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.”