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Carpenter’s Cook-Off

Carpenter’s Cook-Off

Tuesday - January 13th, 2015

The 13th annual Carpenter’s Cook-Off is back on Sunday, April 26th! Cook-Off invites the area’s best restaurants to duke it out for awards and bragging rights. Don’t miss your chance to sample endless tables of delicious food and cast your vote for your favorites. Save the date and stay tuned for details on buying tickets!

Circle of Hope: Bowling & Valentines

Circle of Hope: Bowling & Valentines

Thursday - January 22nd, 2015

On Friday, February 13th, Carpenter’s Circle of Hope is getting together for a bowling party to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Circle of Hope is a giving circle where members commit to an annual contribution of $250 and have the unique opportunity to engage in service days and volunteer activities with their families and children. Families will be bringing valentines and cookies to the party to be given to residents at the shelter on Valentine’s Day.

 

Circle of Hope is dedicated to putting an end to homelessness in Northern Virginia and giving homeless families the chance to celebrate holidays even during their times of crisis. If you’re interested in learning more about Circle of Hope or joining, please click here or email co-chair Carrie Keene.

Board Spotlight: Louise Roseman

Board Spotlight: Louise Roseman

Friday - January 23rd, 2015

We recently spoke with Louise Roseman

When did you get involved with Carpenter’s Shelter?

I joined the CS Education Committee about a decade ago. 

What attracted you to the mission?

I believe we have a responsibility to help people who didn’t start life with the advantages that many of us have and too often take for granted.  In remarks to Princeton graduates in 2013, Ben Bernanke articulated what drew me to Carpenter’s Shelter far better than I could have.  He said that those who are the luckiest –in their health and genetic endowment; in terms of family support, encouragement, and income; in their educational and career opportunities; and in so many other ways difficult to enumerate – also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others.  I greatly admire what Carpenter’s Shelter does – it gives the tools to its clients, who typically didn’t start life with the advantages I had, to break the cycle of homelessness and become self-sufficient.

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not serving on the board of Carpenter’s Shelter?

Relax; entertain; cook (I’m just now learning!)

What sets Carpenter’s Shelter apart from other organizations?
Staff who are truly dedicated to the organization’s mission (I’m sure CS isn’t unique in this regard, but it makes its very inspiring to those who are involved with the organization)

What one phrase would you use to describe Carpenter’s Shelter?

Helping others help themselves

Share one of your favorite Carpenter’s Shelter memories/moment?

Talking to several of our scholarship recipients, who used their scholarships to get degrees or certificates that enabled them to have a career, not just a job.


Ready to Rent

Ready to Rent

Friday - January 16th, 2015

We realize that there is a stigma attached to the word homeless. Many people often associate that word with being image_1unreliable, irresponsible, and not trustworthy. At Carpenter’s Shelter, we provide a structured environment with a variety of tools available to our residents in order for them to be successful after they move out of the shelter.

Clients are encouraged to participate in our Life Skill classes and the Ready to Rent program, both of which teach them about money management and basic renting practices. We are dedicated to spending time educating our clients about the importance of being a good roommate, paying their rent on the first of each month, and being an excellent tenant.

In our 6 week Ready to Rent program, we walk each client through the renting process, making sure to create a budget and help them find an apartment they can afford. For some of our clients, the rental process can be a challenge, with previous evictions or past debts standing in their way. At Carpenter’s Shelter, we work with each of our clients to pay down past debts.

Formerly homeless individuals have a greater chance of returning to the streets within the first year of living outside of the shelter. Upon moving out, residents enter our Community Case Management program, in which we will continue to provide support through a variety of outlets for a minimum of one year. At the shelter, we will always be there for our clients in their times of need, especially after they have moved out on their own.

Not only are we there to support our clients, we are also there for the landlords that rent to them. We want to continue to facilitate excellent renter and tenant relationships in order to help our clients achieve sustainable independence.

Staff Spotlight: Isaac Bell

Staff Spotlight: Isaac Bell

Friday - January 9th, 2015

We recently spoke with Isaac Bell, our Operations Manager about his time at Carpenter’s Shelter.

What are your job responsibilities?

I am tasked with a variety of responsibilities, with an even more varied range. I often tell people I am a Jack of all trades and skilled in none. I wear many hats, from IT to keeping our building to code. I see myself as the platform that allows and creates an environment for our employees to do their work.

When did you get involved with Carpenter’s Shelter? What attracted you to the mission?

I originally became attracted to the Carpenter’s Shelter when I realized the work that was being done behind these brick walls. Living in the area, I had passed the Carpenter’s Shelter countless times, and not known what was happening here. Now that I have been a part of it for some time, it’s hard to talk to somebody, or meet someone, who has not had some touch to the Carpenter’s Shelter.

What sets Carpenter’s Shelter apart from other organizations?

The fact that we have enough volunteers to fill eight full time positions. Also the amount of money that is fundraised that actually goes towards programs is pretty phenomenal.

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not working at Carpenter’s Shelter?

I love to cook, fish, and work on my reef aquarium. I wrench on different things around my apartment as well. With a wedding coming up, I get all sorts of “work” outside of work, so I stay pretty busy.

What aspects of your job at Carpenter’s Shelter do you find most rewarding?

It’s nice to know that there is great work being done here. I do not have what I feel is a personal touch to the social services aspect, but I still feel that staff and management give me a voice on that side of things.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?

To actually provide a foundation for the people that come through our doors is the most important aspect. There is a service that we, or a partner provides, to every need. That’s amazing to me. If you can’t get a job because you don’t have a résumé, not a problem, our Education Coordinator has a class for that. You’re not familiar with real estate, not a problem, we have a Housing Coordinator who can help you develop a plan for housing. Even after you leave our doors, we have a great support network. I don’t know of any other place that does what happens here.

Gift Card Re-Gift

Gift Card Re-Gift

Friday - January 2nd, 2015

FullSizeRenderNow that the holiday season is over, it’s time to sift through your pile of gifts. Every year we get presents that we absolutely love, and those that we might be able to do without. Along the way, you’ve probably collected some gift cards that you know you probably won’t use. Instead of letting them collect dust in your junk drawer, re-gift them to the clients at Carpenter’s Shelter!

Gift cards are an invaluable resource for us at the shelter. They allow us to buy gifts for the residential children on their birthdays, toiletries for our linen closet, work boots for clients with new jobs, or car seats for new mothers. Gift cards to places such as Target, Walmart, major department stores, and grocery stores allow us to meet the needs of our clients year round.

If you have gift cards you would like to donate, you can drop them off at the shelter, or mail them to
Attn: Meghan Hendy
930 N. Henry St.
Alexandria, VA 22314

Thank you for thinking of us, and Happy New Year!

A Holiday Message From Matt Sheldon

A Holiday Message From Matt Sheldon

Friday - December 26th, 2014

Guest Blog: A Giving Heart

Guest Blog: A Giving Heart

Friday - December 19th, 2014

 

This blog post was originally published on the Faithful Traveler Blog.

 

photo 5I am blessed that from a young age, giving back to the community has always been instilled in me.  It’s a gift that my mother gave me from a young age.   I can remember cooking meals for spouses whose husbands were deployed when our family was stationed in California, or volunteering at the American Red Cross office at the age of twelve when stationed in Washington state.   These acts have stuck with me long after the physical acts.

I think that is why now as an adult, I continue the act of giving back to the community with such a passion and dedication.   It gives me a sense of meaning, and the men and women I work besides give me more than I think I give them.

This last weekend, I volunteered with a group called Help-Portrait.  The concept is simple, what if for one day, photographers, make-up artists, and hairstylists gave their services away to those who would normally not have access to these items.  How would this simple act change the world?  For the last four years, our little volunteer group has been going to the Carpenter’s Shelter in Old Town, Alexandria.   The response has been overwhelming.   I’ve watched children grow from infants to little people, interacted with mother’s who each year remember my face and give me a hug and blessing as if I’m a member of their family.  It’s these interactions that keep me coming back year after year.photo 2

At the same time, the volunteers who work this one day are amazing, their talent, dedication, patience, and giving nature are a joy to be around and keep me going through out the day.  Most of the time, I don’t know these people until I meet them the day of.   But at the end of the day, we are planning our next adventure together.

It might be a small act of giving one day a year to help these families, but the love, smiles and kind words are ones that I carry with me throughout the year.