Class of 2011
Human Development and Family Studies
Penn State Shenango
Nominated by Heidi Friedrich
It would be nice to believe that most people have no idea of the kind of pain and suffering that Peggy Styles endured after the loss of her daughter, Chloe. Nobody deserves to go through something like that. No lessons learned from the experience can even begin to make up for what is lost. As Peggy discovered when she eventually resumed her commitment to reaching out to others, however, all too many of us have suffered similar losses and have endured comparable hardships. These losses and hardships tend to cut in two ways. We become severed not only from an individual loved-one, but also from the broader community whose physical, emotional, and spiritual support we so desperately need. In talking about her own experience, Peggy noticed that this prompted others, who may have otherwise remained silent, to do the same. This convinced her that there was an urgent need to stand up and assume a leadership role in organizing her community’s resources to help those of its members who needed help the most.
What began as a relatively small group gathering in Peggy’s living room has since grown into a wide network of services available for individuals and families in the Shenango Valley. Peggy’s leadership has had the effect of bringing together numerous women from various walks of life, all of whom share a common bond and a common desire. The bond is their pain and suffering. The desire is to be healed by helping to heal others. The same motivation to help others that led her to found the organization “Healing the Women Within” has also led Peggy to become involved with the Pennsylvania Weed and Seed’s efforts to improve the quality of life and to deter crime and delinquency in smaller communities, and with the Arc House’s efforts to provide services for displaced women.
Peggy’s ethical leadership shows clear signs of continuing well beyond her time at Penn State. In addition to organizing a 2010 Conference on women’s issues, she is also planning to branch out and take the program she has developed for her local area to other parts of the country where individuals and communities are expressing similar needs. In giving her time and energy to these causes, Peggy is standing up against despair, honoring the memory of her daughter, Chloe, and healing herself by helping others to heal.
What are you and your friends doing to Meet the Challenge and Stand Up?
If someone you know is doing work similar to Peggy’s, Speak Up and let us know about it so we can share his or her story. If that person is also a Penn State student, considering nominating him or her for the 2011 Stand Up Award.