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Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Arku

Stephanie ArkuThis month get know N Street Village volunteer Stephanie Arku. Stephanie, a native Washingtonian, has been volunteering with the community since January 2013. Stephanie prepares and serves lunch on weekends in the Day Center. Let’s get to know Stephanie…

I always knew that I wanted to help others and what better way to do that than through volunteering. My biggest hurdle was finding a place to do it. I ended up talking to a friend about this and she recommended seeking out volunteer opportunities at N Street Village. She became familiar with the organization while interning there as a graduate student. Based on her experience, I knew that this would be a perfect fit for me. Currently, I work as a Program Analyst for the Federal Government in Washington, D.C. I joined the Federal Government because I wanted to make a positive difference not only in this country but globally. My hobbies include reading, listening to music, exploring different restaurants, attending live music events, indoor cycling, and traveling.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? There are several great restaurants in this area so it is hard for me to choose just one. However, I will say that the last great meal I had was at STK in Dupont Circle, and I also have a soft spot for Guapo’s Restaurant.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…venturing out to a new restaurant/lounge with friends or spending a quiet evening at home watching movies.

Who is one of your favorite musicians? The Dave Matthews Band

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? My top four are the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, and Rock Creek Park.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Empowering. Hospitable. Life-altering.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories? My favorite memory actually took place on my very first shift as a volunteer when I was serving lunch at the Day Center. I was a little nervous because I feared that I may drop a plate(s) considering I can be a klutz at times. Well one of the ladies sensed my nervousness and then smiled and said to me, “baby, don’t be nervous, you’re doing just fine.” Her words resonated with me and I continued my shift feeling confident and more at ease. I’ve always appreciated the woman’s kind words. That experience along with many others is the reason I continue to volunteer at N Street Village.

What makes N Street Village unique to you? The array of services focusing on the mind, body, and soul provided to homeless and low-income women in the area, ultimately, leading these women to have greater control and responsibility over their own lives.

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!

Still looking for the perfect gift?

Holiday Banners1Finding a meaningful holiday gift can be challenging, especially when shopping for the person who “has everything.” Consider making a gift to N Street Village in their honor. We will then send a personalized note to the recipient via your choice of email or printed card.

Your donation will provide critical resources like food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare to the more than 1,000 women who come through our doors each year looking for a chance at a better life – women like Cheryl.

“N Street Village showed me stability and with their support I learned how to be responsible.” ~ Cheryl

Because of Cheryl’s hard work and N Street Village’s programs, she has her own apartment and regularly volunteers to ensure the N Street Village community is here for each and every woman in need.

Honor the people in your life by helping to support women like Cheryl.

Make a Holiday gift 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

 

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Lynne Brehmer & Polina Kropacheva

Lynne and PolinaThis month get to know N Street Village volunteer sewing team, Lynne Brehmer and Polina Kropacheva. Since March 2013, Lynne and Polina have been facilitating a 3 hour sewing class once a month in the Day Center. During their visits, they introduce new projects and encourage clients to develop their creativity while learning new skills. Their projects include, wallets, shoulder bags, and recently the clients learned how to sew sock monkeys. When Lynne and Polina are not volunteering, they enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and travelling to exotic places. Let’s get know Lynne and Polina…

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

Lynne: I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and studied business at UNC Chapel Hill. I work as a product manager at AARP managing their mobile apps. I heard about N Street Village through one of my friends who volunteered here in the past. I really liked the programs they offered and decided to attend a volunteer orientation session. They mentioned they needed someone to take over the sewing class. I have been sewing since I was a kid and was really excited to find a way to put one of my skills to use while helping out at the same time.

Polina: I was born in Russia and moved to Chicago at the age of 10 with my family, so I consider myself a Chicago native first. I first moved to DC in 2001 to attend college at Georgetown. I moved away for a brief period after graduating in 2005 and found myself back in DC again in 2007 for law school at Catholic University.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark?

Lynne: My favorite DC landmark is the National Mall. One of my favorite things to do is to run down to the Mall in the morning before the city gets hectic and stand at the top of the hill at the Washington Memorial and watch the sun rise. The city is so beautiful at that time of day.

Polina:
I really love the Dumbarton Oaks Garden.

On a Saturday evening you will find me at…

Lynne: I love taking weekend trips, especially camping trips. My most recent camping trip was a rock climbing adventure in Seneca Rocks, WV with Polina.

Polina:
Oftentimes on my couch and every once in a while roasting marshmallows in a campfire at some faraway campsite.

Where is the last place you travelled to?

Lynne: I travelled to Switzerland a couple of weeks ago with my mom to celebrate her birthday. We went to Montreux, Zermatt, and Saint Luc. We had an amazing time visiting the Matterhorn and hiking through the Alps.

Polina: Almaty, Kazakhstan

What is the last movie you watched (and enjoyed)?

Lynne:
Boyhood. They filmed the movie over a 12 year period. It was amazing. Go watch it!

Polina: I just watched Bridesmaids for probably the 7th time. Most recent new release I watched was The Trip to Italy.

What is the last book you read…
Lynne: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Polina: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

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

Lynne: I love seeing how proud the ladies are of the creations they have made at the end of sewing class. Many people come into the class with no prior sewing experience and are not confident they will be able to use a sewing machine. Seeing their faces light up at the end and watching them show off what they’ve made makes me feel really great.

Polina: The positive energy. I love seeing how nice and supportive everyone is.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories?

Lynne: One of my favorite recent moments was learning that one of the N Street staff members and one of the members of the class had become so confident in their sewing skills that they started teaching sewing classes on their own.

Spiritual Hunger

Longtime N Street Village volunteer, Joan Maxwell, wrote a beautiful piece on her experience at N Street Village.  Her article, entitled “Spiritual Hunger,” was recently published by Living Contemplatively.

http://livingcontemplatively.org/articles/spiritual-hunger/

Join us in congratulating Joan on her wonderful achievement!

Fresh off the Press: FY14 Village Annual Report

FY2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014) marks the 40th anniversary of N Street Village’s founding. Every day for the past 40 years, the doors of N Street Village have been open to thousands of women who seek help, hope, and a new beginning. In this year’s annual report, we highlight women who live at N Street Village and their accomplishments. We hope you enjoy!

It’s Working!

SHERO WEBSITE HEADERSince we launched our SHE-RO Virtual Walk campaign to raise $20,000 for N Street Village’s life-saving services, Village SHE-ROES have stepped up, raising $10,440 in support of our city’s most vulnerable women. Amazingly, 61% of the dollars raised so far have been raised through personal fundraisers! Now we are just $9,560 away from our goal.

Please give $35 or whatever you can to help ensure each woman who arrives at our door is provided the resources she needs to walk on and find her inner SHE-RO despite the loss of Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Walk.

AND — to make things even more fun — Robin Halsband and Jeremy Spector have offered to donate $100 to N Street Village for every SHE-RO Virtual Walk personal fundraising page created between now and next Thursday, October 16. Start creating your page today using the Village “Quick Start Guide“.

Thank YOU for your support!


WHY CREATE A PERSONAL FUNDRAISING PAGE?
a personal fundraising page allows you to:

  • Talk about your personal connection to N Street Village
  • Set your own personal goal in support of our campaign’s goal (you can even offer a match!)
  • Invite your friends to give and communicate directly with them
  • Track how much you and your friends have contributed and see how your efforts stack up on the Village SHE-RO Leaderboard.
  • Set your page up before October 16 and N Street Village will receive an additional $100.

Need support setting up your page?
Please contact Megan McKinley at mmckinley@nstreetvillage.org
& consider downloading the Village’s personal fundraising “Quick Start Guide“.

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.

Get Ready to Rock with N Street Village

Night SessionsJoin the N Street Village Impact Committee for an evening of live music, networking, and fun at our annual Night Sessions. It is guaranteed to be an evening of rocking out at 14th Street’s legendary music venue, Black Cat. The lineup includes–Tom McBride, 19th Street Band, Ryan Mosel & Odmark.. Proceeds from the event will support the nearly 1,400 homeless and low-income women N Street Village serves every year.

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

Thursday, October 9
Doors open at 8:00 p.m.

Black Cat
1811 14th Street, NW

Ticket Price: $35
Purchase includes two complimentary drinks

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For questions about sponsorship, please contact Naomi Ho at 202.939.2076 or nho@nstreetvillage.org.

*This event is for individuals 21 years and older*