Volunteer Spotlight: Chris

This month get to know N Street Village volunteer Chris Scott. Chris has been an active volunteer since January 2017. Each Spring, we host a Family & Friends Community Garden Day, and Chris has played instrumental role in supporting and planning the event. From choosing the veggies, to helping the volunteer team transport all the items, and  to ensuring when volunteers arrive to garden we are ready to go! His passion and knowledge of gardening make the Village vibrant throughout the growing season. Let’s get to know Chris… 

 

Originally from rural Illinois, I have been a DC resident for over a decade. During that time I’ve been heavily involved with urban farming in the District — both for work and for fun—and I currently teach gardening and cooking at an elementary school in Ward 7. I first got involved serving meals at N Street Village several years ago before taking a lead role planning and managing N Street Village’s courtyard vegetable, herb, and flower garden. I also volunteer regularly with DC’s Casey Trees and Rock Creek Conservancy. Now two years sober, I have been enormously inspired by the women of N Street Village, many of whom have overcome battles with addiction and substance abuse themselves. My wife and I are expecting first child in March and couldn’t be happier!

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area?

I grew up in Central Illinois and moved to DC in 2006.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant?

Ben’s Chili Bowl.

On a Sunday morning you will find me…

Gardening, going on a stroll through Rock Creek Park, or baking a pie!

Who is one of your favorite musicians?

Miles Davis, particularly his 1969 album In a Silent Way.

What is last movie you watched (and enjoyed)?

I just saw Alfonso Cuarón’s excellent new film Roma at E Street Cinema and loved it! A truly beautiful and moving film.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less.

Loving, vibrant, compassionate.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village?

Getting the opportunity to serve such an inspiring and amazing community — to learn, connect, and grow as a human being, and to be a better neighbor and resident of this great city.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories?

Friends and Family Day 2018 was such an amazing experience. To see so many people of all ages come out and totally transform the courtyard and tree boxes into a beautiful and nurturing space for N Street Village’s residents was really inspiring and motivating.

 

Come out to meet Chris and the the rest of our awesome N Street Village volunteers on April 27th for this year’s Family & Friends Community Garden Day!!!

Peggie

“I feel proud of myself today. I am an example of what is possible.”

Peggie grew up in D.C. in a large family – the oldest girl with 12 siblings. Her father was a minister and her mother worked for the Department of Agriculture. After graduating from high school and finishing some college courses, Peggie worked as a kindergarten teacher for three years.

Peggie started dating; she and her boyfriend were drinking and partying and Peggie found herself pregnant. A few years after her son was born, her boyfriend left her and her son to survive on their own. Peggie got a job with Child Protective Services, but continued to drink – “I thought alcohol would cure my pain.”

After the birth of her second child, Peggie continued to work for Child Protective Services. She thought she had her drinking under control. That all changed when she went to work drunk one day and promptly lost the job she loved.

Peggie struggled to keep a steady job, and somehow managed despite her continued drinking. However, during the economic downturn in 2009, Peggie lost another job and shortly after lost her house.

“I spiraled out – I couldn’t deal with life anymore.”

After years of drinking, Peggie was ready for a change. She reached out to her son, who did some research online and found N Street Village. After entering the Village Day Center and meeting Evelyn Green, Day Services Manager, Peggie felt ready to make real, positive change. She entered the Village Recovery Housing program.

While in the Recovery Housing program, Peggie worked with Theatre Lab and other residents to create a play about their life experience and recovery journey. They performed the production at a sold-out, one night show at the Kennedy Center. The filmmaker Nicole Boxer captured entire process inan award-winning documentary, How I Got Over.

After graduating from the Recovery Program, Peggie left N Street Village to live with family in Baltimore. Unfortunately, it was not the best environment for Peggie’s recovery and she starting drinking again. After another trip to detox, she knew she couldn’t do it on her own. In December 2015 Peggie walked through the doors of the Village again. She felt embarrassed that she had come back, she was afraid she would be seen as a failure, but she was ready to recommit herself to recovery. When she walked into the Village Day Center, Evelyn greeted her with open arms and without judgement – “Where have you been? We missed you!”

Peggie continues to work hard at recovery and is a mentor in the Village. She hopes to find permanent housing soon and become an advocate for other women in need.

Catherine’s Story

Catherine has a degree in hotel and restaurant management and is retired from her career at Macy’s. While living in Memphis, Catherine cared for her ailing mother for three years. After her mother passed, Catherine was ready for a change and decided to move to D.C. to be with her niece and nephew. She had visited D.C. once and had always wanted to return to the vibrant city. She had a hard time finding work and after staying with her family for several months, she moved into a hotel until she could no longer afford the cost.

Alone, she made her way to Union Station where she met a woman who told her about the city’s emergency shelters.

“There was nothing positive in the shelter. I’d never been to prison but it felt like that to me. Women just waiting for the day to pass; many of them suffering.”

A homeless advocate connected her to N Street Village where she met Evelyn Green, the Day Services Manager, who instantly made her feel safe and welcome.

“N Street Village is really a community. Everyone is treated with respect.”

After spending time in the N Street Village Day Center and taking several classes in the Village Wellness Center, Catherine really began to see hope for a better tomorrow. She was excited to learn that N Street Village was opening a new temporary housing program. Catherine was one of the first people accepted into the Senior Transitional Housing program at the Patricia Handy Place for Women, N Street Village’s fourth location that opened in April 2016.

“Patricia Handy Place has been such a blessing. I can’t believe they chose me. I feel at home – I have everything I need and now I can work on taking care of me.”

With stable housing in a caring community, Catherine felt comfortable enough to move beyond her past and start building her new beginning. She applied for jobs and recently started working part time at a local drug store. She loves working again. Catherine is also rebuilding her savings and establishing credit. She is looking forward to finding her own apartment – a place where she can cook again. In the future, she would like to use her love of cooking to build a small catering business.

“There’s a big difference between homeless and hopeless.”

N Street Village Hosts 11th Annual Empowerment Luncheon

N Street Village, the largest provider of supportive services for homeless women in Washington D.C, hosted the 11th Annual Empowerment Luncheon on June 15th at the Ritz-Carlton DC. The organization welcomed nearly 400 guests, including city leaders, long-term supporters, and new friends to celebrate the positive changes we can make in the lives of D.C.’s most vulnerable women and witness the “Voices of the Village” featuring N Street Village alumnae.

Notable guests included D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, Kimberly Basset of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office, and presenting sponsors and Board Members Cindy and Mark Aron, Keith Harley of Keith Harley Hair and Scalp Design, and Thomas Dawson of TD&P Consulting. Other sponsors included Hillary Baltimore, Decker and Sherry Anstrom, N Street Village Board of Directors Chairman Peter Shields, Managing Partner of Wiley Rein LLP, and Vice-Chair, Ruth Sorenson.

Kimberly Bassett, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, delivered opening remarks: “Like you, I am a proud supporter of N Street Village, a critical anchor in our city and a national model for wrap-around services and housing for women experiencing homelessness.” Mayor Bowser, DC Councilmember Evans, and others leaders from the Administration visited the Village two weeks ago to celebrate the completion of the $9MM N Street Village Keeping Our Promise Capital Campaign which raised critical funds to update the facilities and expand the Village’s life-saving programs.

N Street Village Executive Director, Schroeder Stribling, announced that with the help of the campaign, “We are now combined to have 5 village locations in 4 wards of DC, where we offer a continuum of housing from emergency shelter to permanent, supportive, and affordable housing.”

Last year, the N Street Village Empowerment Luncheon welcomed keynote speaker Oprah Winfrey, which Stribling alluded to in her remarks:  “We have been fortunate to have some celebrated visitors in the past few years, including Dali Lama, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Recording Artist Andra Day, Actor and Activist Richard Gere, and Oprah Winfrey. We are all here today, because along with those celebrated visitors, we share the belief that the women of our community matter.”

Village alumna, who earlier had shared their personal stories of triumph over adversity and lives reclaimed in a brief video, were then welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation. Stribling also welcomed Evelyn Green, “the North Star of the Village,” an alumna turned long-time employee that has “helped thousands and likely saved hundreds of lives.”  This Village Empowerment Line – of alumna and staff- then sang the crowd into lunch with a moving performance echoing “I ain’t going to let homelessness get me down…We know N Street Village helps us turn it around.”

After lunch, guests heard from Sherron Lee, a former client, then employee of N Street Village.  As a drastic before and after picture flashed upon the big screen, Lee shared her powerful journey from a 23-year career with the Washington D.C. Police Department to a young woman who was addicted to drugs and a survivor of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Today, she announced: “It has been 13 years of my sobriety. My biggest hope is to continue my recovery and rebuild my relationship with my children and others that I harmed.” She thanked N Street Village for playing such a monumental role in her success, sharing, “I can’t say enough about N Street Village. It’s not just a job for them. The Village staff has set a great example of how I want to live.” Each year, Lee returns to the 5th floor recovery unity where she used to work to give back. “That is how I pay it forward, I share what I received at N Street Village with the next woman who will enter looking for recovery.”

View pictures on Facebook

Last Call for 2014!

Holiday Banners1 More than 1,000 women come through the N Street Village doors each year. Many first come to our Day Center seeking just a hot meal and shelter from the cold. They find that and more. Each woman is also welcomed into a warm and caring community of hope and healing.

Your year-end gift today helps N Street Village provide that hope.

At N Street Village we meet each woman where she is and work with her to improve her housing, income, employment and overall health and well-being. Whether it is coaching from one of our trained staff, a visit to the Village Wellness Center or a safe place to sleep in our Night Shelter or other housing programs, N Street Village is open every day of the year to help the most vulnerable women in our city.

N Street Village is here to provide the hospitality and compassion that we all deserve.

Support the women of N Street Village by making your tax-deductible donation by midnight today!

What did you do this year?

Schroeder 2 - CopyAs I look back on the past year at N Street Village, you come to mind.

In the midst of your busy days in 2014, you found a way to make a difference here.

Because of you:

  • 171 women had a safe place to call home in our transitional or permanent supportive housing programs
  • 51 low-income families had affordable housing
  • 31,457 nutritious meals were served
  • More than 1,000 women had access to life-saving programs through our Day Center and Wellness Center

Thank you. Your investment ensured that N Street Village was here to provide comprehensive, wrap-around services and programs to those who need us most.

As I now look forward to 2015, I know that there are many challenges still ahead. Affordable housing in DC continues to be in critical shortage, and the wait for a needed rental subsidy can last many years. The average cost for a one bedroom apartment is now more than $1,400 – far beyond the reach of someone who is working a minimum wage job. These truths leave so many women at risk of poverty, homelessness and the myriad of health, mental health and other consequences that ensue.

This holiday season and every day of the year, N Street Village is committed to providing shelter, housing, food, health care, income supports, crisis assistance, and day shelter for our city’s most vulnerable women. And we are privileged to watch many wonderful stories unfold as these individuals use the resources of our Village to transform their lives and reach their personal goals.

I imagine that you think much as I do: when any of us are in need of support, we want to be greeted with dignity and kindness, and we want to know that the help we receive will be effective. That happens daily as together, we work to keep the doors of this Village open, to create our community of respect, and to empower women to make measurable progress in their lives.   This past week alone we welcomed 21 new women to N Street Village – we are extending this same promise and possibility to each of them.

Today, let us celebrate what we have accomplished together this year. And may we find inspiration and strength for the journey ahead in the coming New Year.

Yours in gratitude,
Schroeder Stribling

 

 

A True Village SHE-RO | Idell’s Story

Idell SHE-ROThe youngest of 15 children, Idell was raised by her father and siblings after her mother died. Soon after, Idell got involved with “the wrong crowd,” and fell into a vicious period of drug abuse, which led to being in and out of jail. In 2011 Idell found herself once again in jail. She had a broken leg, which due to lack of proper care became infected and had to be amputated. Idell was desperate for change. Then she learned about N Street Village.

In September 2012, Idell moved into the N Street Village Recovery Housing program, a residential community where women live together and work on stabilizing their mental health and overcoming addiction. Idell devoted herself to her recovery and to healing.

“When I came to N Street Village, everybody loved me so I wasn’t scared. I could start to take care of myself.”

This year, Idell moved into her very own ADA-compliant apartment at N Street Village’s Erna’s House, a permanent supportive residence for women with histories of chronic homelessness. She enjoys living in a space that offers her the privacy and space she needs to become more confident with her disability, while working on her balance and navigating her surroundings. Idell has also recently been connected to a prosthetic leg class and looks forward to one day walking into N Street Village.

Idell has now found her inner SHE-RO. Her super power is telling her story to help inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. Idell manages the inspiration board at Erna’s House – and hopes that the passages she displays will help her fellow neighbors during a time of need.

“A SHE-RO is someone who shares their story in order to help someone else.”

Support our Village SHE-RO Idell with a gift in her honor and it will be matched up to $5,000! This generous match is provided by Sherry Hiemstra and Decker Anstrom. Thank you Sherry and Decker!

SHE-RO [sheer-oh] a man or woman who stands up specifically for women’s rights.

Calling All Our Village SHE-ROES

SHERO WEBSITE HEADERFor more than 20 years, N Street Village received critical funding from the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walk. Every year around this time, you received emails asking you to walk, recruit walkers, sponsor walkers, “virtually” walk, and spread the word to help N Street Village receive substantial funds from Fannie Mae. And every year, YOU responded with inspiring generosity and enthusiasm. Last year alone, you helped us raise more than $200,000 through this walk.

This year, Fannie Mae is no longer funding the Help the Homeless Walk, leaving N Street Village with a significant financial gap. We must, and we will, walk on.

N Street Village is declaring October the month of the SHE-RO and launching our own online virtual walk campaign during the entire month. We need YOU — our Village SHE-RO — to help reach our goal of $20,000 to ensure that every woman who arrives at our door is provided the resources she needs to walk on and find her inner SHE-RO.

Here are three ways to get involved today:
1. Make a donation today on N Street Village’s general page
2. Join the N Street Village SHE-RO team and create your own personal fundraising page. Get started using the Village “Quick Start Guide.”
3. Use your social media platforms to invite all of the SHE-ROES in YOUR life to join the cause.

Your support will provide much needed hope, healing, and opportunity to our city’s most vulnerable women. Thank you for being a part of our Village.

Schroeder Stribling
Executive Director
N Street Village

SHE-RO [sheer-oh] a man or woman who stands up specifically for women’s rights.

You Will Remember Who I Am

HOW I GOT OVER BANNER for email sent 6-24-2014This weekend HOW I GOT OVER premiered at the AFI DOCS Documentary Festival to sold-out audiences on Saturday and Sunday. The film took a deep look at the power of the arts—while also exploring the root causes of homelessness and the truths of poverty in America—asking one profound question over and over: “Can art save your life?”

HOW I GOT OVER, by Nicole Boxer (producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War), chronicles the journey of 15 formerly homeless women, living in N Street Village’s Recovery Housing program, as they participate in The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program. In the end of HOW I GOT OVER, the women take to the Kennedy Center stage, where they step into the spotlight to share their harrowing true-life stories in a sold out, one-night-only performance, which took place in April 2012.

Throughout the powerful documentary, the actors from N Street Village share their experiences of trauma, addiction, recovery, perseverance, and triumph. They find hope, and we as viewers come to know who they are as individuals in our community.

While you cannot see the documentary in your local movie theater, yet, you can read a great article featured on the cover of The Washington Post’s Metro section this past weekend.

Thank you for all that YOU do to make these amazing Village moments possible!

Learn More:

 

Trailer for Documentary Featuring N Street Village

“Can art save lives?”

That is question that lies at the center of the film How I Got Over by Nicole Boxer (producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War).

The documentary chronicles the journey of 15 formerly homeless women, living in N Street Village’s Recovery Housing program, as they turned their collective life experiences into an original play. The  film will premiere at AFI DOCS Documentary Festival on June 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C. The emotional trailer was just released this week. Our community loved it so much–we just had to share it with you. Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thCKunuWVD0]