Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five years of changing lives

Celebrating five flourishing years
Five years. This is not such a long time. Looking back, though, it feels like an eternity. Five years ago there was no overnight shelter for adult women in East King County.

In 2006, Bellevue First Congregational Church (BFCC) and YWCA partnered to open a day center for women in downtown Bellevue. The intention was to meet homeless women, offer services and assess the needs of the community. Women who visited during our first few years made it abundantly clear that while the services offered were crucial and appreciated, there was still an unmet need. Women needed a safe place to sleep and a pathway to a better life.

To answer that challenge, Helen Leuzzi, the Outreach Chair of BFCC, called together a group of people who wanted to help. With the fiscal sponsorship of Eastside Interfaith Social Concerns Council, some large and small donations of money and supplies, space from BFCC as well as "weekend host" congregations, coupled with the determination and energy of volunteers and staff, The Sophia Way came into being.
During a snowstorm in December 2008, The Sophia Way opened its doors at 7pm to a woman who wanted a place to sleep. She came, had a hot meal and shower, slept on a mat on the floor, and made an appointment with her case manager. She worked through her goals, moved into subsidized housing and got a job. That woman is still part of the Sophia Way family. She has been joined over the last five years by many extraordinary women (and some men) - clients, staff, volunteers, donors - to form the amazing tapestry of support that we call The Sophia Way. 

Our education about homelessness was enhanced that first night as we learned from the women we intended to serve. We learned what it means to be homeless, how it is not just a lack of a place to sleep. We learned what challenges might prevent a woman from renting an apartment, getting a job, applying for benefits. We learned how to be in community, how to support each other, how to ask for help. Most importantly, we learned that we are all people, not homeless or housed, not well-off or poor, just people, struggling with challenges and trying to live the best life possible.

So, for all the people who have been part of The Sophia Way, those who have slept overnight and those who have stayed awake all night to keep them safe, those who make the meals and those who eat the meals, those who schedule the Dental Van and those who get their teeth fixed, those who donate household goods, toiletries, clothes, time and money and those who put those donations to good use, I have a message.

Thank you. It has been a truly life-changing five years, and I am grateful to all of you.

In Peace,

Karina O'Malley
Board Member, The Sophia Way
One Year of Sophia's Place at St. Luke's
Our overnight shelter, Sophia's Place at St. Luke's Church, is also celebrating its one year anniversary this month! We are remembering all the contractors, cities, foundations, faith organizations, and individual donors who has made this shelter a reality for us. Thank you!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Life in a New City

Thursday November 21, 2013

There are things we take for granted in life, only realizing their value once we have lost them. Take for example Beatrice, a Sophia Way client, who ended up in Seattle after escaping her violent marriage; Beatrice had no where to live other than her car. What she didn't realize until she started looking for a job was that every employer wanted a home address; of course, as she was homeless, she had no address. This quickly becomes a catch 22 scenario - it becomes difficult to get a job without an address, and almost impossible to get a new address without a job. What do you do in such a circumstance? Read more about Beatrice in our feature story in this newsletter.

The Sophia Way opened the Eastside Winter Shelter for women and children at the beginning of November. On the first night, we had 9 women and 4 children compared with only 3 women last year. On average, we have had higher numbers this year so far; we are looking for your help to assure the women and children we serve get adequate meals every night and morning. See how you can help on the right.

Finally, I want to share with you that The Sophia Way Board of Directors has decided to close Sophia's Thrift Shoppe. This was a difficult decision to make, but one that was necessary due to the ongoing struggle to meet the high rent costs of the Shoppe space. While we are sad to see it go, we think this is the right thing to do at this time. For the future, The Sophia Way will continue to focus on becoming a social enterprise with long-range sustainability as the primary objective. Thank you to everyone who contributed mightily by donating to and volunteering at the shop. As we close the doors this weekend, please don't miss out on some amazing deals at our Grand Clearance Sale - please see details below!

Thank you,
Katherine Jordan
Executive Director
New Life in a New City 

Beatrice was in a violent marriage, and her only escape was to leave her husband. She drove to Seattle to start a new life, living in her car. This took tremendous courage and effort.
Beatrice arrived with nothing besides her vehicle. Alone, and with nowhere to turn, Beatrice found the Sophia Way. She quickly discovered that a major obstacle to finding employment would be her lack of address; every application expected one. Should she tell her potential employer that she was homeless? Beatrice's concern was that she would not receive equal consideration.
Beatrice slept in her car until she learned about the Sophia Way. She came to live in our temporary shelter, Sophia's Place, and was able to use this new address. Other obstacles to re-establish independence were addressed when Beatrice moved into the shelter as she was welcomed to attend the Sophia Way Fashion Night. The Fashion Night provides the opportunity for ladies to pick out clothing for interviewing that instills the sense of confidence so necessary during employment search and interviews. Beatrice succeeded at landing a new job - and her case manager helped her to make decisions that aligned with her personal goals for success. 
Today, Beatice is self-sufficient and provides for her own permanent housing.  Beatrice looks forward to returning as a volunteer to the Sophia Way to help others on their path to independence.
In This Issue
New Life in a New City
Winter Shelter & Help with Meals
Sophia's Thrift Shoppe Closing

Winter Shelter & Help with Meals

We are seeing more women and children coming to our Eastside Winter Shelter on average this year compared to last year. On our opening night, November 1st, we served 9 women and 4 children, compared with only 3 women last year. We are so glad to be there for these women and children during our worst weather conditions. However, we need your help! We are in need of meals for our Winter Shelter -- for more details and to sign up, please visit our signup page.
In addition to our Eastside Winter Shelter, every day, 365 days a year, we serve meals to the 21 women staying at our shelter, Sophia's Place at St. Lukes, in Bellevue. We rely on volunteers to purchase the food and prepare these meals for the women. Many of our women have diabetes or other health challenges, so we try to provide healthy meals for them.

Cooking 21 meals can be a bit daunting for one person, but we encourage you to make it a group event. Your group can stay and serve the meal, or just drop it off -- it's entirely up to you. We have many groups that sign up to do this once a month, so you can make it a regular event, or just do it once in a while. Visit our 
shelter meals webpage for the meals calendar and to find days when you can help.

The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County.

Grand Clearance Sale - Everything Must Go!
Sophia's Thrift Shoppe is Closing
After almost nine months of operations, Sophia's Thrift Shoppe is closing. It was a very difficult decision for us to make, especially given the amount of effort it took for it to become operational. However, we believe this is the right decision for us at this time. While the business model was certainly viable, our location has proven not to be.
Which brings us to our Grand Clearance Sale this weekend. This is the last weekend the Shoppe is going to be open for business (Thursday and Friday from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm) and we are having a store wide 75% off sale. There are many bargains to be had as everything must go! Pease spread the word - bring your family and friends to take advantage of this great sale! Get all your holiday shopping done early this year -- we have all our Christmas decorations out too! 
We also want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers, board members, staff and community members who have assisted us in a myriad of ways over the past nine months. It was a huge undertaking for us and we wouldn't have been able to do it without the assistance from our Sophia community! We can't thank you enough for your ongoing support of our mission. Together we will continue to serve the women on the Eastside who need our assistance as they make their journey from homelessness to independence.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Embracing Change

Thursday November 7, 2013

Greetings from The Sophia Way Board of Directors!

In just five short years, Helen Leuzzi has developed The Sophia Way into a respected non-profit and changed the lives of hundreds of adult women experiencing homelessness .  Helen's imprint on our organization will last forever as will the positive impact she has had on all the women we have assisted from homelessness to independence.  In recognition of Helen's small idea that turned into a powerful force for change and optimism, a plaque has been placed, and a tree planted, in her name at our shelter at St. Luke's Church.  We are grateful that Helen was willing to step back into the Executive Director role while we transitioned to a new permanent Executive Director.  Helen has now resigned and we all wish her well in her future endeavors. 

The Sophia Way Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that Katherine Jordan has now stepped into the role of Executive Director after her short planned stint as Assistant Executive Director.  Katherine has been training with Helen over a transitional period that has now ended and she's off and running. Beyond the standard role and responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of The Sophia Way, Katherine will be very focused on the future sustainability of the organization.  With her strong background in fund and partnership development, along with a committed and experienced board, she will develop a strategic plan that will place The Sophia Way on a path to rock-solid stability while maintaining its high level services for women in need.

Katherine Jordan is a Washington native residing in the Bellevue area since 1984. She received a Bachelor Degree in Public Administration (BPA) from Seattle University; she has found her passion for serving others while focusing her career efforts for the past 15 years on partnership development, community building and fund raising.

The Sophia Way looks forward to maintaining our mission of providing shelter, support and housing for women experiencing homelessness while we work diligently to create a sustainable future wherein these services are available to all the women we serve. 
In This Issue
Change in Leadership
A Toast to Springtime in Paris
Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast 2013


A Toast to Springtime in Paris

Friday, November 13th
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Hilton Hotel, Bellevue

Join us for a toast to "Springtime in Paris" Wednesday, November 13th, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel Atrium in Bellevue. This event is sponsored by the Hilton Hotel and Southern Wines. Admission is FREE. However, we are requesting each person bring a bottle of wine valued at $35+ retail for use in our upcoming Auction 2014. There will be wine, appetizers and hand-crafted Thai merchandise for purchase, along with free gift wrapping, for the holidays!

This is our kick-off event for our 2014 Dinner & Auction to be held on March 15th, 2014. Check out the link below for more details and register NOW! to attend.

The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County.

  Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast 2013
& "Best Corporate Partner of The Year" Award    


It was a great show of support from our local business community at our Inaugural Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast at the Red Lion Hotel on October 25th. Our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who joined us that day, all our donors, sponsors and supporters.

We want to thank our Keynote speaker, Naveen Jain, the CEO of inome for delivering a powerful and inspiring speech prodding us to re-frame our challenges and be entrepreneurial in our approach. As he so eloquently stated, the women we serve are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters who are experiencing homelessness in our community.

We also want to thank our featured speaker, Penny Sweet, Councilwoman of the City of Kirkland, for sharing her insights from the government perspective in dealing with homelessness in our community.

Finally, but certainly not least, our gratitude to James Whitfield, the President of Leadership Eastside, for so skillfully handling the job of Emcee and weaving our program together like a fine tapestry. He was inspirational in sharing his story of the child wanting to save the starfish on the beach as he knew a storm was coming. Borrowing James' allegory, we want to take a bucket and save all the starfish we can because the storm is not coming, it is here now. But like all storms, we know it will pass, and we will pull through, because we have a strong community of businesses who recognize their role in supporting our mission to end homelessness for adult women in our community.
At this event, we were honored to recognize The Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue as the recipient of our inaugural Best Corporate Partner of The Year 2013 award. This award was presented in recognition of Red Lion Hotel's outstanding support of The Sophia Way's mission. Over the last few years, The Red Lion Hotel has not only sponsored many major events for The Sophia Way, they have often opened their rooms for women needing emergency shelter and for women recovering from illness who had nowhere else to turn for help.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Invisible Women

Tuesday October 22, 2013

I can't tell you how many times have I seen the startled look on people's faces when I have talked about homelessness as an issue on the Eastside. There is a common perception that homelessness may be an issue in Seattle, but not on the Eastside with it's seeming affluence. And, it is true that the Eastside has more wealthy neighborhoods than Seattle. However, poverty resides right next to the riches, often hidden from plain sight. When it comes to homelessness among women, they have many reasons to be invisible from us. Our feature article below talks about this aspect of homelessness.

I also want to extend my invitation to all of you to join us for our Second Annual Community Business Council (CBC) Benefit Breakfast coming up this Friday, October 25th, 7:30 am at the Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue. There is no cost to attend and the registration link is above. We launched our CBC last year and had our first Benefit Breakfast in October 2012. Since then our CBC has grown to more than 40 members. We greatly benefited from the collective wisdom of the CBC as we ventured into our first entrepreneurial effort, Sophia's Thrift Shoppe, and the launch of the jobs program for our clients. We look forward to creating a stronger collaboration with the local business community in eliminating homelessness for adult women in King County.
Thank you,
Katherine Jordan
Assistant Executive Director
The Invisible Women

The Eastside area of Puget Sound is one of the most affluent areas of the Seattle/Bellevue Metro area. Microsoft, Expedia, and Nintendo all have their headquarters on the Eastside. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos live on the Eastside. Downtown Bellevue is booming, with skyscrapers rising and more high-end condos being added weekly.
But if you ask about homelessness on the Eastside, you will get blank looks. Surely, in this upscale area, there are no homeless people. That's something that Seattle might have to worry about, but not the Eastside.
The numbers tell a different story. The 2013 One Night Count, coordinated by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH), found 197 people without any shelter on the Eastside. Out of those 96 were men, 26 women and gender couldn't be determined for the other 75. And this is surely an undercount; volunteers can't search everywhere, and homeless people are good at hiding.

Women experiencing homelessness take great care not to be visible. If they are homeless and own a car, then often times they sleep in it. Some find refuge in dumpsters, dark alleys, bushes or undergrowth, parking garages and other lightly travelled areas. Some will not get any sleep at night and will just walk around or take the night owl buses. Sometimes they will move between different places, at best getting some fragmented sleep.

There is also a shame associated with being homeless in our culture. We have a tendency to think that this person deserved to be homeless and brought it upon herself. Blaming the victim is easy, but it is much harder to see the systemic nature of the problem. Our economic policies, lack of social support and healthcare systems all contribute to the problem of homelessness.

You cannot easily stereotype women who are homeless. They can dress well and may be walking next to you inside a shopping mall. While this helps the woman survive, it also keeps the problem hidden. If we don't see women who are homeless, then it is an uphill task to convince people that there are so many women experiencing homelessness in our communities.

At The Sophia Way, we provide the services that women need to get back on their feet. We also partner with many sister organizations, individuals, businesses, foundations, and local governments who are working to improve services for this segment of our population. We all need to work together to end homelessness. Obviously, we wish this problem did not exist in any community or anywhere in the world for that matter!  But it does exist.  And we all need to continue to work together to help women who are less fortunate than ourselves.
In This Issue
The Invisible Women
Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast
Corporate Giving

Second Annual Community Business Council Benefit Breakfast

October 25th
7:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Registration at 7:00 a.m.
Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue
You are invited to our second annual Community Business Council (CBC) Benefit Breakfast coming up this Friday. The Sophia Way CBC was launched in 2012 recognizing the need to build a community of local businesses and business leaders who could help us effectively execute our plans moving us closer toward our goal of ending homelessness. This year's breakfast will focus on cultivating economic vitality - the power of social enterprise, connection and contribution. Please join us to listen to our Keynote Speaker, Naveen Jain, inome CEO, talk about integrating business goals with social responsibility. We are also excited to have Penny Sweet, Kirkland City Councilmember, as our featured speaker. James Whitfield, President of Leadership Eastside, will be our emcee for this event.

Inspiring speakers, great breakfast, wonderful networking opportunity, and a cause we can all stand behind. We are looking forward to your participation. You can register at our event page here.

The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County.
Corporate Giving Campaigns
& The Sophia Way
Talking to an employees at the Expedia Social and Human Services Non-Profit Fair

Many corporations in the Pacific Northwest have their Corporate Giving Campaigns this
time of year. If you have friends or family employed with those corporations, please ask them to consider supporting The Sophia Way during their Giving Campaigns. We would really appreciate if they would also help spread the word about The Sophia Way and the critical work that we are doing in the community to end homelessness for adult women in King County. We need a broad spectrum of supporters from all walks of life to end homelessness and to create a thriving community where we all can prosper.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Power of Listening

Thursday October 3, 2013

For yet another year, YOU made our Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon a great success last week! It was my first major event as the Assistant Executive Director at The Sophia Way and it brought home to me what an empowering community can look like when it comes together for a purpose. Thanks to each and every one of you for making The Sophia Way the organization that we are today.

From community partners, sponsors, to volunteers and staff -- there are just so many people to thank who made this event possible. I will not be able to thank each and everyone here. However, I will take this opportunity to thank the Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue, and Danny Rogers the General Manager. They have sponsored this event and many other events for us for many years. But, more than that, they have been an active partner of The Sophia Way in helping the women we serve, sometimes with accommodation, taking care of a client recovering from a surgery, parking and many other personalized services. We are honored to have community partners like Danny Rogers and Red Lion Hotel.

As Summer comes to an end, and Fall starts to bring color to the foliage, we start preparing for Winter -- the harshest months in the Pacific Northwest for the women we serve to survive. Beginning in November we will open our emergency winter shelter on the eastside. For many of us, winter is a natural time of rest, reflection and overall slower pace.  With the cold temperatures and the long, dark nights we often want to take refuge in our warm homes and find a quiet space in which we can arrive at personal renewal after the rush and pressures of the previous three seasons. However, this is NOT so for those of us who are without shelter. It is a hard time for anyone experiencing homelessness. But I know we have your support and that the rain and cold will eventually give way to spring again, in an unfolding that is as old as time itself.
Thank you!
Katherine Jordan
Assistant Executive Director

The Power of Listening

When we listen, with out heart, we make a connection that is difficult to explain in words. It is a powerful experience to be listened to without judgment, and yes, without the expectation of any direct help.

Listening and just being there for the women we serve is the core concept of The Sophia Way Companion Program. And, this was what Dr. Judy Lightfoot, Keynote Speaker at our Journey Luncheon last week, focused on in her speech. Drawing from her long experience of 1 on 1 conversation with many individuals, whom she says are cutoff from mainstream society, she shared stories of her interactions and what she has learned through this process.
Judy mentioned how she gradually came to the realization that "neighborly companionship should be more available for individuals trapped in the invisible ghettos of homelessness and mental illness." She started her first coffee date with Alfred whom she first met at a support group while volunteering at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

There is something powerful about listening to someone without the obligation or the need to help. When we create that safe space where a person can open up without the fear of being judged, we create a sanctuary where the person can listen to herself. We always listen to what others are saying about us. But how often can we put our guards down and just listen to what our mind tells us? As a companion, it can be hard to sit on our wisdom that we all feel so compelled to share. But sometimes, that is exactly what we need -- to be still and to listen.

What if the person you are being a companion to isn't "likeable"? Judy shared what she found very useful -- to focus on one trait of the person that she likes -- it could be the color of their eyes or the quality of their voice. Once a person can feel some warmth coming their way, they can drop their guards and just be themselves. As philosopher Simone Weil wrote, "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."

Could you imagine a world where each of us spent an hour every week meeting a "peaceful stranger on the street"? How beautiful and empowering that would be!
In This Issue
The Power of Listening
What Can 50 Volunteers Do in 4 Hours?

What Can 50 Volunteers Do in 4 Hours?

September 6th was a company-wide volunteerism event at Expedia -- their Day of Caring. More than 50 Expedia employees from the Bellevue office volunteered with us. What happens when 50 dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers join hands with The Sophia Way to help women experiencing homelessness? A great change that is hard to quantify.

One group of 39 Expedia volunteers joined us to spruce up our Holly House. This is a group home where six women live, and there's always something that needs to be done. The Expedia group painted the attic, stairwell, and basement. They did pressure washing, spread gravel, and built a berm to prevent flooding this winter. They also did a bit of edging, weeding, and general yard maintenance. Whew!

Another group of 14 volunteers joined us at our Sophia's Thrift Shoppe. They removed all summer fashion from the racks, sorted through purses, shoes, and prepared the store for Fall sales by filling the racks with over 75 boxes of clothing. They also swept and vacuumed up the dust bunnies!

If you were there, you would never know that all this occurred in just about 4 hours!

We have just one word for our amazing volunteers from Expedia - gratitude. What a community!

The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County.

Expedia volunteers at the Holly House after many hours of hard work.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Changes in The Sophia Way Executive Team


I am honored to be asked to rejoin The Sophia Way as Executive Director and once again lead our team in the support of women on their path from homelessness to independence. I am passionately committed to the women, our mission, the Board of Directors and Staff who bring these goals alive and especially to you, our family of supporters, who enable our work.

I am also very excited about the new leadership format that is in place at The Sophia Way. It is my pleasure to introduce our new Assistant Executive Director, Katherine Jordan. We are thrilled to have her! She will execute the day-to-day operations of the organization as I mentor her efforts and concentrate on strategic planning to deepen and broaden the services and foundation of the organization.

Katherine Jordan is a Washington native and has resided in the Bellevue area since 1984. She received a Bachelor in Public Administration (BPA) from Seattle University and has found her passion for serving others while focusing her career efforts for the past 15 years on partnership development, community building and fund raising. Katherine is very excited to join The Sophia Way and is looking forward to furthering our mission while growing outreach, impact and community.
Katherine and I look forward to celebrating our 5th Anniversary of shelter, support and housing for women experiencing homelessness while we work diligently to create a future wherein these services are available to all the women we serve.
Warmest Regards,
Helen Leuzzi
Executive Director 
How to contact:
Helen -
Katherine - or 425.463.6285 Ext. 101

Thursday, August 1, 2013

With them on their side

Thursday August 1, 2013
During my many years of experience in the service sector, I have always been amazed at human resilience. Given the right opportunities and support, all of us have the ability not only to turn our lives around but also to flourish; many of our clients at The Sophia Way exemplify this belief. The Story of Edna and Yvette is an excellent example of this human resiliency. After 20 years of homelessness, they are now settled in their apartment and happy! Read more about their story below and how we were able to assist them in their journey.
Please don't miss our fifth Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon  coming up on Thursday, September 26th at the Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue. Everyone at The Sophia Way is indebted to Danny Rogers, General Manager/Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue for sponsoring our benefit Luncheon yet again. Every dollar gifted at our Luncheon goes directly to The Sophia Way - a great opportunity for us to raise our funding levels - due to Danny's and Red Lion Hotel's generosity and community spirit. Be sure to join us as we have a wonderful event planned for you. I look forward to meeting you there.
Thank you!
Christie H. Paneiro, MSW, MPA
Executive Director
With them on their side
Edna and Yvette are mother and daughter who were homeless for nearly 20 years. Most nights you could find them sleeping in their pick-up truck making sure not to stay in one area too long to avoid detection and to stay safe. They began to frequent the Angeline's Eastside Day Center at the Bellevue First Congregational Church. Slowly the staff from the Sophia Way and Angeline's gained their trust, befriending them while helping to meet their needs, once even waiting with them in the rain for roadside assistance to fix a flat tire. Our relationship with them grew, their trust grew, and finally they agreed to come into our office for an intake and we began talking about housing. We were able to refer them to the Landlord Liaison Program which enabled us to house them in an apartment. The timing couldn't have been better, as shortly after they moved in Edna became extremely ill needing hospitalization. Their Case Manager was with them when Edna's doctor delivered the news that Edna's prognosis was not very good...Edna was not expected to survive. She surprised everyone - SHE SURVIVED - and also importantly, she had a home to which she could return which no doubt contributed to her willingness and eagerness to fight for survival.

Edna and Yvette's lives have improved dramatically over the past year. Edna has focused on her health, has lost weight and appears healthy, contented and happy. Yvette's focus is school. Given that she is having some difficulty with her math class we are hoping to find a tutor for her. They have joined a Church community with Yvette planning to be  baptized soon. They attend church functions regularly and seem to be very happy in this community. They have been housed for more than three years. Those who know them are amazed at where they are now after spending 20 years homeless and adrift.
In This Issue
With Them on Their Side
Save the Date: Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon
Half-off Sale at Sophia's Thrift Shoppe

Save the Date: The Sophia Way Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon

September 26
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue
It is that time of the year again! Save the date now for our Annual Benefit Journey Luncheon on Sept 26th at the Red Lion Hotel, Bellevue. This year, our theme is "Community is Empowerment" to celebrate and honor the wonderful community in which we live. Our almost five year journey with you has provided many much needed services to women who without a caring community might have lost their way.

We are excited to have Judith Lightfoot, Ph.D. as our Keynote Speaker. Notable Journalist, Author and Poet, Judith covers the social concerns section for Crosscut. We are very happy to have Shannon Bell back as our emcee this year as well!
We look forward to seeing you at the luncheon. Stay tuned for the formal invite coming your way in two weeks.

The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County.

Save 50%
Summer Sale - 50% off all merchandise!
Yes, you read that right! Next Saturday, August 10th we are having a Half-Off sale. And, that applies to EVERYTHING at the Shoppe. Shop the whole day -- 10:00 am to 5:00 pm -- without making a big dent in your bank account. You can even get an early start to your holiday shopping!

Share the good news with everyone -- we don't want anyone to miss out on this BIG SALE.

Saturday, August 10th 2013 at the Sophia's Thrift Shoppe.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer is the time for events and Virtual events

Thursday June 27, 2013

The summer months bring forth great anticipation for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the Great Northwest. As the sun shines in full glory and the rain becomes a distant memory, many festivities and outdoor celebrations spring up in different communities in the Puget Sound area. At The Sophia Way, we get busy with different events too, as it is a great opportunity for us to mingle with the community to let them know about the valuable work we are doing. This July 2nd we will be the featured charity at the inaugural night of the Summer Outdoor Movies at the Park in Bellevue sponsored by inome and Bellevue Parks and Community Service. We deeply appreciate the charitable work in which inome  engages in our community. Also, on July 4th we will be at the Symetra Bellevue Family 4th event sponsored by Symetra, Bellevue Downtown Association and the City of Bellevue. Both of these events are a lot of fun and I hope many of you will be able to join us.

We want to thank everyone who bought tickets for the Girl Rising film screening on July 15th. Not only did we reach our minimum sales for the screening to happen but we SOLD OUT. We look forward to seeing you at the screening. We are happy to be able to spread the word about the value of educating girls and the positive influence educating them has on the lives of millions of people around the world.

Events are fun. But how about a non-event, or in other words a "virtual event" that you don't actually have to attend? No dressing up required and no challenging traffic and/or parking!  Sounds interesting? Just wait for our next email - we will let you know where NOT to go for an event that's NOT happening!

Thank you!
Christie H. Paneiro, MSW, MPA
Executive Director

Summer Outdoor Movies at the Park - Inaugural Night with The Sophia Way
Summer is finally here and Bellevue's FREE outdoor movies at the park is back with a fabulous lineup of family friendly movies. Time to bring out your low-back chairs and blankets, picnic with friends, family and neighbors and watch movies in a 40 foot inflatable screen. inome in partnership with Bellevue Parks and Community Services is bringing you eight fun movies - one every week at the Downtown Bellevue  Park. You can check out the full schedule and more details here:

In addition to having a great time, you will also have an opportunity to support many great social causes. Each week's movie is dedicated to a non-profit. The Sophia Way is the featured charity for the inaugural night. We will have a booth at which we will serve free popcorn (sponsored by inome) and collect any donations - in-kind or cash. Suggested in-kind donation items are listed on the summer movies website.

Enjoy free popcorn, support The Sophia Way, sit back, relax and watch Dracula.  Not to be a spoiler but who can resist a great plot line: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into over protective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teenage daughter. What better way to enjoy a summer evening?
In This Issue
Summer Outdoor Movies at the Park
Girl Rising: Countdown Begins
Symetra Bellevue Family 4th


Girl Rising: Countdown begins

We have SOLD OUT the screening for Girl Rising. We are very excited to be able to share the message about the education of girls with all of you through this powerful movie.
Girl Rising tells the stories of 9 girls from around the world who face - and overcome -- unbelievable obstacles on the path toward getting an education. These are incredibly moving stories -- you'll be inspired. Alicia Keys connecting to the pain of a 7-year-old girl in Haiti after the earthquake, with a happy ending. Meryl Streep reading the beautiful words of Maaza Mengiste and enveloping the story of a girl who escapes early childhood marriage in Ethiopia. These are stories that will fill you with hope.

By joining us in this screening you'll be creating generational change. 66 million girls out there in the world need you. They need your awareness, your voice and the pressure you can bring to bear on our elected officials and the UN and all the other influential organizations to help make better choices available for girls.

July 4th Celebrations at the Bellevue Downtown Park 
Celebrate Independence Day this July 4th at the  Symetra Bellevue Family 4th at the Downtown Bellevue Park. This is Eastside's largest and one of the most spectacular fireworks shows in the Pacific Northwest that attracts 60,000 people! And, the Sophia Way will be there with fun activities spreading the word about our work. Please stop by our booth and meet our amazing volunteers!
This year's event will feature live performances including the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra, Longstride (Reggae, Rock and Groove Band) and Idol Eyez. There will be a variety of food stalls - something to like for everyone. Family Fun Zone will entertain throughout the day with a variety of activities including free entertainment, jugglers, mascot characters, face painting, free interactive games and more.
For complete details, including directions and parking information, check out the Bellevue Downtown Association's event page.