“Nevertheless, she persisted.”
If anyone embodies this idea, it’s Erin. Many members of the Sarasota community have known Erin since she was a child thanks to the work of her very influential family, the Minors. Erin is the middle sibling and only girl out of 5, which many believe is part of the reason for her gentle strength and natural leadership abilities. “My parents founded Harvest House, so I was around the dining room table during founding discussions at a very young age. I remember riding with my Mom and Dad to pick up people from around the community that needed a ride to church. My parents went from offering rides in the late ‘80s, to offering food in 1990, to personally purchasing a home to establish a safe place for the Freedom program in 1992. I watched the organization grow as I grew up, not knowing I would become the Executive Director one day.”
Erin had no intention of working in the human services field, but as fate had it, she changed her major to Psychology in her sophomore year at USF. In 2004, at just 22 years old, Erin worked hard to prove that she was the best choice for the new Director of the women’s Freedom program. “You think it would be easy to convince your family that you’re the right choice, but we expect more out of each other, so it took some time to prove myself. Growing up as the only girl was good training for this process. Before this, I just wanted to beat the boys in a game of basketball. And I did.” Erin earned a BA in Psychology from USF and became a Certified Addictions Professional, a Certified Mental Health Professional, and an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. With hard work, dedication to the mission, and boundless love, she proved herself to be perfect for that position, and more.
In 2010 at just 27, Erin continued her parents’ legacy as the Executive Director of Harvest House. To name a few accomplishments over the last 8 years, Erin led the team responsible for the creation of the Home Again and VETS programs, the revitalization of the Family Haven campus and the Lee Wetherington Family Village, the expansion of the men’s Freedom program to Manatee County, and the creation of the New Heights program for unaccompanied youth. Erin added layers of legitimacy to Harvest House – she created all of the forms, policies, and best practices from the ground up. She hired 20 employees with different backgrounds and experiences to broaden views and enrich services. She made the Harvest House mission and vision known to local donors and foundations. She applied for and was awarded numerous federal, state, and local grants that helped make the Minor family dreams a reality. Harvest House went from 100 beds in 2010 to over 400 beds by 2017. “Our family is called to this work. We go places other people are not willing to go. We risk things other people are not willing to risk. We sit in the uncomfortable places, discuss the seemingly impossible, and then act on it when others shake their heads. And we love doing it.”
Success is far from a straight path and Harvest House has seen it all along the way. “There have been countless challenges, setbacks, and failures, but we wouldn’t be successful without them. The magic happens when our team is willing to have the tough discussions about what’s working and what’s not. We all want to provide the best services possible to our community and sometimes that means going back to the drawing board and starting over, or going out on a limb and trying something new.”
Erin has every right to be proud of her influence, but she credits her team and like a true leader, she’s doing the hard work right alongside everyone else. “I am proud of the partnerships we’ve made in the community that have enhanced our abilities and services. I am proud of the progressive changes the Freedom program has made as a result of understanding brain science and addiction and the importance of bonding and connecting. I am proud of being a foundational agency in the Family Haven Alliance. And I am proud of opening the New Heights program. It is a program that was last on the organizational list, but first on my heart.”
“We work towards creating a safe place of belonging, connection, and freedom. A place where no matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you have or haven’t done, who you love, or what you believe or don’t believe, you can say, ‘I belong here, in this diverse family of joyful, loving people.’ A place where all people can share the human experience without fear and step confidently into their destiny.” Erin has big plans for Harvest House over the coming years. Right now, she’s working on creating more physical spaces. “We need more places for social engagement and educational opportunities for clients and innovative staff trainings. These are two key components of what makes our experience holistic and therefore, more effective.”
Read more about the Minor legacy firstname.lastname@example.org 9419533154