By A. Alvin  Winford

Truly, time flies! My four month fellowship at the Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, San Jose, California is now something of the past.  I am leaving early Wednesday morning the 14th of December.  An unbelievable reality!  The mood is bittersweet.  The oxymoron is self explicit in that it is bitter that I am leaving at a time when everything seems to be coming easier to me. And of course sweet, in that I am returning to my family, work, community and country after four months.

There is a time in everyone’s life when he/she reaches a crossroad and must decide the road he/she should take. My decision to go through this experience has yielded some wonderful memories. I am returning home with new experiences, determined more than ever before to champion values and aspirations that contribute towards a Liberian Society that will prevent and respond to violence against women and children.

During my fellowship, I completed the 40 hour training on domestic violence that enable me work with victims and the Women Support Group. Also, I attended the Human Trafficking Coalition and Domestic Violence Meetings, the Connecting the Dot Conference on Domestic Violence, and Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Annual Conference on Engaging, Motivating and Inspiring Men. I was provided the opportunity to make four presentations on Gender Based Violence at the YWCA Rape Crisis Center in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University Graduate Program, Next Door staff and board meetings.

Certainly, Next Door has played pivotal role in making this dream to come true. The warm hospitality and professional stewardship of the staff and volunteers have been immense and I can only say thanks. I remain grateful for the interactions which provided me an opportunity to grow.  I will continue to keep the contacts alive even after my departure. Thanks! You were there when I needed you most. You will always be part of my life and the memories remain indelible.

Let me share with you the words of two astute thinkers of our time.

You and I will meet again
When we’re least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won’t say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again
~Tom Petty

Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together?  I guess that wouldn’t work.  Someone would leave.  Someone always leaves.  Then we would have to say good-bye.  I hate good-byes.  I know what I need.  I need more hellos.

~Charles M. Schulz

A big Hello Next Door!  Happy Holidays!