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!!!

Volunteer Drivers for Food Rescue US Reroute D.C.’s Excess Food to the Homeless

Volunteer Drivers for Food Rescue US Reroute D.C.’s Excess Food to the Homeless

“In the three or four runs that I’ve done so far, they say I’ve already rescued 650 meals.”

Jun 15, 2017 9 AM
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Alysha Groghan and Jaime Rothbard. All photos Laura Hayes.Alysha Groghan and Jaime Rothbard. All photos Laura Hayes.“I don’t care if we have to put them in my kid’s car seat, we’re taking these meals,” Jaime Rothbard says as she navigates the Tetris-like task of loading plastic containers holding everything from chicken sandwiches and lasagna to snack packs of crackers and carrot sticks.

She furrows her brow as she packs 547 meals into the back of her Audi wagon with the determination of a boxer entering the ring. Only instead of another gloved-up opponent, Rothbard is fighting food waste.

Every Tuesday morning, the Takoma Park mom who hosts the “Food Warriors” podcast drives to Revolution Foods in Hyattsville, Maryland, to pick up excess food. The provider of school meals doesn’t always nail the moving target of how much the schools need per day because it employs a better-safe-than-sorry model.

“Because we serve pretty much millions of meals a day, there’s going to be excess,” says the company’s Alysha Groghan. “We want to make sure that if something gets lost in the mix that we have extra to replenish.” 

Having a surfeit of food is far from uncommon. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 40 percent of all food in the U.S. goes uneaten each year, which amounts to $162 billion in wasted food annually. More tangibly, the average family of four spends $1,500 a year on food they never eat, and each American wastes approximately 290 pounds of food annually. 

Rothbard to the rescue. Literally.

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(article clipped, view full article online)

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Rothbard’s adopted route involves picking up meals from Revolution Foods and delivering them to N Street Village—a nonprofit on 14th Street NW dedicated to helping homeless and low-income women. 

When she pulls up, N Street Village’s Adam Brunell wheels out two shopping carts to fill with the meals. But two carts aren’t enough for the bounty that makes its way down to kitchen manager Laurie Williams, who has been with the organization for 18 years. 

Williams explains that her kitchen provides breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack to the women of N Street Village, plus additional meals to those living in the affiliated shelter across the street. Williams feeds anywhere from 80 to 120 people per day, depending on the time of the month. “Most get checks at the beginning of the month,” she says. “Some of them get the money and they go.” 

Without N Street Village, Brunell says some of his clients, ranging from their twenties to the elderly, would be on the streets. Others would fail in their efforts to beat addiction because they’d still be living with people who are using. Then there are the women who could still be living with abusive partners. “Some people society won’t give a second chance, so we try to provide whatever that means,” he says. Another percentage of women at N Street Village are emerging from the criminal justice system. 

“The scope is so far-reaching at this place,” says Rothbard. 

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/food/young-hungry/article/20864675/volunteer-drivers-for-food-rescue-us-reroute-dcs-excess-food-to-the-homeless

N Street Village Wins Board Leadership Award

Washington, D.C. (November 2, 2011) – Today, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, in partnership with Reznick Group and BoardSource, named N Street Village as the winner of its 2011 Board Leadership Award at its inaugural Board Leadership Showcase.

“I am honored to have our Board win such a distinguished award from the Center of Nonprofit Advancement, especially since Washington, D.C. is filled with so many deserving nonprofit organizations,” said Schroeder Stribling, Executive Director of N Street Village. “Over the past several years the N Street Village Board of Directors has demonstrated exceptional ingenuity and commitment and has enhanced the strength and well-being of our organization. I continue to feel inspired by the strong partnership that we share and by the Board‟s unwavering dedication to the N Street Village mission.”

N Street Village provides long-term housing and comprehensive support services for homeless and low-income women in Washington, D.C. The organization has earned local recognition for its excellent service to the community. Recent awards include The Washington Post Excellence in Nonprofit Management Award, the EXCEL award for nonprofit leadership and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Heroes in the Fight Award.

The N Street Village Board of Directors demonstrates a strong commitment to the organization‟s mission through innovative practices, including:

  • The use of Board mentors to increase new Board members‟engagement in N Street Village and its governance.
  • Participation in ‘Village Visits,” which are quarterly, half-day immersion opportunities for Board members to participate in volunteer service and have in-depth conversations with program leadership and clients.
  • Targeting ambitious goals and tracking their financial support for N Street Village’s mission; this encourages and challenges members to engage new donors in creative ways.
  • Routine Board assessment and the use of dashboards to measure performance regarding member engagement, contributions, self-improvement, and training.
  • A commitment to strategic planning, which has included the development of a long-range leadership succession plan for the organization.

“This award is such a special honor, and I am humbled to serve as the Board Chair at N Street Village,” said Vicki McCormick. “Our Board” great team of strategic thinkers and visionaries, coupled with our dedicated staff leadership all go above and beyond the call of duty and truly deserve this recognition,” she said.

The selection of the Board Leadership Award winner was a rigorous and intensive process, which included the nomination of 21 organizations, interviews with selected nominees and site visits to finalists. As a winner of the Board Leadership Awardin the over $2 million budget category, N Street Village is awarded a $10,000 cash grant and additional training and development opportunities for the Board and CEO.

Kara Kennedy; A True Friend of N Street Village

Our community is grateful to Kara for her support of N Street Village. Kara had a noticeable impact in our community through her devout service. She led two very popular classes — “Mystery Solvers” and an art class –assisted the in-kind donation office, served meals, and helped sponsor our inaugural art show last April.

Over the last week our community has been sharing their memories of Kara and reflecting on her service in our community.  Visit our blog to read more.


“The first thought that comes to mind about Kara is her patience. Some of the women in Kara and Vicki’s art class needed carefully guided explanations to carry out their projects. Kara repeated the instructions, as many times as requested, never showing any sense of frustration, she was patient and gentle through and through. Kara also took the time to get to know the women here. She made sure to learn our names and was always kind. The women knew her as Kara, not Kara Kennedy. Kara only wanted to be known for what she could do and not necessarily what her name implied about her” – Barbara, N Street Village Resident

Clients Go the Distance With Back on My Feet

Back on My Feet running groupThree times a week, seven N Street Village clients wake up before sunrise, lace up their running shoes, and hit the streets. They’re taking part in Back on My Feet, an innovative program that engages the homeless in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.

Back on My Feet started in Philadelphia in 2007, and now has chapters in six cities nationwide. N Street Village’s team, which started in late August 2010, is one of six local D.C. teams. Our team members include clients, N Street Village staff members, and Back on My Feet volunteers, who provide coaching and encouragement, track attendance and mileage, and help the women set their individual and team goals. Running gear is provided to the women through a partnership with Pacers Running Stores.

What inspires team members to roll out of bed so early in the morning? One team member, Jakki, says that Back on My Feet is helping her lose weight and learn to eat healthy. Shirley, another dedicated runner, says Back on My Feet “gives me an opportunity to know me better, to push myself to do something I have never done before. It’s just something to look forward to. It clears my head in the morning when I run or jog.”

Team members who consistently attend the morning runs can participate in Back on My Feet’s “Next Steps” program, which offers connections to job training, employment and housing. Local teams also get together for monthly activities, which include volunteering at local races and outings like a recent Washington Nationals game.

Kristyn Carrillo, our resident marathoner and Assistant Director for Residential Programs, says Back on My Feet provides more benefits than just regular exercise. “It’s not just about the running – you’re part of a team. People rely on you for support and notice when you’re not there. They care about you. That sense of belonging is so important, and it’s why this program fits us so well – we’re all about community here!”

Client Receives Makeover to Get Interview-Ready

Client Sheila Melvin received a beauty makeover that was featured on Fox 5 news on November 24, 2009. A participant in our Education and Employment Center (EEC) program, Sheila was in the hands of renowned stylist Paul Wharton, to get her job-interview ready. Paul enlisted the support of Macy’s By Appointment, which provided Sheila with a new interview outfit that included a black suit, blouse, shoes, purse, gloves, and jewelry. Her make-up was done at the Origins make-up counter at Macy’s. She also had her hair colored, cut, and styled at the Ted Gibson Salon.

Speaking to reporter Allison Seymour, Sheila said of her makeover, “I feel like a princess.” Sheila thinks that she is prepared now for any interview that comes her way. Currently, Sheila is working odd jobs, like caring for a senior citizen two days a week, and cleaning homes when opportunities arise.

Sheila started working with the EEC program in 2006 when she stayed in our Luther Place Night Shelter for three months. After moving into a single room occupancy unit, she kept in touch with us while she worked at Filene’s Basement (first part-time and then moving up to full-time after 1 year) and returned to EEC for support after she was laid off from Filene’s. Since then, she has worked on updating her computer skills at our partner agency Byte Back. We are happy to report that Sheila has completed several certificate programs with them, including an Excel Certification and will complete her Microsoft Office Suite Coursework in mid-December.

The experience has sparked Sheila’s excitement and enthusiasm in her job search. “This makeover recognizes Sheila’s hard work and determination to return to the workforce,” according to Ann McCreedy, EEC Manager. “The opportunity to work with Paul Wharton on this makeover highlights the amazing things that happen when community members combine their commitment to ending homelessness with their talent and skills,” she added. “We hope this inspires more supporters to think of creative ways to champion the mission of N Street Village,” Ann said.