Sandy Edgerly Lends a Hand for Homeless Children
By Jessica Laniewski
Every time I meet the mothers who have been faced with homelessness and are so grateful to Horizons for Homeless Children, it really solidifies my commitment to the organization,” says Sandy Edgerley, board member of Horizons and benefactor of the Edgerley Family Community Children’s Center in Roxbury. “The parents really want what is best for their children, and this is just a helping hand to get them back on track.”
Edgerley came upon that helping hand almost by accident, when she spent a summer during business school at Harvard interning at Bright Horizons, a daycare provider founded by Roger Brown and Linda Mason. It was there that she began to see the need for a similar service among families facing homelessness; shortly after, Brown and Mason founded Horizons for Homeless Children to care for homeless kids up to the age of six. Having proper childcare, where the child is not only watched after but also nurtured and educated by caring teachers, allows homeless parents to gain stability and work towards finding a home and job.
After 10 years working at Bain & Company, Edgerley left to focus on raising her own children but soon wanted to donate her spare time and energy to a worthy organization. It didn’t take long to return to Horizons for Homeless Children, which cares for 175 children a week among its centers in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Dorchester, and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
“These children really need help, and what I’ve been so impressed with is that the centers make a real difference in the lives of homeless families,” says Edgerley, who started volunteering with Horizons in 1997 and became a board member a year later. An integral member of the board, she focuses her energy and experience on helping with development and special events, including the 13th annual Women’s Breakfast on October 26.
Edgerley and her husband, Paul, also know that philanthropic behavior starts at a young age, and their four children, who range from 11 to 18 years old, have read to the kids at Horizons and volunteered at other nonprofits throughout the community.
“When thinking of homelessness, an image pops into peoples’ mind of what that is,” says Edgerley, “but I go to the center and see these beautiful children that are just like ours. The young people in our community can volunteer and realize these children aren’t different.” The Edgerleys opened the Edgerley Family Community Children’s Center in Roxbury through Horizons for Homeless Children in 2006, allowing 50 more children to be served each day.
“I started to understand how amazing our nonprofit community is in Boston,” she says. “I’m continually so impressed by what a difference great leadership and staff make.” In addition to her work for Horizons for Homeless Children, Edgerley has also served as a board member of the Boys & Girls Club, The Boston Foundation, Be the Change and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.
“Horizons for Homeless Children is definitely a place where you get involved and stay involved, because you know it is really making a difference and breaking the cycle of homelessness,” says Edgerley. “It is a worthwhile use of time, energy and heart.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY MELISSA MAHONEY; HAIR BY MARISSA HILL FOR SALON MARIO RUSSO; MAKEUP BY DIANE MAMMOLA FOR SALON MARIO RUSSO