Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sharing the warmth


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 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

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.