Thursday, September 20, 2012

Creating a River of Change


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 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


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)