This is Part 2 of a four-part series over the next month as Luzada’s time at Aurora comes to a close. She will be retiring from her current position as Executive Director on December 31. Part 1 can be found here.
My quest to end homelessness has been filled with so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I have attended national conferences in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Denver. I have met so many dedicated people with the same passion and pursuit of ending homelessness at a local, state and national level not just in Indiana but across the country. I have told our story at numerous conferences, workshops, and seminars and given an unknown number of presentations. I have had the opportunity to work with 40 plus different agencies and have formed many strong relationships that so beyond the work we do. I have met many incredible people who have taught me so much through their perseverance on the path out of homelessness. I have had the opportunity to influence upwards of fifty student interns and come along side fifty six staff. I have had opportunities to shape policy and sit with a client as his belongings were being bulldozed into a dump truck. I have had the opportunity to mourn at gravesides of many that society deems unlovable. I have had the opportunity to see the smiles as mothers tuck their children into a safe, warm bed or hear the giggles as the children run from room to room in their new house.
I have truly been blessed beyond measure and I have learned so much from the many people that I have work with through the years.
A few of my favorite nuggets of wisdom I want to pass along include:
There are always two sides to every story
Hire good people and let them to their job
Be careful what you wish for
Never make promises you personally can’t keep
It’s better to try and fail than not to have tried at all
Always have a plan B in mind
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself
Never get to busy to say Thank You
I think that all for now. Be careful out there!
Luzada Hayes has served as the Executive Director of Aurora, Inc. since July 2002. Prior to that, she was the agency’s Program Director. As the Executive Director of Aurora, Luzada is currently the Resource Coordinator forDestination: Home, a comprehensive community effort to end homelessness in Evansville and Vanderburgh County over the next ten years. In addition to this project, she also directs Aurora in providing community awareness and education, advocacy, and direct service to the homeless through outreach and case management services. She promotes collaborative endeavors to improve service delivery that include: a support group for homeless service providers and a networking group for social services agencies and the local utility company. She participates on a number of boards such as the Vanderburgh and Warrick Emergency Food & Shelter Board, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Commission of Vanderburgh County, Homeless Services Council for SW Indiana, Advisory Board for USI Social Work Program, and the BOS Steering Committee.
Luzada has worked with disadvantaged individuals and families of Evansville for the last twelve years. Before coming to Aurora in 1999, Luzada worked at Southwestern Indiana Mental Health Center and the Salvation Army. She received her BSW and MSW from the University of Southern Indiana and is a member of NASW. She is recognized by the Academy of Certified Social Workers and by the State of Indiana as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Luzada was recognized by NASW Indiana Region 8 and by the State of Indiana as Social Worker of the Year in 2003. Luzada is also a Sagamore of the Wabash as appointed by Governor Joseph Kernan.