42.9709° N, 82.4249° W
Port Huron, Michigan
Diane Bauer has come full circle.
When, as a young college graduate with a psychology degree in her back pocket, she accepted her first post-college job, she didn’t dream that over the next couple of decades she would be hired three times by the same organization.
Bauer, a native of Deckerville, Michigan, in early 2015, became the executive director of Blue Water Safe Horizons, a local nonprofit that, according to its website: “…offers shelter and support services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and homelessness. The services and support programs are delivered to the community in a variety of formats ranging from shelter and housing to support groups and legal advocacy.”
BWSH operates two shelters in the area: Pathway Shelter, a 28-bed facility that provides services to men who are homeless or victims of domestic or sexual assault, as well as homeless couples and families, and Carolyn’s Place, a secured 20-bed facility that provides shelter services to women survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or homelessness and their dependent children.
Carolyn’s Place is named for Carolyn Superczynski, the former executive director of the organization who first hired Bauer when she was right out of college. When Superczynski passed away in the 1990s, Carolyn’s Place was named for her.
“I attribute my career to her,” said Bauer of her first boss. “She gave me my start and believed that I could do this. I’ve come full circle. I kind of fell into this work and the more I’ve worked within it, the more passionate I’ve become about it.”
Though Bauer started her career with Safe Horizons, she did eventually leave for other opportunities, including a stint in graduate school where she obtained a master’s degree, but she twice returned to the organization in different positions.
“It’s the work that brings me back,” she said. “I’ve always worked with survivors throughout my social work career, most specifically with domestic violence and sexual assault and that’s always been my passion.”
BWSH also serves the homeless population in the area and Bauer noted that population can be very misunderstood.
“There’s still a lot of myths in the community,” she said, such as “that the homeless look a certain way. It’s important for people to know it could be you or me. People get displaced and find themselves without a home and it might be just plain old economics.”
Fundraising is an ongoing process for a nonprofit in the human services field. Bauer noted that quite a bit of her time during this first year on the job was spent writing grants to help renew funding that is critical to their budget. Financial support from businesses and individuals at the local level is also an important source of income.
Bauer said now that she has spent almost a full year in her new position, she is beginning to get a feel for the way the organization is being run and is starting to develop her own “big picture” ideas of how she would like to see it move forward in the future.
“I’ve started getting my footing here and envisioning the future,” she said. “What could we do better and what could we be doing more of and what would that look like?”
In her spare time, Bauer likes to spend time with family and friends. More recently, she has begun travelling and has particularly enjoyed cruising in the Caribbean.
To make a difference in the lives of people who have been victimized by domestic violence, sexual abuse or homelessness, please consider making a donation to Blue Water Safe Horizons.