Thursday, December 13, 2012

Four Years and Hundreds of Lives Changed for the Better

Greetings!

This week we celebrate our Fourth Anniversary ... and what a journey it has been! In just four years we have expanded our operations in many areas and changed the lives of hundreds of women in need. As we celebrate the wonderful improvements with the opening of our new shelter and the wonderful decorations being done at our new Sophia's Thrift Shoppe, the real joy comes from the greater number of women whom we have reached. Without the generous support you provide we could not have accomplish our goals. I am reminded of the quote by President John F. Kennedy "Geography made us neighbors; Economics has made us partners; and Necessity has made us allies". Together we will continue to fight the battle of homelessness so that every woman in our community has a roof over her head! We have made many significant investments in our new shelter and our Sophia's Thrift Shoppe that will impact the women we serve for decades to come! So, thanks for your partnership - "when a match has equal partners I fear not".

From all of us at The Sophia Way, we wish you Joy and Peace during this wonderful Season of Giving.

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

Volunteers painting at the Sophia's Thrift Shoppe.
Clients Move Into Sophia's Place at St. Luke's

This last weekend (December 7, 2012) our clients moved into our new shelter-Sophia's Place at St Luke's. This is a very exciting moment for all of us - so many of you have worked tirelessly to make this dream come true. There are truly no words to describe the joy in our client's faces, knowing they don't have to sleep on floor mats anymore, knowing they will have better amenities available to them, and the joy we feel knowing we are able to serve more women in need.

Sophia's Place - Ready for Move In
Sophia's Place - a warm welcome for our clients
With the opening of Sophia's Place, we are now able to double our capacity. Not only are we positively impacting the lives of the women we serve, we are also making our community a better place in which to live and prosper.



Our Partner, YWCA Angeline's Eastside Women's Center, also moved to our new shelter starting this week for their day center operations.

Sophia's Thrift Shoppe - Grand Opening Coming Soon!

Sophia's Thrift Shoppe is our new program that will work as an on-the-job employment skills training center and also as an employment contracting option. The Sophia Way will seek employment contracts with companies in East King County whereby we will subsidize our clients' salaries for one month while they are acquiring additional training and work experience in the private sector, providing risk reduction to the employer while the employer provides a work environment that gives our clients tools to succeed. This liaison effort will lead to employment for our clients and ultimately increased income and financial stability.

One of the most significant challenges we face is to build financial strength for our clients which is critical for their success. Given the current economic conditions the obstacles to building financial stability can be insurmountable. We believe the Sophia's Thrift Shoppe will be able to bridge this gap.

Look for information about the GRAND OPENING of Sophia's Thrift Shoppe very shortly as we get ready to open this new shopping destination for you! We will be located just above Skimart at 13219 NE 20th St, Bellevue, WA 98005.
Call for Meal Volunteers

We strive to provide meals by volunteers who bring fresh, homemade, healthy meals to our clients seven days a week.
We urgently need volunteers to help with meals at our new Shelter-Sophia's Place at St. Luke's. Prepare a healthy meal and optionally enjoy a hearty dinner with out clients in our shelter. If you can help, Please contact Karina O'Malley at meals@sophiaway.org.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The magic of the season

Greetings!

Our Eastside Winter Shelter for Women and Children has been open for a full month now ... how time flies! We thank the Redmond United Methodist Church for their dedication to the mission of helping those who are homeless during this time of year and need an emergency life line of shelter.

Our ladies have had many wonderful experiences offered to them this month! The very popular Seastar Restaurant invited our clients for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. And, a resounding thank you to The Kirkland Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Aras Foundation Harvest Festival for their contributions to making this a memorable Thanksgiving Holiday for our clients.

Our holiday "elf" this year is Karen Carnahan. She is busy gathering holiday gifts so that our clients can experience the love and magic of the season. She can be contacted at holidays@sophiaway.org.

As we herald in the winter months and the danger of the cold and the looming loneliness faced by those experiencing homelessness compounds, the gifts that our community bestows on our clients warms me as the magic of the season is sprinkled by you time and again - many work so hard to provide for those in need. Thank you!

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director


Introducing Our New Merchant Partners in "One For Sophia" Community Giving Campaign


A heartfelt thank you to the merchants below who are supporting our "One For Sophia" Community Giving Program. While you are out and about please visit them and remember to order an extra (symbolically, of course) "One For Sophia". If you can't make it out to these great businesses, then please express your appreciation with a "like" on facebook.

St. James Espresso
A locally owned family business, located across the street from the Performing Arts Center. They strive to bring great coffee, teas, wine, and beer to their customers.


Two Twelve on Central
- Bistro & Bar
Two Twelve specializes in Mediterranean small plates and comfort foods as well as a compliment of local wines. It's a full bar with musical acts Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Like Two Twelve on Facebook

Cheeky Cafe
Asian Fusion ... with a twist! Comfort Food ... for the masses! There's a lot of ways to describe them, but whatever your tastes, they have something for everyone.
Like Cheeky Cafe on Facebook

Immortal Dog Pet Supply & Bakery
They specialize in pet nutrition, helping your pet live their best life. In store you will also find toys, chews, treats, supplements, grooming products and other goodies you need for your canine and feline friends.
Like Immortal Dog on Facebook

Want to see your favorite establishment participate? Tell them you'd like for them to participate in our "One For Sophia" Community Giving Campaign...give us a call and we will let them know the details of the program and deliver the marketing materials! Thank you for your ongoing support!
In This Issue
Introducing Our Merchant Partners: "One For Sophia"
Cell Phone Recycling
Winter Shelter Enters Its Second Month


Don't throw away that old cell phone

Do you have old cell phones or know someone who has them? We can put those to good use. Not only will they help raise funds for the women we serve, if unusable, they will be recycled in a environmentally friendly manner.

We are partnering with Phones 4 Charity in this cell phone recycling program. Funds raised from this program will benefit The Sophia Way in providing services to the women experiencing homelessness in East King County. We accept any cell phones, new or old, functional or not including accessories. The amount of donation we receive depends on the phone and can vary a lot. Phones 4 Charity use a Greystone Zero IT data erasure machine that destroys all electronic data on the phone. This machine is used and approved by DOD (Department of Defense) to erase high priority classified data.

Older phones that do not
have any market value will be used for 911 use. Any and all phones will be recycled. All scrap phones, batteries and accessories will be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner.

Please let your friends and family know about this program. If you know of any business that will be interested in keeping a box to drop-off cell phones at their location, let us know and we will make that happen.
Winter Shelter Enters Its Second Month

December will mark the second month of our winter shelter this year. We have served many women and children for a total of 181 bed nights already in our opening month so far. As we transition to Bellevue First Congregational Church for December and January and the weather continues to become more inclement we expect our numbers to rise significantly. We welcome your help with meal provisions, please contact Andrea Ligget if you wish to serve this way at 425.442.2712. Aid with laundry and supplies is always appreciated as well as any volunteer assistance. Please call Barbara Woontner at 425.463.6285 if you can help out.

Friday, November 16, 2012

One for Sophia

Greetings!

We are starting a new community giving campaign, "One for Sophia", that moves people in our community to give in small amounts through establishments they would ordinarily frequent. Proceeds from the campaign benefit women we serve while it provides an opportunity for every socially concerned person a way to help women in their time of greatest need. You can find more details about the program below.

With the Ribbon Cutting for Sophia's Place at St Luke's behind us, We are preparing for our clients to move into their new home this coming weekend. Thank you to all of you who have supported us in this endeavor. Dreams really do come true.

And, in addition to Sophia's Place becoming home to many, we opened the Eastside Winter Shelter for women and children on November 1st at the Redmond United Methodist Church. We are are here to provide warmth, shelter and a hot meal to many women and children as we enter our most inclement weather conditions here in the great Pacific Northwest.


I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director
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"One For Sophia"

"One for Sophia" is a community giving program that awakens the philanthropist inside each of us.

This campaign moves citizens to give in small amounts through commercial establishments that serve as agents for social giving. Basically, it is a fund raising event involving the generous participation of volunteers, corporate sponsors, and commercial establishments, i.e. restaurants, drinking establishments, coffee houses, and theaters. Proceeds from the campaign benefit our clients.

When a person frequents a coffee shop, cafĂ©, theater  restaurant, bar, etc. they can elect to purchase "one for Sophia." The purchase is monetary and symbolic; it doesn't result in the preparation of an additional meal, coffee, or movie ticket. The patron simply pays extra to support the Sophia Way in a transaction amount comfortable to them. This gives restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishments a NO-COST way to become an agent for social giving. The establishment collects the payment, records the transaction, and keeps track of "extras" purchased for Sophia. At the end of the accounting period the establishment provides the funds collected, minus transaction expenses, to The Sophia Way.


  • What: a micro-philanthropy campaign that serves to raise funds and friends for The Sophia Way
  • Who: The Sophia Way and the women it serves, individuals and businesses, local government
  • Where:in restaurants, theaters, coffee shops and other establishments in Seattle and the Eastside
  • How: simply ask to buy "One for Sophia" when you are doing your regular shopping, buying a meal, coffee, movie ticket, etc.
  • Why: to raise funds to serve women experiencing homelessness

With your support, we are sure, this will be another successful campaign this year.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A New Shelter. A Better Tomorrow.


Greetings!

A Celebration to Remember: Yesterday our long awaited and much publicized Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the opening of our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St. Luke's, took place! And, what a wonderful celebration it was. I have attended several ribbon cutting celebrations and I say with enormous pride and humility, ours was an overwhelming and outstanding show of support for The Sophia Way, the organization we have built from the ground up, and the women we are proud to serve. Joining in our celebration were city mayors, at least 15 city councilmembers from various cities in East King County, King County City Council and Senator Patty Murray's representatives, foundations, businesses, congregations, community members, and not to mention over 50 volunteers!! This show of support bodes well for our ability to aid women who need shelter but more importantly we will continue to need all of you as we execute new initiatives that will help our clients build personal wealth in an effort for them to break the cycle of homelessness.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention a VERY BIG THANK YOU to my staff and my Board of Directors who work tirelessly behind the scenes and "front and center" in an effort to positively impact the work we do and the women we help on many different levels. Truly, without their ongoing support and general enthusiasm for all things possible, The Sophia Way would not have been able to make the impact we have made in the past several years.

Do not miss the Q13 Fox News coverage on our new shelter here. You can check out their story at: http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-the-sofia-way-helps-homeless-women-get-back-on-their-feet-20121101,0,2909585.story.


Our work is never done, however. Yesterday we opened our Eastside Winter Shelter for Women and Children just in time for inclement winter weather. We continually strive to provide shelter, warmth and comfort, safety, and a hot meal for anyone who needs these essentials.


Below you will see many lovely photos of our celebration yesterday. Thank you to everyone who attended and a resounding thank you to everyone who made our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St Luke's, a reality.

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

Ribbon Cutting for Sophia's Place
Ribbon Cutting for our new shelter. From Left - Kenmore City Mayor David Baker, Helen Leuzzi, Executive Director, Bellevue City Mayor Conrad Lee and Kirkland City Mayor Joan McBride.
Cubicle for our clients with raised beds, lamp, night stand, a locker, full size mirror and other essentials.
Kitchen and the hall area of our new shelter

Thank you to all our guests who spoke at the occasion. From clockwise from top-left corner: Uriel Ybarra from State Senator Patty Murray's office; Helen Leuzzi, Executive Director, The Sophia Way; Mayor Conrad Lee, City of Bellevue; Bill Vadino from King County Councilmember Jane Hague's office; John Stokes, Councilmember, Bellevue City Council; Pastor Tom Kidd, Senior Pastor, St. Luke's Lutheran Church; Mayor Joan McBride, City of Kirkland; Sue Sherbrooke, CEO, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish; and Mayor David Baker, City of Kenmore.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sharing the warmth

Greeting!

It is a very exciting time for all of us at The Sophia Way as we open our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St Luke's. I look forward to sharing this moment of achievement with you at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. You all have been a valuable partner in this joint project.

We are also in the midst of preparing to open our Eastside Winter Shelter November 1st. As you know we operate and manage the Eastside Winter Shelter program serving many cities. The winter months are especially difficult for anyone experiencing homelessness. We look forward to serving women and children in our Winter Shelters as our doors will open just in time to get them out of the cold and wet and into the dry warmth of a shelter. We need your support to run all our programs efficiently and to provide the women and children we  serve with food and sustenance. Please see the article on the right related to the Winter Shelter.

I was humbled to receive the Women of the Year award from the Bellevue Chapter of Business and Professional Women (BPW) this week. I gladly share this honor with you since without your ongoing support we simply could not help women in need to the extent we have. The honor and recognition are a testament to our successful collaboration. Thank you!

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

Our New Shelter is Opening
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Sophia's Place

Sophia's Place, our new shelter, is getting the final touches as we prepare to open it for our clients in November. It is a dream come true for us! Our new shelter will double our current capacity and provide much needed raised beds.

As we celebrate all that we have achieved, we look to our future preparing to continue to strive to touch more women as the need continues to grow. We invite all of you to join us in celebration of our new shelter at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, November 1st 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at St Luke's. Ceremonies will be held at 3:30 p.m. For more details and to register for the event, visit our Ribbon Cutting event page.

Our new shelter has been made possible by many, many generous donors and volunteers spending countless hours contributing to a wide range of tasks, making this all possible for the women we serve. Out heartfelt gratitude to all of you.
A generous donor has washed and lovingly wrapped all the shelter shower items for our clients so everything will be ready to use on the day they arrive. She, along with her neighbors, will be preparing Welcome Baskets for our clients that will have all the essentials any woman would need or desire. THANK YOU!
BPW Women of the Year Award

On October 17th, our executive director, Helen Leuzzi, was honored with the Women of the Year award by Bellevue BPW at a lunch gathering in Bellevue Red Lion Hotel.
Helen Receiving BPW Women of the Year award
Helen receiving the Women of the Year award from Estrella Chan, President and Program Chair for the Bellevue Chapter.

Founded in 1919, Business and Professional Women (BPW) promotes equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. With 1,500 local chapters nationwide and members in every congressional district, BPW is the leading advocate for millions of working women on work-life balance and workplace equity issues.

This award was presented in conjunction with National Business Women Week in recognition of Helen's extraordinary contribution to the well-being of our community beyond the everyday wonderful things we all do for others.


Announcing the Opening of the Winter Shelter

We are getting ready to open our winter shelter for women and children starting November 1st at the Redmond United Methodist Church. It will be open every night from 8:30 pm to 7:30 am. The shelter will continue to operate until March 15th, 2013. The shelter will be located at Redmond United Methodist Church during November and February and at Bellevue First Congregational Church during December and January.

The operation of this shelter has been a collaborative effort among King County, The Sophia Way, numerous community partners and the cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Issaquah, all of whom are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the community on the Eastside. Providing shelter is the first and most criticial step in ending homelessness. Being open every night during the winter provides an important lifeline for people who would otherwise be sleeping outdoors and allows for trust-building that helps to connect people to other needed services and long term housing options.

For additional information or to find out how you can help, please contact Barbara Woontner at (425) 463 6285 etx. 106 or wintershelter@SophiaWay.org. We are in need of volunteers, supplies, helping hands with meals, and financial donations.
Help us make sure everyone has a warm place to sleep and a good hot meal this winter.

"Providing shelter is the first and most critical step toward ending homelessness."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Dignified Death

Greetings!
  
Thank you all who contributed to making our Annual Benefit Luncheon a great success last week. I'm humbled by your continued support. Your generosity enables us to continue our valuable work, providing critical services to women who are experiencing homelessness. Specifically, I want to extend my gratitude to Danny Rogers, General Manager, and Red Lion Hotel - Bellevue for sponsoring the entire event. I am confident that with all your help we will continue to improve the lives of women facing homelessness, creating a healthier community in which we all can thrive and feel safe.
  
We have two more exciting events coming up this month - we have our First Annual Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast on October 19th, once again sponsored by Danny and Red Lion Hotel, and our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for our new shelter on November 1st. You will find more information about these important events in this newsletter.

Finally, I want to share one of our client's story - how we were able to help Anna Maria during her last days. I am profoundly impacted when I witness how little someone needs to live and die with dignity... as I know you will be when you read her story.

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

Anna Maria was dying
Anna Maria was dying. She was also homeless. She could sometimes sleep at her brother's home. She could sometimes sleep at her elderly Mother's home. On her good days, she helped to care for her elderly Mother. As she had no income, her brother would pay her a few dollars a week to help. On several occasions, she was hospitalized and didn't have to worry about where she would sleep.

In a sense, Anna Maria was lucky. She had a good deal of support. She had a supportive family; they did as much as they could for her with their limited resources. She had a team of support through her Oncologist's office; her Doctor and the Social Work Team worked hard to keep her as well and comfortable as possible.

Through their combined efforts, they found the Sophia Way and we became a part of Anna Maria's support team. With the help of King County Housing Authority, we were able to obtain a Terminally Ill Section 8 voucher for her. With the timely and thorough documentation of her needs from the Oncologist's office, we were able to move her into a very nice apartment. We were also able to obtain a 2 bedroom apartment for her so that her daughter could provide around the clock care for her.

Sadly, Anna Maria died several months later. But rather than dying homeless, she died in her home, with her daughter by her side.

Ribbon Cutting for Sophia's Place
We are extending an invitation to all of you to join us for our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating the opening of our new shelter - Sophia's Place at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Bellevue. It wouldn't have happened without your generous support and constant encouragement.

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be on Thursday, November 1st from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Bellevue St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Ceremonies will be held at 3:30 p.m. We sincerely hope you will be able to join us in celebration of this significant milestone in support of the women we are proud to serve.

Groupon Grassroots Campaign
Thank you for making our Groupon Grassroots Campaign a success last week. We crossed our target of 60 donations - thank you all for getting the word out. Including matching donation from a generous donor, this pays for more than 5 bed-frames for our new shelter!

Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast

Our First Annual Business Benefit Breakfast is coming up on October 19th at Bellevue Red Lion Hotel. The Theme is: "Creating a Bridge to Financial Independence". We are excited to have Thach Nguyen as our keynote speaker for this event. A Vietnamese refugee who once lived in a homeless shelter, Thach Nguyen is now a financially successful home seller! He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, professional speaker, and founder of Thach Nguyen's Real Estate Group. Our emcee will be Paul Leuzzi, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel and Assistant General Counsel, Weyerhaeuser Company. He provides advice on patents, trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, licensing and related legal issues in the area of intellectual property law. Visit our event page for more information and to register for the event.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Creating a River of Change


Greetings!

How do you influence the world around you? Each one of us is constantly changing the world around us - sometimes predictably, other times not so predictably. There are so many women in history who have created a river of change, Susan B. Anthony comes immediately to mind. Make no mistake, Ms. Anthony may have cast one of the first pebbles into the stream but there were many who came before her and who joined her in subsequent efforts creating a lovely and powerful but unpredictable river of change. The ripples of change can lead to rivers of change reaching far and wide creating positive and lasting change in our world. Women have been at the forefront of many major social changes in our country and around the world. Please join us to celebrate "game changers" at our Annual Benefit Luncheon Thursday, September 27th at the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue. Together we can continue to create our river of change for women who are experiencing homelessness!

Register now for our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon at the event homepage. We have exceptional speakers, great music and sumptuous food. I look forward to your participation and to seeing you personally at our Luncheon.

While we are making the final touches to our Luncheon program, I also want to share news from the last two weeks - great examples of how a diverse community comes together in need to create a powerful river of change.

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director
 
Sophia Way Community Night
We hosted a Community Night last week offering a variety of services to our clients which created much excitement for all of us who participated. About 40 clients, staff, and volunteers, including members of our Companion Program, enjoyed a night of information, food, fashion and fun.

Our clients were very happy to hear from our guest speaker, Darla Mosse, RN, King County Public Health at our Community Night get-together. She shared valuable information on a wide range of topics based on the results of our client survey; our clients wanted to learn more about health related issues, including high blood pressure, healthy eating and exercise habits, mammograms, cervical health, menopause, and diabetes. Our clients had the opportunity to ask questions about health concerns with Ms. Mosse being able to direct them toward medical resources that best fit their needs.

In addition to our clients receiving valuable health related information, they also had the opportunity to "shop" for new clothes and toiletries. A dedicated group of volunteers led by Cheryl Jurrus sorted and displayed a wide range of donations including shoes, coats, undergarments, with a variety of clothes to fit every style and size. One of our clients was so excited to find three solid-colored blouses which she will be wearing to her new employment position.

Karina O'Malley, Sophia Way Board Member, joined in the festivities introducing the possibility of a new book club for our clients. Many clients were interested in joining and were excited about some of the book selection possibilities provided by Karina.

A wonderful dinner was served with the evening being capped off with a craft project for our clients. Great fun had by all!


Sophia's Place Construction - Internal Framing
Internal framing has started at Sophia's Place - soon the cubicles for our clients will be ready! 
We are Starting a Groupon Grassroots Campaign!
We want you to be among the first to know about our new exciting campaign! We're teaming up with Groupon Grassroots, the philanthropic arm of Groupon, to fund a project for our new shelter - Sophia's Place at St Luke's - coming soon!

Grassroots is a community outreach initiative within Groupon that brings people together to do good, have fun, and create positive change in their community. The goal of this campaign is to generate funds for the beds for our new shelter.

Be the first to give once the Campaign is live - if you don't have a Groupon account yet, sign up for one at www.groupon.com. Spread the word to friends and family, encouraging them to do the same.
We will keep you in the loop and update you once the campaign launches - stay tuned for more details coming your way!

Groupon Banner - Before Campaign
Night Stand for Sophia's Place
Nightstands for Sophia's Place

Thank you Expedia Volunteers!


On Friday, September 7th, 24 employees from Expedia volunteered their time to build the nightstands for our new shelter - Sophia's Place at St Luke's in Bellevue. In the new shelter, every client will get a new nightstand next to her bed. THANK YOU Expedia and your Team of Volunteers. We are extremely grateful for our community partner's support. Without Expedia and other community businesses we simply could not provide the necessities and the little "extras" that make a home useful and inviting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Building Financial Strength for Our Clients

Greetings!

The journey our clients travel from homelessness to an independent stable life is frought with challenges - many resources and much personal effort is needed to clear away those barriers. One challenge presents the most difficulty. The ability to build financial strength is critical to our clients' success but it is the most difficult challenge to overcome. Given the current economic conditions the obstacles to building financial stability can be insurmountable.


The Sophia Way put its "thinking cap on" and decided that we needed to be more creative in helping our clients achieve financial stability. I am excited and pleased to announce we will be opening Sophia's Thrift Shoppe in the fall in Bellevue. Sophia's Shoppe will serve many purposes; please find a more complete description about this exciting program in this newsletter.

These are busy and exciting times for us at The Sophia Way. Register now for our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon coming up very soon - September 27th, Bellevue Red Lion Hotel. Just look over to the right and you will find a link to our registration page. We are grateful to Danny Rogers and the Bellevue Red Lion Hotel for sponsoring this Luncheon for us. Hope to see ALL of you there!


With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director


Building Financial Strength
Sophia's Thrift Shoppe to provide Employment Skills Training and Employment Contracting
We know that we can't subsidize housing indefinitely for women at the numbers needed, nor do we want to lengthen our clients' stay in our shelter. How then can we change a woman's need for subsidy so she can be successful on her journey to a stable independent life? The clear answer is to aid each woman in making the leap to financial freedom.

That was the impetus behind our new initiative, Sophia's Thrift Shoppe. This will serve as a vehicle both to educate and employ women through the Training Certification of soft & technical business skills:
  • Developing great customer service skills
  • Control and management of inventory
  • Principles of sales and marketing
  • Team building
  • Computer, accounting and cashiering skills
  • Acquiring job-readiness and employability skills
Once our clients have been trained in these skills, The Sophia Way will seek employment contracts with companies in East King County whereby we will subsidize our clients' salaries for one month while they are acquiring additional training and work experience in the private sector, providing risk reduction to the employer while the employer provides a work environment that gives our clients tools to succeed. This liaison effort will lead to employment for our clients and ultimately increased income and financial stability.

We believe that providing incentives to employers who give our clients "a second chance" will make this a very successful turnkey operation. We have done a thorough feasibility study and we are confident that this effort will help our clients make the necessary leap to financial independence!

Look for more information about Sophia's Thrift Shoppe in our upcoming newsletters as we get ready to open this new shopping destination for you! It is our hope that with your patronage our clients will achieve the financial growth they need for a stable independent life.
  
Register for our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon Now!
Our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon is coming up soon on September 27th at the Bellevue Red Lion Hotel! Don't forget to register for the Luncheon here.

It promises to be a memorable event - our Keynote Speaker is LeAnne Moss, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Leading from the Heart; Our Emcee is Shannon Bell, Senior Vice President, Key4Women, Key Bank and, Choklate, our very own Seattle based jazz singer who speaks and sings from the soul will be performing. YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS IT! We look forward to seeing you there! For more information visit the Journey luncheon event webpage.
  
Sophia's Place Received a Major Donation!
We are grateful to Albert Lee Appliances and Shawn Harrison for Giving us more than $6000 worth of discounts for kitchen appliances and installation. Which means clients at our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St Luke's, will have everything they need for nourishing meals!
Sophia's Place Shelter Construction
Helen checking out our new shelter construction progress
Since we launched our new Shelter Shower webpage two weeks ago, many of you have used the new features to donate and purchase items - THANK YOU! We are now just about a month away from opening our new shelter and we still need many items. Don't forget to share our Shelter Shower webpage with your friends.
  


"I've been on the street. I've lived in the back of a van for a while that was loaned to me. Different churches had turned me away. So it was unbelievable that I actually had a place to sleep, hot meal. But the resources here are what opened the door for me to get back on my feet." - Brenda Carrington, Past Client (From Bus 52 Video)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life's Journey Begins with Small Steps


Greetings!
  
Great news - several of our clients have successfully moved to housing this week. It brings great joy to our agency when we have made the successful journey with our client from experiencing homelessness to gaining an independent stable life with her family.

We hope you, our supporters, will share in these achievements and take pride in the contributions you have made to the success of our clients as they regain they financial strength and independence because without your continued support these journeys would not take place!  It is a week to celebrate to be sure!

With warm regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

Journey Towards Independence

It is always exciting for us to see our clients move to permanent housing from our shelter. Last week, one of our clients was reunited with her two young children and all three were successfully housed together. She had come to The Sophia Way as a single mother after losing her employment. The Sophia Way was able to provide support services that enabled her to increase her income thereby providing the ability for her to support her two young children. There is nothing more fulfiling than to see a client reunited with her family, moving to independent housing -it is literally the beginning of a new life, creating a foundation upon which to build a new "story" for our client and her family. With our ongoing encouragement and support we anticipate it will continue to be a successful journey for this reunited family.

Another client found gainful employment this week!  She had lost her job, ending up on the streets without a roof over her head, leading her to our shelter. We provided support services to her while she pursued new employment opportunities. After she "landed a new job" this past week, we excitedly moved her into permanent housing.

Our clients' success stories are extremely gratifying. They demonstrate that with a little support and encouragement, each client will work hard to take advantage of the opportunities they now have to rebuild their lives. We strive to help prevent our clients from falling into the same quagmire of lost employment and homelessness by continuing to subsidize their rent and by providing ongoing supportive services while they build their financial strength.

While we celebrate the successes of our clients today we are still reminded of the sobering fact that we are able to help only 1 in 17 women who call us for assistance each day. We are working diligently to raise our funding levels so we can be of more assistance.

This week we welcomed 2 new clients into our shelter - for them the first step in the healing process as they journey toward a much better tomorrow. With your support, one day they will also gain independence and we will be thrilled to share their stories of success with you!  THANK YOU for all that you contribute to the lives of the women we serve.

Shelter Shower

Our new webpage is up and highly functional - take a look now!

We have completely revamped our shelter shower webpage! Now you can not only look at the items we need, you also have the option of purchasing them online with a direct link or donating money for any number of items from the list. Check out our shiny new Shelter Shower webpage.

The construction of the shelter is progressing steadily. We have the flooring and ceiling completed now and our contractors have begun the interior framing. We are extremely thankful to our donors who donated the wallboard and it's installation:

Michael Newman - Firstline Systems, Inc.
Greg Erwin - Kent Gypsum Supply
Randy Zonnefeld and Mark Salmon - CertainTeed Gypsum

Construction crew hard at work building our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St Luke's 
THANK YOU for all of the donations we have received. While many items have been purchased and donated we are still in need of some items. Please take a few minutes and help us get the word out - give your friends, family members, business associates, colleagues, neighbors a call and ask them if they can give us a hand in getting all the needed supplies available to our clients before they actually move into their new home. Just share our Shelter Shower webpage.

Bus 52 Video on The Sophia Way

Bus 52 is a year-long non-profit web-series focusing on highlighting inspiring stories of people all over the country who are approaching community challenges in innovative ways. Each week, they release two episodes showcasing this community spirit. They recently filmed at our offices and that film is now our on their website! Check out: http://bus52.com/profiles/the-sophia-way/.

The mission of Bus 52 is to show that no matter where you are in the country, there are always amazing people doing incredibly positive things. Tune in every Tuesday and Thursday on http://www.bus52.com. Share our video if you like it!