These days, it is rare to see an employee stay with a company for 18 months, let alone 18 years. But LifeWorks Director of Housing and Homelessness, Steve Bewsey, has found a love for the work that he does and has dedicated 18 years of his life to the LifeWorks cause.
Steve’s commitment to LifeWorks started when he met COO Mitch Weynand at a conference. “I found out about Middle Earth [the organization that would later become LifeWorks] from Mitch, and I decided that I wanted to work for him,” says Steve. After seeing an advertisement for a job at Middle Earth in the newspaper, Steve applied, but he didn’t get the job. He would apply for five jobs with the organization before being hired. “One day there was an advertisement in the paper for a part-time volunteer coordinator, so I called up again and convinced them that I could do the job,” remembers Steve. After working as the volunteer coordinator for four months, he was promoted to shelter director.
Steve now oversees the various housing programs within LifeWorks, including the Emergency Shelter, Transitional Living, Supportive Housing, and Street Outreach programs. “The important thing about my work is I get to do what I enjoy,” says Steve.
Around the LifeWorks office, Steve is known as “Santa Claus” because of his long white beard, and it is a name he takes seriously around the holidays. Every year around Christmas, he dresses up as Santa Claus to help raise donations for the housing programs.
Outside of work, Steve loves to walk. “I walk about 3o miles every week, and I’ve walked a marathon before.” He also loves to keep house and cook for his lovely bride with whom he has fostered more than 50 children over a period of 11 years. Perhaps Steve’s most memorable foster children were five siblings, ages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. “Their mom just walked away from them one day. At first they didn’t want to have anything to do with me, but about two weeks later I went from being ‘old man’ to ‘papa,'” says Steve. Although he has not kept in touch with all the children he and his wife have fostered, he has seen several of his former foster children go into the military or go on to have careers in management.
Today, Steve continues to serve as an inspiration to many in LifeWorks and the community. For anyone who is not familiar with LifeWorks, he wants them to know that “it is the only place where an adolescent can walk into eight different locations and get immediate assistance. There’s no other place like that in town.”