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On October 6, Shelter Network celebrated our Annual Benefit Breakfast, honoring 24 years of serving homeless families and individuals on the San Francisco Peninsula.
Thanks to over 1,100 guests, and a powerful call-to-action from San Mateo Chief of Police, Susan Manheimer, the Benefit Breakfast was a great success, enabling the agency to continue year-round housing and supportive services. Many Breakfast donations will have triple the impact, with a generous $2:$1 match grant from the Sobrato Family Foundation.
We invite you to watch video highlights from the event, including:
Shelter Network graduate Cheryll, a Veteran, shared her personal challenge with homelessness. A single mother with a newborn daughter, Cheryll went days without sleep and feigned illness so that she could rest in the emergency room at a local hospital. Shelter Network helped her to not only regain housing, but also rebuild her confidence and go back to school. Today she is training as an Emergency Medical Technician, giving back to the community in every way she can.
Leigh Anne Tuohy’s keynote address inspired us to dare to take chances on those who society deems valueless. “All we did was turn the car around and offered this young man hope, and love, and opportunity, which is what Shelter Network does every single day,” said Tuohy.
Three Volunteer Excellence awards were presented: to Franklin Templeton for corporate community spirit; to Maria Pleadwell, our long-time, amazing volunteer; and to James Cannice, our enthusiastic and compassionate teen volunteer.
The success of the 2011 Benefit Breakfast renews our commitment to provide effective and cost-efficient services to those in need. With your help, Shelter Network continues to drive high-quality standards and a 90% success rate for graduating families, who maintain ongoing self-sufficiency and permanently break the cycle of homelessness.
We are deeply grateful for the continued partnership of so many in the community – people like you.
Six months have passed since I joined Shelter Network as the new Executive Director. How time flies! It has been an exciting and gratifying experience, and I want to take a moment to share with you some of our FY2011 accomplishments and plans for the year ahead.
In the past year, Shelter Network served 4,397 homeless men, women, and children, including an increased number of Veterans. We expanded our programs to meet the growing need, providing more families and individuals with emergency and transitional shelter, as well as homeless prevention assistance, scholarships for higher education, financial literacy classes, and job skills training.
Some of our other notable accomplishments include:
- In June, we ended the 2011 Fiscal Year with a balanced budget, accompanied by achieving the highest 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the third consecutive year.
- We engaged over 12,000 volunteers last year, and were recognized by the Volunteer Center as one of the top 5 non-profits to volunteer in the Bay Area.
- We piloted a new on-site summer camp for children at our Menlo Park shelter. View pictures and video on the “Camp Haven” blog at camphaven.blogspot.com.
- We launched a cloud-based Salesforce data system that enables us to more effectively capture, evaluate, and report information on the client families and individuals served in our programs.
- We implemented a new HR initiative, the “Happiness Plan,” comprised of cost-efficient benefits to improve staff retention and recognition for outstanding performance.
Looking ahead, the staff, Board of Directors, and I remain positive and enthusiastic about the future. A new chapter in the history of Shelter Network begins in 2012 as we celebrate the organization’s 25th year of serving the homeless on the San Francisco Peninsula. Stay tuned for special events and giving opportunities throughout the year to commemorate this important milestone!
In closing, I hope to see you Thursday, October 6th at our Annual Benefit Breakfast. This year’s event features keynote speaker Leigh Anne Tuohy, the inspiration for the award-winning 2009 film The Blind Side. More information and tickets are available on our website: shelternetwork.org/breakfast.
Thank you for your continued support of Shelter Network’s work to serve the homeless. Our accomplishments would not be possible without the in-kind and financial donations of our generous public and private partners throughout the community. We are so very grateful.
Karae M. Lisle
My desk at the Burlingame, CA headquarters of Shelter Network looks out onto the hallway, and every day I witness greatness as it happen in this hall. I see our Executive Director Karae getting ready for a meeting, talking with pride about clients who have recently graduated and thinking of the next big idea to make our clients’ lives better. I hear Graciella answer the phone and then cheerfully give out numbers and information to people who have called looking for a place to stay for the night. Every day I listen to Maria, my lovely boss, create new events and marketing programs, and then in her spare time also coordinate donations and figure out ways to pick up more furniture or deliver supplies to our families in need.
When I started at Shelter Network 2 months ago as a volunteer marketing intern I thought that this would be a way to gain experience in my college major, as well as be something nice to do over the summer. But it has turned into a learning and life experience that I will never forget. I have been privileged enough to be let into the inner workings of this organization, and let me tell you this place is a whirlwind of activity and a well-oiled machine all in one. The work it does changes lives every single day.
I started by working on our social media sites. While I redesigned our Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages to be more consistent and work together better, I learned how these sites could raise awareness about a critical shortage of diapers at our sites in an instant and call community members to action. While I went through photos of the families we serve to create a “day in the life” montage to display at our sites, I saw the number of everyday people who look just like me, my friends and neighbors Shelter Network has served to get the help they so desperately need during these tough economic times. While writing an article for the newsletter I learned about how committed our volunteers are and the impact that just one person can make.
My time at Shelter Network has been more than designing webpages and making things look pretty. It has shown me the massive impact that one organization led by passionate and committed professionals can make. Shelter Network’s staff, volunteers, donors and clients make this an inspiring place, and I am honored that I could spend my summer here. It’s been an experience I will carry with me always.
Marketing Intern, Shelter Network
Shelter Network is committed to providing much more than a hot meal and a bed for the night. Our dedicated staff and volunteers make every effort to help over 900 homeless families a year transition into permanent housing rapidly and efficiently.
When families enter the shelter, the top priority is to make them feel safe and welcome. Each family is given their own transitional apartment unit, equipped with a furnished bedroom, living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Ensuring that families stay together during this challenging time – to support each other and maintain a sense of stability – is one of the many factors contributing to Shelter Network’s success.
Countless volunteers contribute their time to ‘stage’ shelter apartments, making them comfortable and welcoming for new families (most who have never been homeless before). Below are a few before-and-after photos of the shelter apartments, showcasing the amazing decoration skills of our generous volunteers!
Thank you to the members of the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto and the outstanding individual volunteers who made these apartments so warm and welcoming for Shelter Network’s families:
Donna Bohling Eileen Brooks Sue Krumbein Ana Pedreiro
Alessandra Pio Di Savoia Tess Weber Melinda Wedemeyer
Mike K. is a graduate of Shelter Network’s Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Subsidized Housing Program. The AOD Housing Program began in July 2008 to address the problem that too many AOD program graduates exited into homelessness.
Mike K. was homeless for nearly a decade. He had been using illegal drugs for 15 years before entering the in-patient treatment program at Free At Last. Mike had a long history of dropping out of drug treatment and being homeless. After his sixth stint in treatment, he finally maintained his sobriety and exited the program. But when he left treatment, he had no place else to go.
Mike turned to Shelter Network’s Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Subsidized Housing Program. The AOD Program provides up to nine months of housing subsidy for adults exiting treatment programs, so that they can stay out of homelessness and committed to recovery.
In July 2009, with the help of his case manager Monica, Mike moved into his own apartment. It was the first time he’d had a home of his own for almost ten years. “I couldn’t have the success I do without the AOD Program and the support and case management I received from Monica,” said Mike. He also learned to budget and manage his finances –skills he will use for the rest of his life.
With the help of Shelter Network, Mike was able to re-establish a relationship with his children. He pays his bills on time and remains clean and sober. When asked what he would like people to know about Shelter Network’s AOD Program he replied, “THANK YOU for helping me get my life back! It would have taken a lot longer without the support of Shelter Network, the program and Monica. For those who are ready to make a change and really want it, this program is the ultimate blessing.”
Original article featured in the July 2011 issue of Wellness Matters, an e-journal of San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
Ebony’s world revolves around her 4-year-old triplets: two boys and one girl. The little girl, Isabella, is chatty and gregarious, while her two twin brothers, Isaac and Isaiah, have been diagnosed with Autistic Disorder. Their developmental disabilities have delayed all typical childhood milestones; the 4-year-old boys are still in diapers.
Ebony, a single mother, became homeless when she fled from a domestic violence situation. She moved into Shelter Network’s Family Crossroads, a transitional housing facility for 13 families in Daly City. The challenge of taking care of three children at two separate schools (the boys are in a special school for autism) has made securing employment a challenge.
While living at Shelter Network, the children have received special care from the Children’s Coordinator and numerous volunteers. The boys have made huge leaps in their development. They are beginning to engage more with the other children and express themselves verbally. Ebony is thrilled with their progress.
Thanks to the generosity of the local community (spearheaded by a former Shelter Network client!), Ebony recently received a car donation – a refurbished 1998 Saturn SL. Her new vehicle will save hours commuting to her children’s schools. She hopes to soon begin taking classes at culinary school in San Francisco.
Ebony’s story at Shelter Network exemplifies the incredible impact of community involvement. The vehicle donation allows her to provide better care for her children and pursue her dream of becoming a chef. Volunteers at the shelter’s children’s program aid in her triplets’ developmental progress. Donations of diapers, baby wipes, blankets, and household goods help her family maximize their savings.
With YOUR support, Shelter Network helps return hundreds of homeless families – like Ebony – to permanent housing every year.