Letter from the President – May 2024

by Collette Leland, Winston & Cashatt, Lawyers
EWI of Spokane Chapter President

I was raised in an atmosphere of hospitality. We were the house on the block that frequently had a group of children gathered; we were the house where new people at church were invited to dinner; we were the house that had BIG, noisy family holiday gatherings. Much of this was because with four kids, it was a big ask to expect other families to host us. But, I think also that my parents intentionally cultivated hospitality.

As an introverted child, I was not always grateful for this trait in my parents. To be honest, I often found it a little annoying. I discovered early that if I were reading a book at a dinner party, only the most persistent guests would invade my personal space. (I shared this trick with a niece after she plaintively asked, “Why do we always have to have SO MANY people over?”)  Left to my own inclinations, I would still opt for a good book on a rainy day over most social events, but I have learned that even introverts need real, in-person connection.

One of the books I’ve read this year is The Soul of Civility by Alexandra Hudson. She writes: “Hospitality, like civility, is about what we owe to our fellow persons—especially those whom we do not like, those who are not like us, and those who cannot do anything for us in return.”

Here’s another tidbit from Hudson: “Our homes can be hospitals for our social fabric, repairing and healing our body politic bit by bit. We can reclaim the power of hospitality, ordinary yet profound, and know that we are transforming our personal spheres into places of spiritual, emotional, and relational healing.”

It is this kind of expansive openness to others that characterizes so many of you, and it is very often accompanied by a willingness to do what is uncomfortable or scary or daunting. Hospitality is not without risk or cost, but it can yield amazing returns, both in terms of our personal growth and happiness and in the healing it can bring to our communities. In a world that is increasingly disconnected, EWI builds connection and community as two of its three guiding principles. It shows.

I was so happy and grateful for all of you last month as you welcomed all of the guests who attended our anniversary celebration. Yes, we had a wonderful and inspiring program, but it is you and your spirit of hospitality that delighted our guests and impressed them with the work of EWI.

This month, we have another opportunity to reclaim the power of hospitality as we host our EWISP and ASIST scholarship winners, together with their families and counselors. The funds from our annual flower sale are being used to allow this year’s students to bring additional guests on us. Please extend a welcoming smile to the families and counselors who are celebrating these students with us. Let them know how much we appreciate their hard work and how very happy we are to have them join us.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget a kind word for our Scholarship Committee members and the judges who volunteered to assist the committee. This group of folks has sacrificed their time and contributed their talents to recruit applicants and select our 2024 EWISP and ASIST winners. By their efforts, this group has invited a new group of students and their families into our EWI home.

I’m excited to celebrate our winners’ accomplishments and to see the power of EWI hospitality at work. I hope you will all make an extra effort to attend this very special event. Join me in choosing celebration with your EWI friends over another hour at the office or the comfort of a good book. You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. If you have friends who might be interested in EWI, this is a great night to show off what we are all about. Don’t forget to check with our Recruitment and Retention Director, Julie Richardson, to see whether your guest’s meal might be covered under our guest meal program. You can reach Julie (a true hostess with the mostest) at julier1@stcu.org.