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.