Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keep a Roof Over Their Heads....

I first learned about the Keep a Roof Over Their Heads event through a fellow swim team parent and Chair of the YWCA, Sheri Price.  She put me in contact with the YWCA Executive Director, Tanis Crosby, and  a bond was formed.  Tanis donated blood at my Forty 4 Change Blood Drive {read about it here} and my daughter, Fleur, gave art supplies collected at her birthday party to the HERizon program of the YWCA.  

The Keep a Roof Over Their Heads event was established to raise funds and awareness for the Wish and HERizon programs run by the YWCA.   I wasn't aware of these much needed programs...and I imagine many aren't aware of programs like these in their own communities.

What is WISH?
YWCA Halifax’s Women in Supported Housing Program (WISH) is a scattered supported housing program serving a maximum of 24 single women ages 19 and older who have experienced chronic homelessness. Each WISH program participant is provided a fully furnished apartment and the support they need to stay housed. The WISH program provides a variety of supports and services to the participants, such as financial management, home visitation, eviction prevention, case planning, advocacy, service navigation and 24-hour emergency on-call support.  

What is HERizons?
YWCA HERizons is a supportive, affordable housing program for single mothers attending post-secondary education and serves a maximum of five women-led families. HERizons participants work cooperatively to maintain the building property, which allows them access to below-market rent and the use of free on site laundry facilities. With a continuum of support, single mothers at HERizons have a supportive culture of peers, access to 24-hour on call emergency support, advocacy and referrals, service navigation and links to parenting resource and support programs.

Participants will reach economic independence and long-term housing security. The HERizons housing program provides an immediate relief to homelessness, while increasing the capacity for the mid-to long-term prevention of homelessness among single mothers and their children. 

When I learned that the YWCA was creating a special fundraiser, in the form of a breakfast, I wanted to find a way to be involved.  I purchased a table for the breakfast and decided to invite individuals that I had met through the year, worked with in a give back initiative, or whom I felt had supported me in the Forty 4 Change project in a unique way.  

When we entered the room to the event we were lead through re-enactments of the experiences of quickly set the tone for why we were there.

At every place setting there was a card meant to represent a of the first things Tanis did was let us know what she wanted from us.  The YWCA was asking that each of us commit to donating a shingle to their roof, in the form of a monthly donation, in the hopes that with enough shingles we would help to support a woman in the program escape homelessness for one more month.

When Sheri Price stood to speak, she talked about courage....and the idea that homelessness affects people from every walk of life, not just those we stereotype.  It was a powerful message and brought home the realization that circumstances can lead anyone to the troubled place of homelessness.

I was all too aware of the affect the breakfast had on the guests at my table....nothing like a good cry first thing in the morning!
By the end of the breakfast, the makeshift home on the stage had a full shingled roof....

Thank you to all my special guests for attending the event, supporting Forty 4 Change, and for giving of yourselves without expecting anything in return.

Stay tuned for the full story on the The Tree of Change and a Party at the Barn event like no other!

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic event. It was a tearful reading. I hope that many women were able to reap the benefits of so many attendees, and many shingles were collected for more than one roof. xoxo