The Power of One: Dawn Sipley’s Story
One may seem like a small number, but Dawn Sipley knows that the power that number holds is significant. “Your whole life can be changed in one night being left unsheltered,” she confirms.
Dawn’s earliest memories included homelessness. Her father was abusive, and both parents struggled with addiction. In nights of rage, Dawn’s father forced her and her mother out of the house and onto the streets. One of her worst childhood memories plays like a movie scene: Dawn and her mother are locked in downtown Orlando’s park bathroom while her drunk and angry father pounds on the door. That night, Dawn slept on the bathroom floor until it was safe to leave.
All Dawn needed was one place to feel safe. For a while, off and on between 1985-1988, one place that offered her security was the Mission. Not even old enough for kindergarten, Dawn was relieved to be indoors, away from the elements, and with people who were friendly and kind. She vividly recalls peering up at our Mission’s neon cross, listening to its buzz, and ruminating on its words, ‘God is love.’ “That sign is significant for those of us who have slept under it,” says Dawn.
As Dawn sought emancipation at 16, her guidance counselor became the one person who set her on a path toward higher education. Then, one conversation with the wife of Dawn’s boss during college introduced her to a career where she could protect others from harm: human resources.
Today, Dawn runs her own HR consulting company, Sipley the Best. “I was just a daughter of a couple of crackheads and feeling destined to be the same,” Dawn recalls, “but God has exceeded all my wildest expectations.” While Dawn rejoices in her success, she recognizes the many “ones” — one night, one person, one conversation — that protected her and guided her through life.
Dawn now volunteers at the Mission and uses her company to offer job connections to Mission guests, hoping to be that “one person” for someone else. Dawn wants you to know that your generosity to the Mission holds immense power. Your one gift can change a life.