Mike and Terese Cudwadie have been longtime advocates of Dorneyville’s Angel Shop, a major contributor to Mary’s Shelter in Reading. As the parents of two sons, the loneliness of them being away at school inspired Mike and Terese to further their involvement with Mary’s Shelter, a nonprofit that provides social services, such as counseling and temporary housing, to women who are pregnant.
As empty nesters, Mike and Terese wanted to further their parenting skills to benefit those who may not have the necessary guidance and outlets to do so. Terese immediately joined the board of Mary’s Shelter and fell in love with the children. After one tour of the shelter and an encounter with a family, Terese knew her decision to join the board and become more involved was the right one. “I went home and told Mike we should begin babysitting,” Terese says. She takes care of the babies of the shelter while Mike works with the older kids and helps with household tasks that would otherwise go unnoticed. “There was nothing more rewarding than to see the kids and moms respond to us each week,” says Terese. “Many of the moms do not have their own mom for guidance, so they would ask parenting and life-skill questions, and it just felt so good.”
Not only were Mike and Terese fully interested in helping the shelter, but their sons started to become involved with certain tasks as well, such as helping to move furniture for residents who would be moving out. The shelter has benefited greatly from selfless acts such as theirs and the endless support towards the members. Not only has the shelter gained a great deal from Mike and Terese, but they feel as though they walk away with something deeper than they could have imagined. “The shelter has made Mike and me better people. It has been the most rewarding ‘thing’ we have ever done in our lives,” says Terese.