When nothing else works We turn to our most
effective tool & it never fails
I faced down my dragon How I walked away with my head held high
We bow to you Overwhelmed by your
you can help
nothing else works
We turn to our most
effective tool & it never fails
am so lonely."
The woman sitting across from me in the Sophia's Place Day
Center office laments, unbidden tears streaming down her cheeks. Ashamed of
her admission, she tries to hide her face, but she knows she needs to talk
As Day Center Manager, much of my job entails tending to hurting human
hearts. It's fair to say that everyone who walks through my doorway is
hurting in some way. Professionally speaking, this is called "Trauma
Informed Care". But I call it one word: Compassion.
on that actual day - I had Christmas lights in my hair for the yuletide
amusement of Day Center guests.
Compassion takes many forms at the Day Center. Compassion is what
inspires individuals and groups to donate warm, nutritious meals for
breakfast and lunch to feed the bodies and hearts of guests at the shelter.
Compassion urges community members to bring us gloves, clothes, hats, and
coats to protect women and children experiencing homelessness from the
wind, rain and cold. Compassion energizes our volunteers to give of their
time and energy to helping the Day Center live up to its full potential of
being a resource and comforting shelter to those in need. Compassion is the
commitment and practice of staff and service providers at the shelter as we
interact with this vulnerable population.
Loss and pain can come to anyone at any time. It takes a compassionate
community to tend to the needs of its members, to help them through those
tough times that are beyond what any individual can bear alone. Matching an
individual's needs to the available resources requires knowledge about what
is offered by literally hundreds of agencies and organizations, as well as
creative problem solving to develop and discuss action plans and plausible
solutions to so many of the accompanying issues facing individuals
experiencing homelessness: domestic violence, disability, mental illness,
dysfunctional family, lack of social support, unemployment, evictions,
addiction, aging, insufficient income, health issues.
Many times I can offer resources that meet the needs of the individual, and
it's a beautiful thing. Like the time I was able to help someone obtain
transportation to the Social Security Administration, just so she could get
her ID card and finally proceed with her housing. Or helping someone find
professional clothing and makeup so she can feel confident at her interview
and get that job. Or find a safe, warm place for them and their children to
sleep for that night - one day at a time. The stories just keep growing.
But that day I realized that there was no resource, no agency, no program,
no donation I could offer to the woman sitting across from me with the
broken heart from a broken life. Yet ... I have compassion, and that may be
exactly what she needs.
I handed her a tissue with an understanding smile and reassured her:
"Mmmm. Yeah ... loneliness ... I can relate. But you are *always*
Carrie De Vault
Manager, Sophia's Place Day Center
I faced down my dragon
When I arrived at Sophia's, I was lost
The circumstances in which I found myself,
Were as frightening, as they were tragic.
A new place full of unknowns filled me
That first night at the Emergency Shelter.
With time my reality changed,
When I first arrived at The Sophia Way I
was sure I was losing my mind
if I had not lost it already.
Abuse, control, and fear does that,
to borrow a line from Dune
"Fear is the little mind killer."
When in fear, our thoughts become muddy,
our focus blurred.
With time, I forged new relationships and
I learned to trust again.
Most importantly, in myself.
I learned just because we stumble, does
not mean we are doomed to failure.
I grew, learned to smile and laugh again.
The Sophia Way tempered me,
Took what was weak, and shaken
and through caring, understanding, and an
ear to listen,
made it strong.
I faced down my dragon,
That which I had feared and dreaded.
Something I wouldn't have been able to do
If not for great staff at my side,
cheering me on.
I came out successful, I slew my dragon.
walked away head held high.
them, I fear for where I would have ended up.
I stand here a success.
not by the measure of wealth and power,
in strength and perseverance.
leave you with the words of Maya Angelou
though you may face many defeats, may you never be defeated."
* This poem is
written by Jennifer Kerr-Healy, one of the women in our program. She
recited this poem at our Donor and Volunteer appreciation evening in
December last year. She is currently working full time and will be moving
into her own apartment later this month.
We bow to you
In recognition of your overwhelming generosity
We set an ambitious goal for
our year-end fundraising. We set out to raise $150,000 in
individual donations in the last quarter of 2014. That was close to
double of what we had raised in 2013 during the same period. And the
result? You helped us surpass that goal! We received a little more than
$153,000 in donations from more than 375 individuals. This is huge! You
have propelled us into 2015 with a strong financial foundation and helped
change lives. A women has shelter and a pathway to a better future, as you
read this, because you made it possible. We hope you are feeling good about
that. We are tremendously grateful for your support for the mission of The
We also received more than
$80,000 in grants from foundations in the last quarter of 2014 (some
preferred to remain anonymous). Thank you!
Beighle Family Foundation
Moccasin Lake Foundation
Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Foundation
The Norcliffe Foundation
The Charles See Foundation
Sill Family Foundation Inc.
Far Family Foundation
The Seattle Foundation
The McKibben Merner Family Fund
The Safeway Foundation
Thank you for your caring support in assisting women from homelessness to
independence. As always, we cannot do this work without you. Only with you.
And you can help
Thanks to you, we are now in
a strong position to expand our small, but mighty team. Filling these
positions will allow us to grow our capacity to serve. We have these
We are seeking an
Executive Director who is passionate, understands the critical role the
organization plays in addressing the issue of homelessness for women in
King County, and can lead us into the future.
Lead Case Manager
This position will provide
services to clients and lead a team of Case Managers who provide tools,
guidance, assistance with housing search, and referrals to clients in our
shelter and housing programs for women.
In addition, we are also
looking for a part-time volunteer Development Intern. This
is an excellent opportunity for an individual looking to learn more about a
career in development and event organization.
For more information about
any of these programs and to apply, please visit the jobs page on our website. Spread
the word if you know anyone who might be interested in any of the open
mission of The Sophia Way is to help end homelessness for adult women in
King County by providing shelter, life skills training, social services and
supportive permanent housing, offering a path from homelessness to stable
Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County