As the New Year ushered in, we celebrated the good news that one of our clients secured a job after being unemployed for 2 months, and another client moved to her own apartment. Both are looking forward to reuniting with their children and grandchildren, respectively. We are very excited for their future. In this edition of our newsletter we are sharing the story of Patty, another client, who has worked very hard at overcoming distrust - something that can be very common for people dealing with homelessness.
Additionally, we are sharing a note from one of our Community Business Council (CBC) members who recalls her first interaction with us and how she felt when she unexpectedly learned about the issue of homelessness in our affluent Eastside community.
Please mark your calendar as we are co-hosting a free screening of the "American Winter" on January 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirkland. Please join us for this unique and informative documentary, portraying how homelessness affected eight American families, and stay for the discussion afterwards. See more details about this event below.
Finally, we are gearing up for our annual benefit dinner and auction on March 15th at the Hilton Hotel in Bellevue -- you won't want to miss this opportunity for a very fun and exciting evening all in support of adult women who are experiencing homelessness. Our email invitations will be sent February 3rd, but you can register on our website beginning the week of January 20th. Invite your friends, family, neighbors... I'm looking forward to seeing you there!
As The Sophia Way enters its sixth year, we are busy preparing a five year business plan focusing on sustainability and scalability. You will be hearing more from me about the execution of our new plan as we progress through 2014. Together we will build a strong, resilient and sustainable organization carrying our mission forward with the ability to provide more services to those in desperate need of shelter.
From Distrust to Independence
Patty came to The Sophia Way with debilitating mental health issues. She was very fearful of people. She stayed mostly on her own and was frightened of her surroundings. Patty had cause for deep-seated distrust; since early childhood she had been victimized. When she entered The Sophia Way, Patty cooperated with her doctors to better regulate her medications. As a result, she began to venture outside the shelter to take walks, but she continued to get scared very easily.
The Sophia Way helped Patty enter into relationships in our Companion program. Companions are trained volunteers who travel side by side with a woman in need of friendship and support during an admittedly desperate period in her life. Patty met with her companion enjoying walks, friendship, and a valuable listening ear. Eventually she confided in her companion that she wanted to obtain gainful employment. Transportation was such a difficult factor in her life. She feared that even if she found a job she would have no way to get to it. To help overcome these fears, Patty's companion showed her how to use the bus system. They traveled day after day to the same place, so that Patty could be confident that she could go and come from a singular location. Eventually, Patty became comfortable riding the bus alone.
Finally Patty did get a part time job. Patty is now living in a subsidized apartment which is a big step forward. The Sophia Way Companion program was invaluable in Patty's journey to independence. We are glad to see the progress Patty has made. We are confident she is creating a new and stronger foundation on which she will be able to regain her financial stability and independence.
Free Screening: American Winter
January 17, 2014, 7 pm
Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church 308 4th Ave South, Kirkland
Millions of people who work hard and play by the rules are still out of jobs, out of luck, and out of time. Homelessness is on the rise in almost every city. Wages are stagnant. Where do people turn for help?
The good news is that more people are accepting the reality of what is going on in our own communities, and are ready to take action.
American Winter, a film by Emmy winning directors Joe and Harry Ganz, features struggling families who called into the 211 social services hotline in search of help during the depths of the recession in the winter of 2012. Framed through the very personal stories of eight families, American Winter reveals the devastating fallout of the mortgage meltdown, unemployment, the health care crisis and a shrinking social safety net.
This isn't just about what's going wrong, but also what it would take for things to be going right again for these families and millions of others.
After the movie, we'll have a discussion about how to make potential solutions a reality right here in East King County. When neighbors and community members come together to learn that our economic strength doesn't come from the top down, but from the middle out and bottom up, we can make the economy stronger for all. Click here to RSVP.
In This Issue
From Distrust to Independence
FREE Screening: American Winter
Seeing the Invisible
SAVE THE DATE: Auction 2014
Seeing the Invisible
Shannon Bell is the Northwest Regional Treasury Sales Manager and Senior Vice President at Key Bank. She wrote this piece for us after learning about The Sophia Way and our programs. She serves on The Sophia Way Community Business Council and is part of the Key Executive Women's Network. Shannon is committed to education and diversity within the communities she serves.
I pride myself on my love for the Eastside Community. For years, I sat in my office in Bellevue, driving back and forth, in and out of the Key Tower and I missed it! I remember the day when I was given a gracious invitation to tour The Sophia Way Women's Shelter. I couldn't believe it was directly across the street from my office. I could see the church from my window.
There's so much support in this incredible place. Warm meals, counselors, resources and a place to rest. The Sophia Way works tirelessly creating opportunities for women to rebuild their confidence and allow them to gain skills and experience that will mend their broken ladder for endless heights. How did I miss them? After I got past my guilt, I was so thankful The Sophia Way was here for them.
Women are lost in a place that so many have always called their home. This is our beautiful Eastside where we are blessed with wealth and opportunity. It's time we look a little harder, dig a bit deeper, and support all that call the Eastside home.
SAVE THE DATE:
The Sophia Way Annual Dinner & Auction
March 15, 2014 5:00 p.m.
Hilton Hotel, Bellevue
We are gearing up for our biggest event of the year -- The Sophia Way Annual Dinner and Auction!
Mark the date on your calendar now! It is going to be a spectacular event -- you won't want to miss it! We will be sending out the formal invitation with link to register on February 3rd. You can also register on our website beginning the week of January 20th. Stay tuned!
The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County.