On a rainy Tuesday evening at the Columbia Tower Club, Changemaker Chats Seattle sat down with Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place Seattle. Mary’s Place, a nonprofit organization, provides shelter and resources for women, children and families experiencing homelessness. In the 20 years that Marty hasworked with the organization, they’ve grown from a single women’s day center, to a network of 9 emergency family shelters across King County proving nearly 600 beds each night for moms, dads, and kids. Since 1999, Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of families move out of homelessness into permanent housing. Marty shared her passion for being a Changemaker in the lives of the families she meets every day and their influence on her life as well.

If you were unable to attend the event, here are some of our favorite takeaways.

“Your needs are the most wonderful, beautiful part of who you are and it’s your job to get those needs met.” 
Marty’s advice to women who want to be Changemakers in their own lives is the same advice she gives to women she meets in Mary’s Place shelters every day. To start changing your community, recognize that your needs are important, worthy and good. Think of your needs like a cup – every time someone asks you to give to them, you pour a little out. If you give too much without considering your own needs, you’ll be left empty before you know it. When you’re depleted practice saying “no” – believe it or not, it’s okay to say sometimes. In the same vein, become comfortable with hearing “no” from others and instead of giving up after the first rejection, keep trying.
We must learn to give to others and give back to ourselves. How do you refill your cup? Who do you go to? What do you do? For Marty, this means spending time with her husband, watching The Voice, going for a bike ride, and crabbing in Seattle summers.

Finding strength and staying positive:
We can find strength and inspiration from those around us in order to maximize our passions, chart our careers and help others. We handle the hard things in life by finding people and places to share our struggles with. Marty is inspired by the families she meets at Mary’s Place. “I can’t get over thinking about those children and the strength they have, and their parents have, to get up and ask for help…who would do anything to get their children inside.” She admires these parents that fight for their children even when they have nothing left.

When trying to stay positive, remember that the good and the bad of our lives come in waves. Practice positivity by starting the day with gratitude for the life you’re given and the lens of each day as a gift, as Marty does.

Our time is (truly) one of the most valuable gifts we have:
Looking to make a difference in your community, place of work, etc.? As trite as it may seem, our gift of time is one of the most valuable things we can give to others. To simply sit by someone’s side and listen to their story allows that person to be bestowed dignity and respect. In a sea of “no’s” become their “yes”. Help them call landlords, lend an extra hand, and most importantly askthe people around you or the organizations that you’re passionate about, what they need and how you can help.

Ready to lean in? Get involved with Mary’s Place Seattle by visiting https://www.marysplaceseattle.org/ways-to-give to discover ways to volunteer, donate and more.