“How many children and families can we help nurture and fit with ‘life skill spectacles’ so they can see and find a better and clearer future ahead?”
Leonard pondered this question after reading a quote from one of PCHAS’ Board of Trustees published in the “History of PCHAS” magazine this year. Amidst the Great Depression, the magazine stated the outcomes the depression had on children and families - severe diseases, examinations, and fittings for spectacles. Leonard’s mother, Maurine Briley, was one of the children provided with life-skill spectacles. Her life-changing story began on November 19, 1933. After celebrating her 10th birthday with her twin sister a day before, Maurine learns that her mother was in a fatal car accident, leaving behind her father and eight siblings.
This was an extremely difficult time for her family, and the future was uncertain. Luckily, God had a plan. In 1934, women at Central Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Waxahachie, Texas, learned about the family’s struggles and helped Maurine and four siblings move to Presbyterian Children’s Homes’ Itasca campus. There, Maurine received an education and learned the value of life skills and the reward of helping others. After graduating from high school, Maurine was able to attend nursing school through the goodwill of CPC’s Presbyterian women. Afterward, she joined the Nursing Corps in McKinney, TX. As an adult, she never forgot the values and life skills she was taught at Presbyterian Children’s Homes’ Itasca campus.
Later, Maurine would marry and have three children: Leonard, Lollie and Brian. When Leonard reflects on his mother, he remembers her story, the transformative power of Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, and the values she taught of giving and helping others in need. He continues to honor her legacy with each donation he makes in her memory.