Volunteer Spotlight: Ed Esbeck

OlympianJune 2, 2014 

Volunteer Spotlight for June, Ed Esbeck.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UNITED WAY

Ed Esbeck is a Stability Advocate at Sidewalk. Volunteerism goes back to his roots where it was important to take care of your neighbors. This helps with his work with homelessness. “Most people don’t understand homelessness and they don’t want it around,” he says. “Being able to live with people in your community – you have to be real.”

Ed completed his graduate work in organizational behavior in the 1960s. As a manager and teacher he was interested in the power of people’s behavior in a self-governing environment. Knowing that even the lowest level employees thrive in this model launched an idea to apply the same principle to a homeless shelter.

After retirement, Ed was very involved in opening one of the first Seattle homeless shelters to use this process, which proved to be successful. Being a Stability Advocate, he helps people self-govern and navigate as they journey into a new life. He added, “People don’t understand what clients have endured. Some were professionally accomplished people where their lives exploded, some newly evicted where it’s tough to re-house, and some facing homelessness for the very first time.”

Ed is part of a two person team that represents their client together. While they typically don’t transport clients to appointments, Ed sums up his job nicely, “It’s our job to help keep them going.” Ed says warmly. “They feel like they have a friend.” With a 90 percent success rate and a growing program, Sidewalk would benefit from more volunteer Advocates like Ed Esbeck.

Volunteerism goes back to his roots where it was important to take care of your neighbors. This helps with his work with homelessness.

The Volunteer Spotlight is sent to The Olympian by The United Way Retired & Senior Volunteer Program for Lewis, Mason & Thurston counties. If you would like to know more about volunteer opportunities in your area, call 360-943-2773, ext. 21.

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