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Friday Round-Up: This Week in the News

April 18, 2014

“Nearly 23 million Americans live with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Very few of these men and women are potential mass-murderers; they need help for their own well-being and for that of their families. A few, though, need services that will keep them from harming themselves or others. The nation’s health system needs to do better at treating all types.” Mental health care in the U.S. needs a check-up (Washington Post)

“This morning’s event represented the belated kickoff of the 500 Families, 100 Days initiative—an outreach to landlords that Gray said he hoped would ‘demonstrate that the District of Columbia is a compassionate place.’” Gray Kicks Off Rapid Rehousing Outreach, But Questions Remain (Washington City Paper)

“The findings are the latest in a bleak but growing body of literature suggesting long-term unemployment has become a trap that is difficult to escape. Economists say that means the long-term unemployed could become a permanent underclass, left behind by the nation’s broader economic recovery.” Long-term unemployed struggle to find—and keep—jobs (Washington Post)

“There’s this [misconception] that people that don’t work and that are trying to abuse the system use Snap. If someone is eligible for benefits, they don’t want to be associated as one of those folks. Maybe they feel uncomfortable going in a store and using their EBT card, because someone could think they’re someone like that, they are one of those folks [that commit fraud]. That’s one of those things we try to correct. That is not the reality of the program.” Food stamps: why recipients are haunted by stigmas and misconceptions (The Guardian)

Paint & Sip: A Volunteer Appreciation Event

April 14, 2014

Last Saturday, we wrapped up National Volunteer Week with a creative flourish at our Paint and Sip volunteer appreciation event!  For the uninitiated, paint and sip is a new way to learn to paint in a social environment, with tasty beverages and snacks to lend inspiration, and we were so excited to thank our volunteers in just this way!

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The day was warm and sunny, and instructors Ellen and Sheppard opened up the windows while we painted, enjoyed fruit, cheese, and Italian soda, and luxuriated in the sunshine.

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To Capitol Hill Arts Workshop for hosting us, Ellen and Sheppard for donating your time, and all of our volunteers who joined us, thank you!

paint n sip photo

Friday Round-Up: This Week in the News

April 11, 2014

“Of the ten programs DCSEU runs, five are specifically aimed at affordable housing in the low-income community.” What do solar panels have to do with affordable housing? A lot. (Elevation DC)

“Among the many provisions in the bill is one that would require domestic assault suspects to be held for at least six hours after an arrest to allow time of a safety plan to be developed for the accuser.” Massachusetts House passes domestic violence bill (Boston Herald)

“Mentally ill people aren’t killers. Angry people are.” How to Stop Violence (Slate)

“The bill—actually a set of three related bills—would allow the biggest proposed development project in Anacostia to go forward.” Once a Foe of New Ward 8 Apartments, Barry Seeks Special Approval of Anacostia Project (Washington City Paper)

“The minimum wage challenges are in hopes of highlighting the issue as a large number of states move toward higher wages while action stalls in Congress.” Lawmakers Take the “Minimum Wage Challenge” To Eat Off A Reduced Budget For A Week (ThinkProgress)

Three Cheers for the Taproot Foundation!

April 11, 2014

taprootIt’s National Volunteer Week, and thanks to the Taproot Foundation, we’re growing our volunteer program in 2014!  The Taproot Foundation is a leader in the pro bono movement, connecting professionals with non-profit organizations where they can use their talents, and we’re proud to be a grantee of the Taproot Foundation, whose expertise will grow our volunteer outreach. Last week, Janae Detwiler, Operations Coordinator, told me a bit about the Taproot Foundation grant and what it means for our Volunteer Program.

Could you give a quick overview of the Taproot Foundation grant and the pro bono team we’re working with?

Taproot is a grant-making foundation that allocates grants in the form of pro bono services to non-profit organizations. Calvary’s particular Taproot pro bono grant has been awarded to strategically examine the growth and development of our Volunteer Program. Our wonderful pro bono team is made up of five members—an account director, a project manager, and three human resources specialists, all of whom bring many years of experience and expertise to the project.

What are some of the goals for the Volunteer Program through this grant?

We are still in the process of fine-tuning our specific deliverables, but we aim to utilize the pro bono team’s expertise to increase the number of active and consistent volunteers involved in meaningful volunteer service at Calvary. This will involve developing new volunteer roles, finding ways to improve the volunteer roles already in place, and finding new avenues for volunteer recruitment and retention.

Why is this project important?

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in our new home on Good Hope Road for over a year now! With the move to the new facility, Calvary’s programs developed and expanded in order to serve more residents in an even more holistic way. We became interested in a partnership with Taproot to help us examine how our Volunteer Program’s strategic growth can mirror the strategic growth we’ve seen in our facilities, program, and impact over the course of the last year.

What are you most excited about for the future of the Volunteer Program at Calvary?

The awesome thing about our Volunteer Program is that it draws the most compassionate, caring people who are deeply invested in serving Calvary residents on their journeys. The thing that I am most excited about in the future of our Volunteer Program is finding new ways to harness volunteer time, talent, and enthusiasm to support Calvary residents. There are few things more exciting than a great volunteer getting plugged in to a role that is meaningful to them and serves our residents in an essential, irreplaceable way.

Any great volunteer stories?

Rev. Janae Moore, a veteran Calvary volunteer, teaches a bi-weekly LEAP (Life skills, Education, and Arts Program) class titled “Healing Heart and Soul” which focuses on grief and soul care. Rev. Moore’s class is a treasure to Calvary residents! When staff recently suggested that the class change from an all-inclusive to a small group format, the idea was a total flop because none of the residents could bear to relinquish their spot in the class. This just goes to show that Calvary volunteers play indispensable roles in the life of the organization and its residents! We’re excited to work with Taproot to find more ways for essential connections to be made between enthusiastic volunteers and our residents’ needs.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: “Feed the Need” Trio

April 10, 2014

20140330_180522Tricia, Twana, and Ethelene make up the “Feed the Need”  trio. Years ago, they were connected to Calvary through their church, and they’ve been a steady presence on site since then.

This generous trio of friends now come to Calvary twice a month to serve dinner, and we are so grateful for the the warmth they bring to our volunteer program. To Tricia, Twana and Ethelene, thank you for your dedication to women at Calvary!

How are you involved at Calvary Women’s Services?

We serve meals to women at Calvary on the weekends.

Why do you volunteer at Calvary?  

When we felt the passion to start volunteering again, Calvary was the one place where we felt a connection. For us, volunteering at Calvary has been a divine destination and every interaction with the Calvary residents solidifies that. There are other organizations that have a need for the same level of service and commitment, but it was as if Calvary chose us! We simply answered the call.

What do you like best about your work with Calvary?

2014-04 feed the need trio 2How receptive, thankful, grateful, and sincere the women are! When they see us, their faces light up and they waste no time in letting us know how happy they are that we are volunteering. We are so connected to the women that when preparing meals, we keep in mind the foods and desserts they enjoy. It’s like being with family. Every time we go, an overwhelming since of humility envelops us. We get such joy in serving at Calvary. We are blessed to share what little we have with the ladies. It’s been an amazing journey.

What has been your most memorable experience?

Last Christmas/New Year’s, we prepared a special meal for the residents. We had an awesome idea to buy party hats, horns, and other fun items. We decorated the dining room and played some music. What a surprise it was for the residents when they entered the room! It was a fun time for all. At the end of the night, the residents all got together and said a huge “Thank You” harmoniously. That moment brought tears to ours eyes. In that moment we knew the journey with Calvary would continue on!

What has surprised you most about volunteering at Calvary? 

When first coming to Calvary, we didn’t know what kind of atmosphere we might experience.  We wanted to build a rapport with the ladies. We were awestruck at the grateful attitude of each Calvary resident. The women are so much fun to be around. We love the moments we get to share with them!

If you had to choose ONE word to describe Calvary, what would it be?

Twana: Rewarding!

Tricia:  Gratifying!

Ethelene: Satisfying!

Meal Volunteers such as Twana, Tricia, and Ethelene support the residents at Calvary by serving tasty and nutritious dinner and lunch meals on the weekends. If you would like to learn more about volunteering at Calvary, please contact Catherine Bisson at cbisson@calvaryservices.org or (202) 678-2341.

 

Why We Love Our Volunteers

April 9, 2014

by Janae Detwiler, Operations Coordinator

thank you program staffIt’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and we at Calvary Women’s Services join the rest of the country in commending volunteers for the vast impact they have in their community by sharing their time and talent.

Calvary’s dedicated team of volunteers helps every single day in a multitude of ways. They serve meals on site to women at Calvary, assist in administrative tasks, join crowd-funding campaigns, teach LEAP classes, host game nights and book clubs, and even stay overnight to supervise our programs! Last year, over 300 Calvary volunteers donated over 5,000 hours of volunteer service, and we are so grateful for their service!

Our committed team of volunteers is essential to the success of our programs, and their presence on site let women at Calvary know that someone cares. The time and energy they invest in our programs has an incredible impact. To our amazing crew of volunteers: thank you! We hope that you remain part of the Calvary family for many years to come!

Check out what some Calvary residents and staff have to say about these friendly faces below.

I appreciate Peter for taking the time and bringing his own supplies to make pancakes for us on the mornings of his overnight shifts. Peter is so down to earth. He takes the time to talk with us and get to know us. He has a very calming presence and gentle spirit. – Calvary Resident

I appreciate the way volunteers make our lives a little bit easier by looking out for our daily needs. I enjoy all of the different meals that volunteers bring, and I appreciate the time and care that they put in to making the meal. You can always tell it was made with love. – Calvary Resident

I love the energy and enthusiasm volunteers bring. None of Calvary’s events or fundraising efforts would be possible without your help. Thank you! – Calvary Staff Member

It’s so amazing that we have a volunteer monitoring the overnight shift every single night of the year! – Calvary Staff Member

I appreciate Byron. He always has breakfast ready on time and everything ready to go. He’s on top his game! – Calvary Resident

Patrice is so energetic and clearly a “doer.” She blows in like the wind, willing to help. – Calvary Staff Member

The ladies are always so happy when California Tortilla arrives with their delicious food and energetic spirit! Thank you for creating healthy meals for the residents. – Calvary Staff Member

Katie is amazing. She’s so laid back, extremely humble, and here to make a difference. Her intentions are 100% to help the ladies however she can! – Calvary Staff Member

Corrine and her son come with a spirit to give and they are enthusiastic about serving the women. I love that Corrine involves her son in serving those in need! – Calvary Staff Member

Grace is always on time, consistent, pleasant, and open to learning. She engages so well with the residents and takes initiative in a gentle way. – Calvary Staff Member 

Thanks to Project Affinity for hosting their fun, festive game nights for the women at Calvary! They lighten my spirit and make me laugh. – Calvary Resident 

I appreciate our volunteers because they are selfless to give back in a time of great need. They could be doing anything else but they choose to be here. – Calvary Resident

Meet the 2014 Hope Awards Dinner Honorees

April 7, 2014

Thirteen years ago, Calvary Women’s Services created the Hope Awards to recognize individuals who offer hope, inspiration and empowerment to women in need. Past Hope Awards have honored women like NPR’s Diane Rehm,  entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson, television journalist Katie Couric, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and we’re thrilled to announce this year’s honorees!

Judy Smith, Judy Smith ManagementOn May 14, Judy Smith will receive Calvary’s Hope Award in recognition of her commitment to making a difference and her service as a role model for women. Ms. Smith is the high profile crisis management expert whose career inspired the hit television show “Scandal”.  Over her extensive career, Ms. Smith has served as Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush and advised several high-profile celebrities, politicians, and corporations around the world. Ms. Smith, a DC native, has also worked with several federal agencies and organizations on issues including the housing crisis, education and economic development. Her strong commitment to philanthropic work has spanned her career.

TerriFreeman picTerri Lee Freeman will be honored for her visionary leadership in the philanthropic community. Currently the President of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and previously the Executive Director of the Freddie Mac Foundation, Ms. Freeman has been recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women of Washington, by the Washington Business Journal as one of the “Women Who Mean Business”, and as a Washingtonian of the Year. She has dedicated her career to philanthropy and supporting those most in need, both professionally and through extensive service on local boards of directors.

Join us on May 14th as we celebrate the incredible contributions these women have made to the community. See you there!

The Details:

13th Annual Hope Awards Dinner
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 7:00: Cocktail reception and silent auction
7:00 to 9:00: Dinner, live auction and awards program
Location: The Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Tickets: $250 per person, available online

 

 

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