Gramma Berta’s Mother’s Day

IMG_6140This Mother’s Day, Alberta will celebrate with her family by her side. Her three children and six grandchildren will be there to give her hugs and kisses. In return, Alberta will spoil the young ones with treats.

A few years ago, such a gathering wouldn’t have been possible. Alberta was struggling with addiction and her family often didn’t know what she was doing or where she was.

Thanks to the support of caring supporters like you, N Street Village has helped Alberta overcome her addiction. Today, she has her own place through our Permanent Supportive Housing program and is working part-time. Not only is she a strong presence for her children and grandchildren, but she is a mentor to the other women of N Street Village.

This Mother’s Day, you can help women like Alberta and honor an inspiring woman in your life with a gift to N Street Village. You’ll help provide the mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, and mentors experiencing homelessness with a second chance to repair and rebuild their lives.

P.S. Make your gift today and we’ll make sure the special woman in your life receives a card before Mother’s Day. On behalf of all the women of N Street Village, thank you!

“I Ain’t Gonna Let Being Homeless Get Me Down”

With these words, Lolita Mitchell’s deep voice resonated throughout Luther Place Memorial Church on a recent Sunday. Lolita, a resident of N Street Village’s Recovery Housing program, was leading N Street Village’s Ambassadors of Praise choir and Luther Place Memorial Church’s chorus as they sang at the church’s annual homeless memorial service.

Ambassadors of Praise

The Ambassadors of Praise at rehearsal

Two years ago, singing in a church choir was the last place you would have expected to find Lolita. Her mother had just died, and she was at the self-described rock bottom of her addiction. Now as a resident of N Street Village and a member of the Ambassadors of Praise, Lolita finds she is better able to focus on her recovery and make the changes she needs to lead a healthier, happier life.

An Ambassadors of Praise practice is a joy-filled space. The choir director is Rev. Karen Brau, pastor of Luther Place Memorial Church and member of N Street Village’s Board of Directors. She begins each practice by asking everyone’s name and how they are doing. Any woman who comes to N Street Village can be a part of the choir so from week to week, members change and new voices are welcomed. In the opening prayer, Pastor Karen gives thanks for “gifts that sound way better when they are together.”

Pastor Karen finds that the Ambassadors bring added vibrancy to worship at Luther Place Memorial Church, and the community has warmly welcomed them. Pastor Karen notes, “They give people who hear them an opportunity to receive joy.” She is hoping to have them sing there at least once a month, but for now they have been performing at special events including the homeless memorial service, Christmas Eve service, Pastor Karen’s own wedding, and the Soul Feast block party.  In perhaps their biggest performance, this past spring they sang a cappella at the Kennedy Center as part of the National Conference on Ending Homelessness.

For now, they gather every Wednesday in the Wellness Center to sing and give praise for the good things happening in their lives. Pastor Karen believes that music has a healing power, especially for women in recovery. For all the singers, the choir gives them an opportunity to be a part of something larger than themselves.

The choir also stretches their abilities. Many of the women have never performed before and often consider their individual voices to be weak. Lolita is one of those women. She insists that she doesn’t have a very good voice but notes that “when I sing for the Lord, the songs come out beautifully.”

Despite her reservations, in many ways the Ambassadors is a natural fit for her. She was raised in the church, and her mother was a longtime pastor’s aide. She stopped attending church and “went down the wrong road.” Now, thanks to N Street Village she is traveling down a healthier and happier road.

By Shane Yost, Manager of Individual Giving – story originally published in the N Street Village’s Village Voice newsletter.

N Street Village Selected to Receive Leadership Grant

eileen_fisher_logoEILEEN FISHER Selects N Street Village as a Recipient of the 2012 Activating Leadership Grants; Grant recognizes nonprofits that are leading for impact and helping to create systemic change

EILEEN FISHER, the women’s clothing retailer has announced the recipients of the EILEEN FISHER Activating Leadership Grants. For 2012, the program, now in its third year, focused on Leading for Impact. N Street Village was one of fifteen nonprofits selected by the brand to receive a grant from more than 200 applications.

“By leading for impact, these women and girls are finding their voices, taking charge of their lives and changing their communities,” says Reisa Brafman, EILEEN FISHER Social Consciousness Leader of Community Partnerships & Women’s Initiatives. “They’re offering new solutions and helping to create systemic change, across the country and around the globe. Our grant committee is truly inspired by their work.”

Designer Eileen Fisher strongly believes each of us has the ability to lead—in our personal lives, in the workplace and in our communities. The Activating Leadership Grant program acknowledges that there are many ways to lead, many styles of leadership and many kinds of effective leaders. It seeks out innovative programs that encourage women and girls to find their voices and empowers them to make tangible changes in their personal lives, their homes and their communities.

Senior PeersThe EILEEN FISHER Activating Leadership Grant supports N Street Village’s Senior Peer Corps program.  The Senior Peer Corps recognizes homeless and low-income women who have demonstrated a commitment to themselves and the community by activating their innate leadership abilities through training and placement in peer leadership roles at N Street Village. “The Activating Leadership Grant positively impacts women who move from being recipients of help to becoming leaders in their various communities, including ours,” says Tim Fretz, N Street Village Manager of Foundations and Government Giving.

As a socially conscious company, EILEEN FISHER is dedicated to supporting women through clothing that create confidence and through initiatives that address well-being. The company is a leader in both human rights and sustainability. A twitter chat with the 2012 Activating Leadership Grant recipients is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 12:30 EST.  Join the conversation @eileenfisher using #EFCSRChat

A Poem: Senior Peers – Tour To Capitol Hill

By Diane McJordan | N Street Village Senior Peer

The tour we took to Capitol Hill,
Let us express our emotions and how we feel.

It was very interesting and appealing,
We share our deepest thoughts and our feelings.

We were the voices for those who were not heard,
The homeless who need housing they cannot afford.

We the Senior Peers were deeply grateful,
To take such an honor and gather information.

Speaking the truth from our lips and our hearts,
Hoping to be heard and make a new start.

Realizing the vision we have – we will succeed,
To reach out to all who are in need.

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Photo of the Week

N Street Village's Community Leaders, the Senior Peers, visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Honorary Board Member Jennifer Stewart and the League of Professional African-American Women (LINKS) to discuss affordable housing options for women in need.

Senior Peers Host Fannie Mae Executive and Film Crew

N Street Village’s Senior Peers, who serve as community mentors and peer leaders, visited with Tricia Black, Fannie Mae’s Chief Audit Executive and Co-Chair for the 2011 Help the Homeless Program on Monday.  The Senior Peers shared their personal stories, talked about what it means to be a Senior Peer, and discussed their recently attended leadership training.  They also had the opportunity to ask Ms. Black questions about leadership.  See our photos from the day below.

The conversation was captured on film by a Fannie Mae film crew who will be using the footage to publicize the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon. The Walkathon will be held November 19 on the National Mall and it is our second largest fundraising event of the year.  This year we hope to recruit 3,000 walkers to receive an additional $50,000 from Fannie Mae.  Join our team!  You can walk virtually or in-person.

The Senior Peers are grateful to Ms. Black for taking the time to meet with them and to learn more about the Village.  We are honored to be a part of Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Program!

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Photo of the Week

N Street Village Photo of the Week

N Street Village Case Manager, Bianca Ward, shares her face and body painting skills with the community at the September Tea Time. N Street Village's Senior Peers (peer leaders) hosted this month's "Soul Train" themed event.

N Street Village Website