Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life's Journey Begins with Small Steps

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:

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 Share our video if you like it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting ready for our Journey Luncheon


As we prepare for our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon, I am taking this opportunity to ask you to SAVE THE DATE so you can continue to be a valuable participant in our journey by joining us at our luncheon in support of the women we serve. I look forward to seeing you there!

With regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

Getting Ready for our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon
Honoring Game Changers: "Women who create a lovely and powerful but unpredictable river of change"

Our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon is coming up on Thursday, September 27th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Bellevue Red Lion Hotel. If you have not already, SAVE THE DATE - we look forward to seeing you there! 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!
Profile Picture - LeAnne Moss
LeAnne Moss
This year we are excited to have LeAnne Moss as our keynote speaker. LeAnne is a visionary, creative leader who has more than twenty years of experience in non-profit executive leadership, enabling organizations to take risks that improve organizational impact, expand effectiveness and benefit the community. She led the Women's Funding Alliance (WFA), a regional foundation that invests in and advocates for women and girls, for nearly 15 years. She is now the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Leading from the Heart, a new leadership development effort that integrates inner personal transformational practices with sound organizational tools for social change agents. LeAnne is the recipient of several awards, most recently the 2006 Puget Sound Business Journal's Women of Influence Award.
Shannon Bell, Senior Vice President, Key4Women, Key Bank will be our emcee. Key4Women helps women in business achieve their goals by providing access to capital, customized service, networking events, and educational opportunities. Shannon is a Key Bank veteran who is dedicated to helping women on their journey to building personal financial wealth.

Choklate, the Seattle-based songstress who has already taken the breath away from many listeners around the world, will be performing. She has a personal powerful story of homelessness - chipping away at the negative stereo-types that plague our mental images. She brings hope to women who are experiencing homelessness through her soulful tunes.

Please join us in support of the women we are proud to serve. We look forward to your presence at our 3rd Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon on September 27th at Bellevue Red Lion Hotel. Watch for your formal invitation that will be sent via email the week of August 20th.

Request Free Bus Tickets and Send Them Our Way!
Once a year for the next two years each household that renews the tabs of at least one vehicle in King County can request 8 free bus tickets through the Metro Transit Incentives Program. If you mail them to us, we can hand them out to clients who need to get to important medical appointments, classes at local colleges and/or job interviews. These bus tickets will meet an ongoing, critical need that will help facilitate women on their journey to independence! Follow this link:

Sophia's Place at St Luke's
The Sophia Way staff in front of Sophia's Place at St Luke's
It is very fulfilling for us to see the construction for our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St Luke's, progressing steadily. We are eagerly waiting for its completion when we will be able to provide safety and security for a greater number of women as well as additional services. We still need many items for the shelter. Check out our Shelter Shower donation drive page! Please share this "page" with your friends and family.

Friday, August 3, 2012

In today's blog you will be reading some exciting news about the fresh produce we are now able to deliver to our housing clients. And, I am also delighted to share an inspirational story from one of our clients.

Your support makes all of this happen. Thank you!

With regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director

From Homelessness to the White House
When Laura had the opportunity to visit Washington DC and the White House along with other students at Bellevue College, it was a dream come true. Her life's journey had landed her on the streets. In her mid-fifties, she found herself widowed and without a roof over her head. Her memories of being homeless are not pleasant - she would rather NOT remember what it was like to experience homelessness. When she came to the Sophia Way program last year, she was devastated - grief stricken and lacking in any self-confidence. With the support provided by The Sophia Way, she began to reorganize her life, taking advantage of the opportunities for "change". She secured employment while at the shelter and really blossomed when given the right opportunities. She moved out of the shelter to apartment housing. She also found the confidence to enroll in Bellevue College, becoming an active member of the Bellevue College Black Student Union (BSU), culminating in becoming the director of BSU.

Laura in the White House with other BSU students

Laura helped launch a new endeavor: "Bellevue College BSU visits our Nation's Capital". As part of that program, she and other BSU members visited Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Howard University, the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, Congress and the Library of Congress from May 24th to May 28th of this year. Visiting the nation's capital up close gave Laura a deeper understanding of our history, made it much more personal, meaningful and inspirational.
Today we celebrate Laura's success and independence.
Addressing Hunger - Thank you Farms for Life!

Many of our clients are enjoying weekly delivery of fresh, local produce. Each Tuesday both a member of our "on call" shelter staff and a volunteer drive out to The Root Connection in Redmond. They divide up beets, carrots, onions, cauliflower, lettuce, etc. into individual bags. They deliver the produce to our clients throughout the Eastside who wish to receive it. This food is helping clients stretch their limited food budgets. Our clients are so grateful to have fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.

Sophia's Circle
Sophia's Circle is a grassroots giving campaign that provides an opportunity for women to join forces in support of women who are experiencing homelessness: women empowering women, embracing each other by providing opportunities, promoting healing and igniting hope.

Join Sophia's Circle - become a member by donating $25 per month. Organize a small (or any size) gathering of women for afternoon tea, or an evening of wine and cheese, or at one of your regular get-together such as knitting circles, book clubs, etc.. A representative from The Sophia Way will give a presentation about the work we do and the audience will be asked to make a recurring contribution. All donations will be put to use rebuilding lives of women experiencing homelessness, providing hope and opportunities.

For arranging a gathering, please contact: Tami Gillman, Director of Development, The Sophia Way. Phone: 425.463.6285 ext. 113 (work), 206.619.6844 (mobile).

Construction for our new shelter, Sophia's Place at St. Luke's, is underway - here's a sneak peak!