We decided in our map that we would enjoy a year long celebration of the compassionate work our people do professionally. Circle of Hope is the people who make it, not an institution. We are all over the Philly Region doing good and showing the world what Jesus looks like.
So let’s celebrate Art Bucher. Art is Quality Coordinator for Public Health Management Corporation, a social service agency that cares for about 350,000 people in the Philadelphia Area. They target underserved populations in several areas of need: adult intellectual disabilities services, behavioral health services, physical health services, homeless prevention services, children and family services and community based services. Art helps ensure that the organization is providing the best possible care to the people it serves.
This is easier said than done. His colleagues are often overworked and their programs are often underfunded. Art said, “It’s difficult to get things up to par…because the system is broken.” But he wakes up excited to do his part to make things a little better in a frustrating system.
Art got started in this field right after college as an in-home aid at a group home for adults with intellectual disabilities. Art took pleasure in finding meaningful daytime activities for a group of guys who were not just his clients but his friends. He still keeps in touch with a few of the guys he met at that time, almost 20 years ago. Now he pushes more paper than he provides direct service. The work is not as much fun, but he’s able to have a greater impact because he can help create hundreds if not thousands of people like himself. Art defaults to relationship and maintaining the dignity of every person. In the bureaucracies of social services and government agencies those instincts can easily become scarce.
Art says, “I do this because I get to serve the least of these just because they are Jesus’ brothers and sisters—and he said so. This gives me the opportunity to express that every day.” But he adds, “I couldn’t live as a quality coordinator for PHMC as my identity. It wouldn’t make sense. I need an eternal purpose to do this work.” He reminds himself of this through his life in Circle of Hope. “Circle of Hope is like life blood.” Not just because of Jesus but because he gets the mutual support of the many other people in our church who work in social services. He can have an unfiltered dialogue about the trials and tribulations of this very difficult work, and often partners on the job from the church, because it seems there’s always a job opening and a friend to fill it. “It feels good to be on a team in more ways than one.”
I’m personally very glad to have Art as my friend and brother. The work he does for the least of these, he does in my name, in our name. He is Circle of Hope’s emissary in PHMC and we are so glad he does this work for us and Jesus as much as for the people he serves so well.