It is with no exaggeration that I explain my emotions and difficulties in writing this letter to you. There are knots in my stomach making me feel ill, lumps ink my throat making it hard to swallow and talk, there is heaviness in my heart that doesn’t want to lift, and there are tears in my eyes making it very hard to see my attempts at typing this. It is so very hard for me to continue and to find the right words to proceed especially without first trying to get you to understand how I feel about Aurora and our mission.
A previous Aurora case worker came to one of my Social Work classes in 1999. She told my class about the HOT (Homeless Outreach Team) team and her job with this agency. She told of her passion for the homeless individuals in Evansville. She told of all the wonderful things that the Evansville Coalition for the Homeless (now Aurora) was doing to help families, children, and single individuals to gain permanent, appropriate, and affordable housing. She shared some stories of difficulties and barriers that homeless people face every day and I was immediately certain that I wanted to work here and to somehow be part of it all. I knew that I wanted to learn everything I could about supportive services, about developing relationships and about how to be the best case worker I could be. I then proceeded to do my internship here and wait (however impatiently) for the first chance to apply for a permanent position on the team.
In the many years since, Aurora has been my home away from home and in many ways my rock. It has been very much my identity and heart and soul for over a decade. I work with The Best of the Best…. passionate, loving, empathetic, and simply “out of this world” fabulous co-workers. They are family, friend, and comrade to me as we have together worked and fought to try to help every person that comes through the doors and to end homelessness in the tri-state. This period of my life has been amazing and although I have seen literally hundreds of people get housing and much needed services, it is I who has gained so much. I feel I have grown spiritually, emotionally, and have become a much better person by working and being here at Aurora. I will forever be grateful for all that I have learned, all that I have become, and for being so amazingly blessed to have worked here.
As I have gotten older and my children have grown into adults and started their own families, I have developed an itch and desire to try new things and go to new places. Adventures are beckoning me and I have decided to face my fears of the unknown and of change and to relocate to the Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. I will be taking a teaching position on the Cherokee Indiana Reservation with the Early Education and Head Start program. Although I am excited for the challenge of a new career, my excitement is overshadowed by great sadness for what I am losing as I resign from my outreach case management position here at Aurora. Please accept this letter as my official resignation effective on Friday September 27th 2013.
I will always wish the best for Aurora as it grows and changes and as it continues to be the light for so many. I will miss and keep in my heart the many people who made and make this agency what it is today. Aurora’s love and mission will travel with me and I promise to share it with as many new people as will listen to my sappy old soul.
Jill M. Miller
Jill Miller has served as an Outreach Coordinator for Aurora since May 2003. She was one our first University of Southern Indiana student interns and it was her internship that instilled in her a passion for Aurora’s mission and the population served.
As an Outreach Coordinator for Aurora, Jill provides intensive case management and outreach to homeless and near homeless individuals living in the tri-state area. She helps to ensure that clients find adequate affordable housing, if possible, increase their income and get connected to every known eligible resource and support in the community.
She served on the Board of ECHO Community Health Care for over seven years and has previously been involved with Special Olympics, Eldorado IL Youth Athletics, Rafter “M” Therapeutic Horse Riding Stables, River City Food Co-op, and Southeastern Illinois Youth Soccer Association. Jill has coached and refereed soccer for her two sons. She now has four grandchildren and loves being a “Grammy” to them.
Jill previously worked with at-risk and disabled children in the Eldorado, IL school system, MI/SA adults at Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare’s homeless outreach team and the elderly at Good Samaritan Home. She received her Associate of Arts and Science degree from Southeastern Illinois College and her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Southern Indiana.