This month, get to know volunteer group, Project Affinity. Project Affinity donates and serves lunch at N Street Village’s day center on the first Sunday of each month. Project Affinity began volunteering with at the Village in June 2013. Project Affinity has become a very popular group because of the delicious food they make and share with our community. Let’s get know Project Affinity…
Project Affinity focuses its efforts on assisting those in the community that have been marginalized by society. Project Affinity, from its inception, strives to operate in five key areas: assisting people experiencing homelessness, empowering disenfranchised youth, ex-inmate re-entry program, visiting the sick and elderly, and, engaging and empowering people with disabilities. In keeping with the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, we started small, but stressed consistency. We initiated services in one of the key areas—assisting people experiencing homelessness. On June 15th 2012, we had our first meal service for the clients of Central Union Mission DC. Since then, we have grown our presence into 4 facilities, including N Street Village.
Where is Project Affinity from and how long have you been serving the community? The group comprises of compassionate volunteers throughout the DMV area. We have been serving the DC community for over 21 months.
On a Sunday morning you will find us…at N Street Village or at another community event that aligns with our mission.
Describe your favorite meal the group has prepared and served to the community? Our favorite meal that we prepared was succulent tandoori chicken, seasoned rice, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, and fresh vegetable salad with all the fixings.
Why did you start volunteering at N Street Village? After successfully establishing our presence at a men’s service provider, we wanted to expand our services to a women’s facility. Our research indicated N Street Village was on the front lines of providing vital services to women in need. This compelled us to start volunteering at N Street Village.
Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Renew, revive, and recalibrate
Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories? One of our fondest N Street Village memories is when volunteers gathered and eagerly listened to Bernadette’s accounts of N Street Village’s history, her personal struggles, and N Street Village’s involvement in her success. This incident was a testament to N Street Village’s valuable program and the opportunities it provides to its clients.
What has been one of your biggest surprises about N Street Village? It’s hard to isolate our surprises to only one. A few of our biggest N Street Village surprises were the high level of organization, the professionalism exuded by the staff, and the wide range of services N Street Village provided for its clients.
This month, get to know N Street Village volunteers Katie Knorovsky and Noah Wiese. Katie and Noah began volunteering in our community in the fall of 2007. Almost every Friday, Katie and Noah serve breakfast in Bethany Women’s Center and they have logged close to 200 hours of service.
We both grew up in Davenport, Iowa, where our parents still live. We started dating sophomore year of high school. In 2007, we got married in Iowa—a couple of days later, we drove across the country to D.C., our new home. Since then, Noah has worked for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a patent examiner. Katie is an editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine. We’re members at Luther Place Memorial Church, where we teach Sunday School to the youngest kids (ages 2 to 4). We first decided to check out Luther Place because we were impressed to read they had started a homeless shelter (N Street Village) in the 70s. We live in Bloomingdale with our little red dog named Thelma, play in an indie rock band (Noah on cello, Katie on violin), and love to travel (Copenhagen is a favorite).
- How long have you lived in D.C.? We’ve lived in D.C. for about five years.
- What is your favorite thing about living in D.C.? The balmy winters, as compared to Iowa. More seriously, we love the feel and character of the city’s neighborhoods.
- On a Saturday evening you will find me …. Optimistically, playing music somewhere (we’re in a band). Realistically, hanging out with our dog.
- When I have free time I most enjoy …. Riding bikes, going to art museums, going to shows/concerts, eating pizza.
- Book last read….
Katie – A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Noah – The Plague by Albert Camus
- Most played song on iPod…
Noah – “Es-So” by Tune-Yards
Katie – “Don’t Haunt This Place” by The Rural Alberta Advantage
- What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village? When we first moved to D.C. and lived in Logan Circle, we really appreciated that volunteering at N Street Village helped us develop a deeper connection to the neighborhood and all of its residents. Now that we’ve been doing it a while, we value the relationships we’ve built and the sense of rootedness that comes with that.
- Why is it important to support N Street Village? D.C. is a place with enormous wealth, but also people facing huge disadvantages. Places like N Street Village help fill a huge void. Everyone deserves a safe place—particularly one that challenges them to be their best.
Kara was a regular and much beloved volunteer at N Street Village. She volunteered weekly, wearing a variety of hats. Kara led a class called “Mystery Solvers” and also started an art class in our Wellness Center with her cousin, Vicky. Kara and Vicky provided all of the materials for the art projects in their class and later went on to help sponsor our first client art show where some of the artwork from Kara and Vicky’s class was displayed. Kara would also roll up her sleeves and serve breakfast and lunch in Bethany Women’s Center and sort donations and organize our food pantry before and after leading her classes. Kara touched many of our clients and staff with her calming presence, unassuming nature, and compassionate conversation. Over the last week our community has been sharing their memories of Kara and reflecting on her service in our community and we have a shared a few of the reflections below. Kara’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. We love you Kara and we miss you!
“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
“I know how much Kara enjoyed her group, Mystery Solvers. Often, after the group she would share her joy with the group’s participation and she wasn’t afraid to make changes to the class based on the group’s interests and suggestions.” – Muriel Drago, N Street Village Bethany Women’s Center Program Assistant
“Kara Kennedy was very generous with her time and shared her talents in many ways with N Street Village. Kara was the kind of volunteer that would go out of her way to help even when it was not asked of her. Kara would also hear about in-kind items we were in need of and bring them the next time she served with us. I know many of the women had the opportunity to connect with her and she will truly be missed by all.” -Anne Steeves, N Street Village Volunteer and In-Kind Gifts Coordinator
“Kara said she used to do a similar activity to Mystery Solvers [brain-teaser type activities] at home with her children. Every Tuesday when Kara led the Mystery Solvers she would bring in a bag full of books from her own collection to share with the class. It was a very popular class. The women loved it. They really miss her.” – Janaina Stanley, N Street Village Education and Employment Center Manager
“Kara was really good at what she did here at N Street. I enjoyed her Mystery Solvers class in Bethany Women’s Center and made sure to go to it. Kara is going to be missed and our prayers go out to her family.” – Debra, N Street Village Resident
“Everyone loved Kara and Kara’s class (“Mystery Solvers.”) That room was crowded every Tuesday morning in anticipation of her class.” – Evelyn Green, N Street Village Bethany Women’s Center Manager
F (202) 939-1380
CFC #90946 & United Way #8281