Why I Give: Jackie Montag
April 24, 2014
I first heard the name “Skyland Trail” at a Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta meeting in 2004. Skyland Trail was awarded the Managing for Excellence Award. I thought, “They must be a well-run organization.” Not long after, my friend Allison Williams asked me to join the Skyland Trail Advisory Board. I did, and eventually joined the Board of Directors. I now know that this organization far exceeds being well-run – it is a true gem in our community with phenomenal leadership and an excellent professional team.
While serving on the Financial Aid Committee, I witnessed the recovery journeys of so many individuals and their families. Each story was unique, but there were common themes. Many had been hospitalized a number of times. A majority emphasized their hopelessness in believing there was nowhere for them to go, no options for effective treatment, until they found Skyland Trail.
While what we award through financial aid scholarships may seem large, it’s such a small amount to restore a person’s self-worth and help them become a contributing member of our society.
It’s very rewarding as a board member to see that you can make a difference in people’s lives. It’s obvious that the quality of the leadership and staff is what helps to make that real.
While some organizations get bogged down in what they’ve been doing for years, Skyland Trail exhibits a real willingness to change. They do research and say, “This program is making a different. This service would make it even better.” And then they try it. I think this approach makes an incredible difference.
As we become increasingly aware of the effects of mental illness, especially in younger people, there is a growing opportunity for Skyland Trail to demonstrate what can be achieved when patients are treated with respect and connected with appropriate treatment, medications and therapy.
Skyland Trail is unique. It makes a difference. You can see that your dollars make a difference in helping people and changing lives. It is such a well-run organization and you feel confident that what you give make a difference.
Jackie Montag is a Skyland Trail donor and member of the Board of Directors.