Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Psychologist advocates for the less fortunate

Carolyn McCabe: Contagious generosity

By Janet C. Wetzel
Enquirer contributor

HYDE PARK - Family values instilled in her since childhood inspired Carolyn McCabe to be an advocate for the less fortunate.

Dr. Carolyn McCabe, left, with Darlene Guess, director of Bethany House, a shelter for homeless women.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
But the words of a tiny child seared that idea into her brain. About seven years ago, she took a friend to Bethany House shelter for homeless women and children to show her where she volunteered. A small boy sat with his homeless family eating pizza. With sad eyes, he looked up at them and said, "Ah, you ain't got no home either. Here,'' handing McCabe his lone slice of pizza.

That memory keeps her going even after a rough, tiring day.

"Here was this child who had lost everything, and he was giving me the only thing he had left,'' said McCabe, a clinical psychologist who lives in Hyde Park. "What an incredible moment - what a way to put your life into perspective. My parents came from very modest means, but they've always been unbelievably generous. That's contagious.''

Her volunteering, which began in high school and college, has included the former Camp Stepping Stones, a children's center in Lower Price Hill, and church work. She won an Ohio Psychological Association award of excellence in 2002 for her work to raise money to help an uninsured breast cancer patient. She also gathers women together for spiritual ceremonies to help one through a rough time such as divorce or serious illness.

She became a part of Bethany about 15 years ago. She serves on the board, on committees, provides consultation, support, program facilitation, is a strong ambassador and "shamelessly'' seeks funding.

She said her husband, Joe Wiman, is equally devoted. He recently opted to spend his birthday doing something for Bethany guests instead of going out for a rare evening while their baby, Benjamin Alejandro, was with a sitter. They spend their time and money to host events for the guests, such as a Christmas cookie baking night, outings to movies or a restaurant, including transportation since the center's vans died. And McCabe holds in-service workshops for the "wonderful staff.''

"Carolyn is unique in all the world," said Sister Mary Stanton, executive director who founded Bethany 20 years ago. "She's unassuming, humble and has the most gentle strength. She has focus and tenacity and works hard to bring in others to help.''

McCabe said: "I would be volunteering somewhere for sure, but this grabs my heart."


Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at jjwetzel@siscom.net or fax to 513-755-4150.

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