I know the money I give to Write Around Portland is going to matter, on a really human basis, one by one. Write Around Portland helped me save my own life. And so, when I look at giving back, I want to give someone else a chance to do that.— Anne Scott
Interview by Write Around Portland development director, Allison Specter. Transcribed by Write Around Portland aide, Monika Kawiak and volunteer, Ron Kirsch
On October 8, 2019 we interviewed Anne Scott. Anne participated in her first workshop with Write Around Portland in Fall 2007 at the Legacy Emanuel Oregon Burn Center and has logged 325 hours as a volunteer and workshop facilitator. Anne has been a donor every year since 2008 and has made 66 gifts to support Write Around Portland’s life-changing work. Anne has often been told she has a big imagination, and you can see that in this interview and in everything she gets involved with.
How did you first get involved with Write Around Portland?
I first got involved with Write Around Portland at the Oregon Burn Center. I was burned in 1996, and almost 10 years to the day after my burn I had a nervous breakdown. I had healed physically well from the burns but, you know, you don’t just fall down once. Since my burns I had been attending support groups and was also a peer volunteer supporter in the burn unit; and in 2007 the Write Around Portland workshop came to the facility. It was super healing for me; the healing of the workshop was, is, has been and continues to be amazing. Write Around Portland helped me take my life back.
You have been involved in many ways with Write Around Portland, as a workshop participant, a volunteer, a facilitator and a donor. How have your experiences with Write Around Portland impacted you?
For me, the impact of Write Around Portland has been so life giving, soul filling and purposeful to participate in and support an organization that creates space where people decide they matter again. It’s important to understand that Write Around Portland creates this space, and then each person gets to decide what they’re going do with that space. The choicefulness within the workshop is amazing.
I think that part, that part of healing—at least in my mind— from trauma is to be able to find a way to live with it. For me that’s been giving back, like community service. There are so many ways that each of us has to give back. Eventually, I applied to become a facilitator. It was some of the best professional training I’ve been through, and my goodness, I’ve been through lots. It was awesome to facilitate and really important. As a workshop facilitator, I’ve watched people take their lives back. I don’t know any better way to give.
Write Around Portland is about building respectful community. Has that been something that has carried forward for you?
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Just the fundamental guidelines Write Around Portland structures the workshops around, I’ve pretty much carried forward into all aspects of my life and work. You know, pretty much all humans experience suffering; we all have a low point. And as we are meeting people, we may or may not have any idea what that is. As a facilitator I learned that you are just a human and your job as a facilitator is to create a space in which people honor themselves, and honor each other.
When you are thinking about donating, what is the thing that inspires you to take the steps to make the donation?
Write Around Portland helped me save my own life. I’m really happy now. It’s taken a long time to get here—to a happy place, and a lot of work. Write Around Portland is a key element of me getting to this place. That and the fact that I’m now an aspiring writer. So, when I look at where I can give back, I want to give toward someone else a getting a chance to do that—to reclaim their life and happiness through writing in community; having the opportunity to share their important story.
There are so many nonprofits, especially in Portland, to support. I Know Write Around Portland does such a great job of using resources well. I trust that the money I’m giving is going to be used really well, and with respect in mind.
What would you say to somebody that’s considering making a donation to Write Around Portland at the end of the year?
I know with the political climate right now, I feel like I can’t do anything. Often, I just don’t feel like what I do matters. But I know the money I give to Write Around Portland is going to matter, on a really human basis, one by one. I know it’s going to help create a space that’s going to be healing.
There isn’t another organization to me that I feel so much like I reclaimed my life because of it, you know, when I look around, I don’t have a ton of money, but I have enough to give some. And I just, I really want to see this organization continue to help other people reclaim their lives, too.