By Laura Spilman
A retired Social Worker, Sally Bojan has always enjoyed working in a human service setting. So when she retired in 2002 she knew she wanted to get into some kind of volunteer service. When she came to Buffalo City Mission’s Cornerstone Manor with a group from her church, Hamburg Wesleyan Church in 2003, she liked what she saw and heard and made the decision to open her heart and her life to Cornerstone Manor and the women it served. Bojan volunteers her time in the Client Services department, filing charts as well as helping out with various other office work. She also comes to Cornerstone Manor with her church each month on Thursday nights to minister to the women. “I enjoy doing something that’s helping others. Most of what I do is helping the staff, but I enjoy seeing the women and seeing people be successful…seeing the women be successful is what I really enjoy.”
Bojan also likes interacting with the women who are being helped by Cornerstone Manor. “When I pass them in the hallway, I always speak to them so they just feel like they’re important.” When she has the opportunity to share her faith, she does so by encouragement. “If I am talking to someone, I encourage them in their faith as opposed to preaching. I try to be an encouragement if I do have conversations with the ladies.” She lets them know that God is always there with them and He cares about them. “He’s really proud of what you’re accomplishing here,” she lets them know. She also acknowledges how nice the staff is to her and how appreciative they are of her help. “The staff is always so friendly, so quick to thank you and make you feel welcome and feel like you are helping…and I think I have a heart for women and children so it’s a place I want to help and be a part of.”
One of the reasons that volunteers like to come here is because they are appreciated,” acknowledges Bojan. “You never feel like you’re just part of the woodwork.” Bojan sees that her help is very much appreciated in everything she does at Cornerstone Manor and she sees that she is appreciated for her service; “not that I come here to be acknowledged…but I do like to feel like I’m contributing; it’s nice to know that you’re needed. It’s very important to me to be connected and to be a witness.” Bojan says she witnesses more through her actions than her words. “I think I share my faith more in how I treat people,” than through spoken accounts, “because I’m a quieter person I do more by actions than verbally.” She admits though when she gets the opportunity to witness to someone, “they can set me off and you can’t shut me up!”
Bojan knows how important a place like Cornerstone Manor is for the women who need it. She sees that is gives women in need a place to get their lives back on track and offers them some relief. The Transitional Program offered at Cornerstone Manor is a multifunctional program which offers women many opportunities including but not limited to a place to stay for up to two years, a support system, vocational and educational training as well as so much more. “I’m just appreciative of the Program and the people who work here,” says Bojan. “It’s a well run program. I think the ladies are held accountable but they’re also given a lot of compassion; both are important.” Bojan sees Cornerstone Manor as a wonderful addition to the community, a place necessary for those who need help. “It breaks my heart when I see women coming here with children. But at least the children have the stability there for a while. Hopefully they get enough of the love and exposure to Christ and [see] that God loves them.” Bojan says the hardest part is watching the children “in this situation. That’s the part that makes me the saddest is watching the children have to go through this situation.” She continues, “But this building is gorgeous and I would have to think that would make the women feel much better about themselves—that somebody would do this.” Cornerstone Manor is meant to be a welcoming place for those women and children who need some assistance regardless of their situation, a home and a family for them.