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In My Grandfather's Footsteps: A Legacy of Giving

March 01, 2018


When I made my first gift to Skyland Trail, I gave in memory of Charles West, the founder of Skyland Trail. My grandfather, Alvin Barge, served on the board of Skyland Trail for many years because he believed in the cause of his dear friend Charles.  

I continue my family’s tradition of investing in Skyland Trail because I understand the value of mental health treatment – to individuals, families and the community.  I have benefitted from medication and therapy myself, and I have seen its impact on others. Best-in-class treatment can be life-changing, and I want to help Skyland Trail continue pioneering in this underserved, and too often unaddressed, area of health.

I want my giving to have a substantial impact on the lives of people the organization serves, and I gain fulfillment in contributing to causes where I can see the tangible benefits. Year after year, I hear the profound testimonials of Skyland Trail clients, who often describe how this unique treatment program saved their lives. Many received financial aid, made possible by charitable giving, that helped them complete their treatment. Their stories illustrate how Skyland Trail helps those in immense and often silent pain learn to help themselves and find peace. Their stories also inspire me to continue to support the important work of Skyland Trail and to be supportive of those in my community who may be struggling.

I am proud to help continue the legacy started by my grandfather and others, and I hope that my philanthropy and engagement will help Skyland Trail serve more and more clients and continue to create a national model for excellence in effective and compassionate psychiatric care. And I hope that by participating in Skyland Trail events, as well as just talking to friends and colleagues, I can help reduce the stigma of mental illness and encourage others to ask for help and seek treatment when needed.

This article appeared in the 2017 issue of our Journeys Magazine.