Written by Casey Schurman, Lutherville
(Reposted from the Baltimore Sun)

I serve on the board of directors for Cornerstone Community Housing/Earl’s Place and I am also an elementary school teacher. One activity that I do with my students, centered around number sense, is called “Big or Small?” Students are given a number and need to give examples of when that number is big and when it is small. For example, if students were given the number 100, they may say that it is big when it is 100 cupcakes but small when it is 100 grains of sand.

At a recent board dinner, this activity came to mind as we were discussing the 17 residents at Earl’s Place. While some may say that only housing 17 residents at a time is small, I realized that 17 is big when it is 17 residents at Earl’s Place. Here’s why:

The 17 men at Earl’s Place have vowed to live every day clean and sober and can stay at Earl’s Place for up to two years. That’s 12,410 clean and sober days, not including all of the days the men stay clean and sober after leaving our program.

The 17 men at Earl’s Place are able to rebuild relationships with friends and family that were many times damaged due to addiction. If each resident only repaired four relationships that would affect 68 people just including our current residents.

The 17 men at Earl’s Place attend AA and NA meetings at least three times each week and share their stories and words of encouragement with other addicts. If there were only 10 people at each meeting (and unfortunately we know there’s more), that would be 26,520 people.

The true number of people that Earl’s Place residents have been able to help and inspire is beyond counting. Just this year we have had five residents moved to permanent housing, one parent attend his daughter’s graduation, one man reunite with his father and another enter mediation with his ex-wife to set up visitation with his children. Two men enrolled in college and two more are continuing in college.

Multiply that by the 15 years that Earl’s Place has been in business and see what a big number 17 residents at Earl’s Place becomes.