tell is passionate about his job and the clients.
I was initially very reserved regarding new foods. He encouraged me and assured me that it would not offend him. I decided then and there that I would use the opportunity to do just that. Experience new foods and new taste that are prepared by a first-class chef. What a treasured experience it was! I came away with new food interest and love for many new foods and cuisines.
I also thoroughly enjoyed his cooking classes. It was awesome to see that most meals were easy to prepare and that you did not have to have a personal chef or a whole new kitchen to make the meals. It also allowed for valuable Q&A. You would see something that you would not have realized or understood until you started cooking. I came away thinking that I might just be able to do this!
Respectfully, I would like to suggest a possible classroom setting for him with a camera which would allow for larger classes. This could easily lead to more cookbook sales and would allow you to record a possible DVD which I feel like would be well received. I know I would buy several! One for me and more for family and friends.
Another individual that I would like to recognize is Ms. Katie. In our first meeting, we were told that she was willing to look at our books and anytime her door was open we were welcome to use it. Honestly, I though “Yeah, it is probably open all of 10 minutes a day.” Well, that could not be further from the truth. She is one of the most accessible people I have met in a position like hers. If you meet her in the hall, in the classroom, wherever, she always meets you with a smile and lets you know that she is approachable. It made a big impression that she would take time from her busy day to come to class and answer our questions.
I would also like to tell you how much it has meant to me and other alumni to have the virtual groups. Many of us hit a brick wall head on with COVID. Personally, I was being challenged in all areas of being structured. The virtual groups have been a life saver. Now, am I completely structured…no. Am I doing the best I feel that I can do right now? Yes!
Katie has been incredible in leading the groups and in the material that she has covered. She is always prepared and engages with others while not allowing individuals to dominate our discussions. Her knowledge, encouragement, positivity, and leadership are so valuable! It has been great to have a support group, to know that others are having the same challenges and to be able to get recommendations, new ideas, etc. Katie has been instrumental in making these groups a success. You can tell that for her it is not about putting in her eight hours a day or receiving a paycheck. She truly cares about SH and for the clients.
I would also like to thank you and the “powers that be” for making the groups and Katie available at such a difficult time. I pray that it is something that SH will continue with. It keeps me mindful but also reminds me that one on one help, my safe haven, my classes, my counselor, my support group, old friends and new friends are just a phone call and a couple of hours away.