ISSUE 36 | FALL 2015 ABOUT DIGNITY HOUSING In 1988 Dignity Housing was established as the first housing and social services program in the nation founded and guided by homeless people and activists. Dignity’s mission is to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that confronts low-income families and individuals in the City of Philadelphia. Dignity Housing breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing safe, decent affordable housing, promoting self-sufficiency, and creating opportunities. Shine A SPOTLIGHT How You Can Help: Beverly Roberts-Cruse, Executive Director Board Members Anthony D. Braxton, Chair Marie Gaddy, Vice-Chair Ernest F. Hargett, Jr., Secretary J. Seth Thompson, Treasurer Marjorie Shiekman, Executive Committee Esther Bowens David S. Gerhart William Hughes Wendy Smith Make a secure donation online by clicking “Donate Now” on our website www.dignityhousing.org. or by sending a check to: 5227-R Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144 O n E d u c at i o n W i t h D i g n i t y H o u s i n g Find out if your employer has a matching gifts program. Double the impact of your gift! Workplace Giving: United Way Donor Choice #2338. Combined Federal Campaign Donor #77392 IN THIS ISSUE Designed & Written by N. Pitts Editors: J. Blum, B. Roberts-Cruse, V. Tercero Reading Recycled Donates Gift Baskets Page 2 Dignity’s Basic Computer Courses Page 3 Spotlight On: Education Coordinator Page 3 Meet A Mother With Dignity Page 4 Letter From For mer Inter n Page 5 5227-R Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 P: 215-713-0960 F:215-713-0968 www.dignityhousing.org spotlight layound 2.indd 1 The Committee for Dignity and Fairness for the Homeless Housing Development, Inc. www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org T he Playg round Project Page 7 Dignity’s Annual “BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT” PREPARES Students FOR THE NEW YEAR For many children, back-toschool is a time of excitement. It marks the start of a new year, new classroom and new friends. Unfortunately, the lives of children growing up in lowincome households are often very different from those of their more affluent peers. Backto-school shopping is not an exciting time of new clothes and school supplies. In fact, they often face the uncertainty of starting the school year with very little. Knowing how important education is, we strive to ensure that the children of Dignity are prepared. On September 17th, Dignity Housing held our annual “BackTo-School Night”. The students were given new book bags filled with supplies for the upcoming year. Thanks to Beverly RobertsCruse’s girlfriends, who have donated to this event for nine years, as well as the organization, Amazing Child Abundant Hope, and St. Pauls Baptist Church, the children of Dignity are starting the school year with a sense of confidence and reassurance. Amazing Child Abundant Hope is an organization led by Carole Davis. Last April, Ms. Davis engaged Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown’s Sunday school children in, “The Penny Project”. Collection containers were placed throughout the Church School rooms for the children to bring in change. Coins were counted weekly and recorded. In three months, they had raised $150.00 for Dignity. This money was used to purchase new book bags and school supplies for the middle school and high school students residing at Dignity. Along with The Penny Project, Amazing Child Abundant Hope secured a $2,500 grant, specifically for the children of Dignity. The first portion of the grant was used to supplement the uniform vouchers that parents receive from the Philadelphia School District. SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:44 PM
ISSUE 36   FALL 2015  ABOUT DIGNITY HOUSING In 1988 Dignity Housing was established as the first housing and social servic...
DIGNITY WELCOMES BOWDOIN COLLEGE VOLUNTEERS Reading Recycled Donates Gift Baskets TO DIGNITY We are incredibly grateful to Anne and Dave from Reading Recycled for their generous donation of Birthday Gift Baskets. Each one is personalized and filled with age appropriate books & goodies. The children of Dignity love their special Birthday surprises. It’s wonderful to see them so thankful and excited! Reading Recycled is a nonprofit organization that strives to eliminate children growing up without books in their homes. The project is the brainchild of their founder, Anne, a certified teacher with a Masters degree in Education. She was shocked after watching a documentary featuring young children with no books to read and resolved to make a difference. Reading Recycled collects new or gently used books and boxes them up for distribution to various housing and youth programs such as Dignity. The new books, along with a toy or craft, are made into birthday baskets for deserving children. It’s truly been wonderful and we hope to continue this partnership in the future! www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org spotlight layound 2.indd 2 On March 11, 2015, 10 students from Bowdoin College in Maine spent the day with Dignity as a part of their Alternative Spring Break program. The goal of their visit was not only to volunteer their time, but to learn about Dignity’s role in breaking the cycle of homelessness in Philadelphia. Once they arrived, the volunteers were given an overview of the programs and services we provide. The beautiful weather allowed for us to walk around the Germantown neighborhood and show some of Dignity’s houses. The response from the students was truly wonderful, as they praised Dignity for the work we do. The volunteers returned to the Dignity Resource & Opportunity Center (Dignity ROCS) to begin the exciting projects that were planned. They put together bookshelves, painted three walls and categorized our massive collection of books by age group. When everything was complete, the volunteers had created a lovely reading nook for the residents of Dignity. THEPLA GROUNDPROJECT Y A 2007 Academy of Pediatrics report states, activity is having serious, negative effects. It will be a certified Commercial Playground, “Play allows children to create and explore They are becoming increasingly unhappy, a world they can master, conquering their unhealthy and falling behind. One in three which means it will be anchored to the fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes kids is obese or overweight and one in five in conjunction with other children or adult has a mental illness. Unstructured free play of At approximately 3:30pm, the children started arriving for the Dignity After School Enrichment Program and the fun began! The volunteers were able to interact with the kids in different ways. Some helped with homework, while others played games like Chutes and Ladders. The students had a blast and so did the kids! caregivers. As they master their world, play a playground helps children develop critical the Consumer Product Safety Commission. helps children develop new competencies that skills, from physical dexterity to cognitive Having access to the playground will be an lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency skills, to symbolic thinking of make-believe added benefit of the After School Enrichment they will need to face future challenges. play. It also has a great impact on mental and Undirected play allows children to learn how physical health. Activities at Dignity ROCs. We believe the All of us at Dignity housing want to give a HUGE thanks to the volunteers from Bowdoin College for their help in making this day a success! They did an absolute amazing job! in four adolescents get the recommended Each year, approximately 100 children reside 60 minutes of physical activity or active with their families in our housing units. All play per day, with the number of younger come from low-income households, most kids only slightly higher. In schools, recess are being raised by a single mother and many continues to be shortened or cut completely. were living in an emergency shelter before fundraising webpage so that YOU can raise At home, children are sedentary in front finding Dignity. These children have ongoing money and spread the word! of the television or computer. America’s stressors due to trauma, which are often related children, of all income levels, are playing less to being homeless and witnessing parents than any previous generation, but children struggle with substance abuse or being victims in low-income households are more likely of domestic violence. to have fewer opportunities and less access rendering below, the Playground, built on the to quality recreational facilities. Growing property of Alicia’s House, will feature a slide, everyone can enjoy the fresh air in a safe research shows that the lack of physical monkey bars, play tunnel, and a rock climber. environment. Students from Bowdoin College with children in Dignity’s after school program. ground, designed for longevity, and comply with stringent guidelines for safety from playground will be a welcome addition, giving to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to the students a safe place to run around with resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy Dignity Housing is proud to be launching a skills.” campaign to build our children a safe and fun peers after a day spent at school, under the place to play, steps away from their front door. supervision of the Education Coordinator or Now more than ever, play matters. Only one adult volunteers. As pictured in the YOU can join our effort by becoming a playground ambassador. You’ll get your own With your help, Dignity’s Playground will be a place where moms catch up with neighbors, children play freely with their peers and HOW YOU CAN HELP: •Log on to dignityhousing.org to: -Join our effort by becoming a playground ambassador & raising money while spreading the word. -Make a secure donation. -Purchase a customizable brick & leave a lasting legacy. •Mail a check to: Playground Project Dignity Housing 5227-R Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 •For any questions, please contact: Jessica Blum jblum@dignityhousing.org 215-713-0960 ext. 207 SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:48 PM
DIGNITY WELCOMES BOWDOIN COLLEGE VOLUNTEERS  Reading Recycled Donates Gift Baskets TO DIGNITY We are incredibly grateful t...
SAVE THE DATE! Dignity Housing’s 2016 Fundraising Gala Dignity's Happy Hour at Han Dynasty An Evening of Cocktails & Dancing Saturday April 23, 2016 Regal Ballroom 5411 Oxford Avenue Philadelphia, PA Invitation to Follow BRING THIS COUPON TO DINE OUT WITH DIGNITY! spotlight layound 2.indd 3 Wanda Felder Education Coordinator On Wednesday, August 26, 2015, Dignity Housing hosted a Happy Hour event at Han Dynasty in Old City. The evening was an absolute success, with amazing food, delightful drinks and a few awesome giveaway prizes. The 50/50 was a hit once again and the winner, Christopher Rubinate, so generously gave the money back to Dignity! We sincerely appreciated it! It was wonderful to discuss Dignity’s mission with so many friends, new and old, and we hope to have your continued support in the future. In Honor Of Beverly Roberts-Cruse www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org Spotlight on: Connecting Our Community With Free Basic Computer Courses What if tomorrow morning, everything you’ve ever learned about computers was erased from your mind? You sit, staring at the screen for hours, but can’t even figure out how to turn it on. How would this impact your life, your career, what about all of those paperless bills? How could you watch the funny cat videos that you love so much, or find a recipe for dinner? What would you do? The majority of us never stop to think “what if ”, but for many people, this is their reality. Over time, knowing how to use a computer has become a necessity, as many of the things we used to do on paper or by mail are now done electronically. Dignity Housing is proud to update you on our computer lab services, which give our residents, as well as members of our community, the opportunity to access the internet and learn the basics of computers. During a six week period, Dignity’s Adult Basic Computer Class teaches students about the desktop, icons and how to navigate the mouse. They also become familiar with the Internet, email and Microsoft Word. Last year, Dignity held two courses with a total of 17 participants, many of which were over 65 and looking for help navigating the increasingly digital world. “If you don’t know how to use a computer, you’re lost in this world”, said Ms. Sandra Heggs. In July 2015, Dignity’s staff stopped by Dignity’s Resource Center (Dignity ROCs) to see how this summer’s students were doing in the course. They were finishing up the creation of their own personal email accounts, which they began in the previous session. The feedback they gave was delightful to hear, calling the computer class and their instructor Karen Motley, “a true blessing”. When asked why she wanted to take this course, Ms. Heggs said, “Because I needed a refresher, it has been a while. I want to look things up and do things on my own without needing anyone’s help. Ms. Karen is helping me do all of that”. At the conclusion of the six week program, the students were tested on the material they had learned and earned a certificate of completion. DIGNITY KEYSPOT FREE COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCESS Monday: 10am-12:30pm 2-4:30pm Tuesday: Closed Wednesday:10am-12:30pm 2-4:30pm Thursday: Closed Friday: 10am-12:30pm 2-4:30pm 5227-R Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 Wanda Felder, Education Coordinator, oversees the Education Enrichment Activities at the Dignity Resource and Opportunity Center (Dignity ROCs). She earned a Master’s degree in Technology, Innovation & Assessment in Education from Harvard University and is an expert at Program Design and Curriculum Development. Since coming to Dignity Housing in March 2013, Ms. Felder has played a lead role in the redesign of the education and workforce development programs and uses her expertise to create Individualized Student Plans with realistic steps and goals for each child. During the school year, the After School Enrichment Program (AEP) provides academic enrichment activities to school-age youth three days per week. All participants receive an Individualized Student Plan and receive oneon-one instruction with Ms. Felder. Education Enrichment Activities held at Dignity ROCs provide a safe, supportive and structured environment for the children who reside. Prior to entering our program, many of these children were living with their family in an emergency shelter, while others were reunited with a parent exiting a substance abuse program. Ms. Felder also provides oneon-one assistance to adults in our program; with services ranging from GED test prep, to helping with education and job applications and conducting mock interviews. Ms. Felder is always lending a supportive ear to our residents of all ages. SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:50 PM
SAVE THE DATE   Dignity Housing   s 2016 Fundraising Gala  Dignity s Happy Hour at Han Dynasty  An Evening of Cocktails   ...
DID YOU KNOW? There are countless ways YOU can help Dignity Housing, not just financially. Shopping on AmazonSmile is one of them! What is AmazonSmile? It’s is a website operated by Amazon. com. The only difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Dignity Housing – with no extra cost to you. It’s SO simple to get started! AmazonSmile isn’t the only way you can help! Share our Facebook and Twitter pages, or simply make Welzoo.com your homepage. By doing these things to support Dignity Housing, you are making a contribution to break the cycle of homelessness in Philadelphia. WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU. Your support will go a long way in helping us continue to provide the opportunities and supports our residents need in order to reach stability and move toward selfsufficiency. When logging on, select Dignity Housing as your charity of choice by using our full legal name, Committee for Dignity & Fairness for the Homeless. For more information about AmazonSmile and Welzoo, log on to www.dignityhousing.org. www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org spotlight layound 2.indd 4 Celebrate A MOTHER PROGRAM SUCCESSES Letter from former intern: Britaney Aberdeen FISCAL YEAR 2015 It seems as if it was just yesterday 71 students. I thought I would share that I started volunteering at Dignity that along with receiving my high Housing and since then I am still school diploma, I also received 2 content with my decision to have separate awards, my first award for With Dignity extended my time there. As the last Outstanding Academic Excellence, few weeks of school winded down, and my second for Philadelphia nothing but great news followed and Fedreation of Teachers Celia Pincus for one my senior project grade was Award For outstanding activism. one of the best achievements I could In all I am very pleased with my At Dignity Housing, our residents come from many different walks of life. However, they all have one common goal: to move out of poverty and get back on their feet in order to provide a life of stability for themselves and their children. have received in my senior year of wonderful experience in my senior high school. I passed with a 93 as year which definitely includes my my overall grade for each component experience at Dignity, thank you to of the projected combined. I cannot Dignity Housing and to Sherry as thank you enough for the experiences well for giving me such an amazing I had at Dignity Housing that allowed opportunity. Meet Kate*. She is a mother of four and member of our Dignity Housing family. Her youngest daughter is a cheerleader, dancer and straight A student. Her younger son loves football, has great grades and is very determined to succeed. He is also very technical and can “fix anything”. Kate’s oldest son, who is a senior in high school, is being recruited to different colleges on football scholarships. Her oldest daughter works a full time job and is very close to her mother and siblings. To those around her, Kate seemed to have it all together. However, like many of our residents, she comes from a traumatic past of violent, physical abuse at the hands of her now ex-husband. Kate’s road to Dignity was long and treacherous. Before finding a home with Dignity, she moved her family from shelter to shelter, never knowing what would happen next. Even then, she never gave up. Amidst the chaos, Kate made every effort to keep her children’s lives as normal as possible. She wanted them to become successful no matter their living situation or the difficulties she experiences. Kate made sure that her children kept up with their school work and remained involved with their sports and extracurricular activities. She was at every sporting event cheering them on with a huge smile on her face. Despite the tremendous obstacles that she was facing, Kate never gave up on being a dedicated mother. With the stability and support of Dignity’s staff she is continuing to take positive steps forward in her life. Kate is currently working with the Dignity Resource Coordinator to update her resume in order to find employment, and she plans on participating in our onsite Health and Wellness services to address her trauma. Kate is ready to get back on track to make a better life for herself and her children. me to channel them through my senior project. As of today I am a high school graduate of Parkway Northwest High Sincerley, Britaney Aberdeen School for Peace and Social Justice, with the 5th ranking in my class of Senior Case Manager Sherry Wherry, with Britaney 15 of the 18 households to move beyond Dignity, transitioned to PERMANENT HOUSING. 28 adults gained or maintained employment. 12 adults enrolled in or completed education activities. By the end of the 2015 school year, students in Dignity’s After School Enrichment Program averaged 62% on Math assesments, compared to an average 52% among homeless students in Pennsylvania. Students in Dignity’s After School Enrichment Program averaged 66% on Language Arts, compared to an average 49% among homeless students in Pennsylvania. Dignity held two two Basic Computer Courses with a total of 17 students from our community. *To protect the identity of our resident, we’ve changed her name. SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:51 PM
DID YOU KNOW  There are countless ways YOU can help Dignity Housing, not just financially. Shopping on AmazonSmile is one ...
DID YOU KNOW? There are countless ways YOU can help Dignity Housing, not just financially. Shopping on AmazonSmile is one of them! What is AmazonSmile? It’s is a website operated by Amazon. com. The only difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Dignity Housing – with no extra cost to you. It’s SO simple to get started! AmazonSmile isn’t the only way you can help! Share our Facebook and Twitter pages, or simply make Welzoo.com your homepage. By doing these things to support Dignity Housing, you are making a contribution to break the cycle of homelessness in Philadelphia. WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU. Your support will go a long way in helping us continue to provide the opportunities and supports our residents need in order to reach stability and move toward selfsufficiency. When logging on, select Dignity Housing as your charity of choice by using our full legal name, Committee for Dignity & Fairness for the Homeless. For more information about AmazonSmile and Welzoo, log on to www.dignityhousing.org. www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org spotlight layound 2.indd 4 Celebrate A MOTHER PROGRAM SUCCESSES Letter from former intern: Britaney Aberdeen FISCAL YEAR 2015 It seems as if it was just yesterday 71 students. I thought I would share that I started volunteering at Dignity that along with receiving my high Housing and since then I am still school diploma, I also received 2 content with my decision to have separate awards, my first award for With Dignity extended my time there. As the last Outstanding Academic Excellence, few weeks of school winded down, and my second for Philadelphia nothing but great news followed and Fedreation of Teachers Celia Pincus for one my senior project grade was Award For outstanding activism. one of the best achievements I could In all I am very pleased with my At Dignity Housing, our residents come from many different walks of life. However, they all have one common goal: to move out of poverty and get back on their feet in order to provide a life of stability for themselves and their children. have received in my senior year of wonderful experience in my senior high school. I passed with a 93 as year which definitely includes my my overall grade for each component experience at Dignity, thank you to of the projected combined. I cannot Dignity Housing and to Sherry as thank you enough for the experiences well for giving me such an amazing I had at Dignity Housing that allowed opportunity. Meet Kate*. She is a mother of four and member of our Dignity Housing family. Her youngest daughter is a cheerleader, dancer and straight A student. Her younger son loves football, has great grades and is very determined to succeed. He is also very technical and can “fix anything”. Kate’s oldest son, who is a senior in high school, is being recruited to different colleges on football scholarships. Her oldest daughter works a full time job and is very close to her mother and siblings. To those around her, Kate seemed to have it all together. However, like many of our residents, she comes from a traumatic past of violent, physical abuse at the hands of her now ex-husband. Kate’s road to Dignity was long and treacherous. Before finding a home with Dignity, she moved her family from shelter to shelter, never knowing what would happen next. Even then, she never gave up. Amidst the chaos, Kate made every effort to keep her children’s lives as normal as possible. She wanted them to become successful no matter their living situation or the difficulties she experiences. Kate made sure that her children kept up with their school work and remained involved with their sports and extracurricular activities. She was at every sporting event cheering them on with a huge smile on her face. Despite the tremendous obstacles that she was facing, Kate never gave up on being a dedicated mother. With the stability and support of Dignity’s staff she is continuing to take positive steps forward in her life. Kate is currently working with the Dignity Resource Coordinator to update her resume in order to find employment, and she plans on participating in our onsite Health and Wellness services to address her trauma. Kate is ready to get back on track to make a better life for herself and her children. me to channel them through my senior project. As of today I am a high school graduate of Parkway Northwest High Sincerley, Britaney Aberdeen School for Peace and Social Justice, with the 5th ranking in my class of Senior Case Manager Sherry Wherry, with Britaney 15 of the 18 households to move beyond Dignity, transitioned to PERMANENT HOUSING. 28 adults gained or maintained employment. 12 adults enrolled in or completed education activities. By the end of the 2015 school year, students in Dignity’s After School Enrichment Program averaged 62% on Math assesments, compared to an average 52% among homeless students in Pennsylvania. Students in Dignity’s After School Enrichment Program averaged 66% on Language Arts, compared to an average 49% among homeless students in Pennsylvania. Dignity held two two Basic Computer Courses with a total of 17 students from our community. *To protect the identity of our resident, we’ve changed her name. SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:51 PM
DID YOU KNOW  There are countless ways YOU can help Dignity Housing, not just financially. Shopping on AmazonSmile is one ...
SAVE THE DATE! Dignity Housing’s 2016 Fundraising Gala Dignity's Happy Hour at Han Dynasty An Evening of Cocktails & Dancing Saturday April 23, 2016 Regal Ballroom 5411 Oxford Avenue Philadelphia, PA Invitation to Follow BRING THIS COUPON TO DINE OUT WITH DIGNITY! spotlight layound 2.indd 3 Wanda Felder Education Coordinator On Wednesday, August 26, 2015, Dignity Housing hosted a Happy Hour event at Han Dynasty in Old City. The evening was an absolute success, with amazing food, delightful drinks and a few awesome giveaway prizes. The 50/50 was a hit once again and the winner, Christopher Rubinate, so generously gave the money back to Dignity! We sincerely appreciated it! It was wonderful to discuss Dignity’s mission with so many friends, new and old, and we hope to have your continued support in the future. In Honor Of Beverly Roberts-Cruse www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org Spotlight on: Connecting Our Community With Free Basic Computer Courses What if tomorrow morning, everything you’ve ever learned about computers was erased from your mind? You sit, staring at the screen for hours, but can’t even figure out how to turn it on. How would this impact your life, your career, what about all of those paperless bills? How could you watch the funny cat videos that you love so much, or find a recipe for dinner? What would you do? The majority of us never stop to think “what if ”, but for many people, this is their reality. Over time, knowing how to use a computer has become a necessity, as many of the things we used to do on paper or by mail are now done electronically. Dignity Housing is proud to update you on our computer lab services, which give our residents, as well as members of our community, the opportunity to access the internet and learn the basics of computers. During a six week period, Dignity’s Adult Basic Computer Class teaches students about the desktop, icons and how to navigate the mouse. They also become familiar with the Internet, email and Microsoft Word. Last year, Dignity held two courses with a total of 17 participants, many of which were over 65 and looking for help navigating the increasingly digital world. “If you don’t know how to use a computer, you’re lost in this world”, said Ms. Sandra Heggs. In July 2015, Dignity’s staff stopped by Dignity’s Resource Center (Dignity ROCs) to see how this summer’s students were doing in the course. They were finishing up the creation of their own personal email accounts, which they began in the previous session. The feedback they gave was delightful to hear, calling the computer class and their instructor Karen Motley, “a true blessing”. When asked why she wanted to take this course, Ms. Heggs said, “Because I needed a refresher, it has been a while. I want to look things up and do things on my own without needing anyone’s help. Ms. Karen is helping me do all of that”. At the conclusion of the six week program, the students were tested on the material they had learned and earned a certificate of completion. DIGNITY KEYSPOT FREE COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCESS Monday: 10am-12:30pm 2-4:30pm Tuesday: Closed Wednesday:10am-12:30pm 2-4:30pm Thursday: Closed Friday: 10am-12:30pm 2-4:30pm 5227-R Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 Wanda Felder, Education Coordinator, oversees the Education Enrichment Activities at the Dignity Resource and Opportunity Center (Dignity ROCs). She earned a Master’s degree in Technology, Innovation & Assessment in Education from Harvard University and is an expert at Program Design and Curriculum Development. Since coming to Dignity Housing in March 2013, Ms. Felder has played a lead role in the redesign of the education and workforce development programs and uses her expertise to create Individualized Student Plans with realistic steps and goals for each child. During the school year, the After School Enrichment Program (AEP) provides academic enrichment activities to school-age youth three days per week. All participants receive an Individualized Student Plan and receive oneon-one instruction with Ms. Felder. Education Enrichment Activities held at Dignity ROCs provide a safe, supportive and structured environment for the children who reside. Prior to entering our program, many of these children were living with their family in an emergency shelter, while others were reunited with a parent exiting a substance abuse program. Ms. Felder also provides oneon-one assistance to adults in our program; with services ranging from GED test prep, to helping with education and job applications and conducting mock interviews. Ms. Felder is always lending a supportive ear to our residents of all ages. SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:50 PM
SAVE THE DATE   Dignity Housing   s 2016 Fundraising Gala  Dignity s Happy Hour at Han Dynasty  An Evening of Cocktails   ...
DIGNITY WELCOMES BOWDOIN COLLEGE VOLUNTEERS Reading Recycled Donates Gift Baskets TO DIGNITY We are incredibly grateful to Anne and Dave from Reading Recycled for their generous donation of Birthday Gift Baskets. Each one is personalized and filled with age appropriate books & goodies. The children of Dignity love their special Birthday surprises. It’s wonderful to see them so thankful and excited! Reading Recycled is a nonprofit organization that strives to eliminate children growing up without books in their homes. The project is the brainchild of their founder, Anne, a certified teacher with a Masters degree in Education. She was shocked after watching a documentary featuring young children with no books to read and resolved to make a difference. Reading Recycled collects new or gently used books and boxes them up for distribution to various housing and youth programs such as Dignity. The new books, along with a toy or craft, are made into birthday baskets for deserving children. It’s truly been wonderful and we hope to continue this partnership in the future! www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org spotlight layound 2.indd 2 On March 11, 2015, 10 students from Bowdoin College in Maine spent the day with Dignity as a part of their Alternative Spring Break program. The goal of their visit was not only to volunteer their time, but to learn about Dignity’s role in breaking the cycle of homelessness in Philadelphia. Once they arrived, the volunteers were given an overview of the programs and services we provide. The beautiful weather allowed for us to walk around the Germantown neighborhood and show some of Dignity’s houses. The response from the students was truly wonderful, as they praised Dignity for the work we do. The volunteers returned to the Dignity Resource & Opportunity Center (Dignity ROCS) to begin the exciting projects that were planned. They put together bookshelves, painted three walls and categorized our massive collection of books by age group. When everything was complete, the volunteers had created a lovely reading nook for the residents of Dignity. THEPLA GROUNDPROJECT Y A 2007 Academy of Pediatrics report states, activity is having serious, negative effects. It will be a certified Commercial Playground, “Play allows children to create and explore They are becoming increasingly unhappy, a world they can master, conquering their unhealthy and falling behind. One in three which means it will be anchored to the fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes kids is obese or overweight and one in five in conjunction with other children or adult has a mental illness. Unstructured free play of At approximately 3:30pm, the children started arriving for the Dignity After School Enrichment Program and the fun began! The volunteers were able to interact with the kids in different ways. Some helped with homework, while others played games like Chutes and Ladders. The students had a blast and so did the kids! caregivers. As they master their world, play a playground helps children develop critical the Consumer Product Safety Commission. helps children develop new competencies that skills, from physical dexterity to cognitive Having access to the playground will be an lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency skills, to symbolic thinking of make-believe added benefit of the After School Enrichment they will need to face future challenges. play. It also has a great impact on mental and Undirected play allows children to learn how physical health. Activities at Dignity ROCs. We believe the All of us at Dignity housing want to give a HUGE thanks to the volunteers from Bowdoin College for their help in making this day a success! They did an absolute amazing job! in four adolescents get the recommended Each year, approximately 100 children reside 60 minutes of physical activity or active with their families in our housing units. All play per day, with the number of younger come from low-income households, most kids only slightly higher. In schools, recess are being raised by a single mother and many continues to be shortened or cut completely. were living in an emergency shelter before fundraising webpage so that YOU can raise At home, children are sedentary in front finding Dignity. These children have ongoing money and spread the word! of the television or computer. America’s stressors due to trauma, which are often related children, of all income levels, are playing less to being homeless and witnessing parents than any previous generation, but children struggle with substance abuse or being victims in low-income households are more likely of domestic violence. to have fewer opportunities and less access rendering below, the Playground, built on the to quality recreational facilities. Growing property of Alicia’s House, will feature a slide, everyone can enjoy the fresh air in a safe research shows that the lack of physical monkey bars, play tunnel, and a rock climber. environment. Students from Bowdoin College with children in Dignity’s after school program. ground, designed for longevity, and comply with stringent guidelines for safety from playground will be a welcome addition, giving to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to the students a safe place to run around with resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy Dignity Housing is proud to be launching a skills.” campaign to build our children a safe and fun peers after a day spent at school, under the place to play, steps away from their front door. supervision of the Education Coordinator or Now more than ever, play matters. Only one adult volunteers. As pictured in the YOU can join our effort by becoming a playground ambassador. You’ll get your own With your help, Dignity’s Playground will be a place where moms catch up with neighbors, children play freely with their peers and HOW YOU CAN HELP: •Log on to dignityhousing.org to: -Join our effort by becoming a playground ambassador & raising money while spreading the word. -Make a secure donation. -Purchase a customizable brick & leave a lasting legacy. •Mail a check to: Playground Project Dignity Housing 5227-R Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 •For any questions, please contact: Jessica Blum jblum@dignityhousing.org 215-713-0960 ext. 207 SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:48 PM
DIGNITY WELCOMES BOWDOIN COLLEGE VOLUNTEERS  Reading Recycled Donates Gift Baskets TO DIGNITY We are incredibly grateful t...
ISSUE 36 | FALL 2015 ABOUT DIGNITY HOUSING In 1988 Dignity Housing was established as the first housing and social services program in the nation founded and guided by homeless people and activists. Dignity’s mission is to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that confronts low-income families and individuals in the City of Philadelphia. Dignity Housing breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing safe, decent affordable housing, promoting self-sufficiency, and creating opportunities. Shine A SPOTLIGHT How You Can Help: Beverly Roberts-Cruse, Executive Director Board Members Anthony D. Braxton, Chair Marie Gaddy, Vice-Chair Ernest F. Hargett, Jr., Secretary J. Seth Thompson, Treasurer Marjorie Shiekman, Executive Committee Esther Bowens David S. Gerhart William Hughes Wendy Smith Make a secure donation online by clicking “Donate Now” on our website www.dignityhousing.org. or by sending a check to: 5227-R Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144 O n E d u c at i o n W i t h D i g n i t y H o u s i n g Find out if your employer has a matching gifts program. Double the impact of your gift! Workplace Giving: United Way Donor Choice #2338. Combined Federal Campaign Donor #77392 IN THIS ISSUE Designed & Written by N. Pitts Editors: J. Blum, B. Roberts-Cruse, V. Tercero Reading Recycled Donates Gift Baskets Page 2 Dignity’s Basic Computer Courses Page 3 Spotlight On: Education Coordinator Page 3 Meet A Mother With Dignity Page 4 Letter From For mer Inter n Page 5 5227-R Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 P: 215-713-0960 F:215-713-0968 www.dignityhousing.org spotlight layound 2.indd 1 The Committee for Dignity and Fairness for the Homeless Housing Development, Inc. www.DIGNITY HOUSING.org T he Playg round Project Page 7 Dignity’s Annual “BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT” PREPARES Students FOR THE NEW YEAR For many children, back-toschool is a time of excitement. It marks the start of a new year, new classroom and new friends. Unfortunately, the lives of children growing up in lowincome households are often very different from those of their more affluent peers. Backto-school shopping is not an exciting time of new clothes and school supplies. In fact, they often face the uncertainty of starting the school year with very little. Knowing how important education is, we strive to ensure that the children of Dignity are prepared. On September 17th, Dignity Housing held our annual “BackTo-School Night”. The students were given new book bags filled with supplies for the upcoming year. Thanks to Beverly RobertsCruse’s girlfriends, who have donated to this event for nine years, as well as the organization, Amazing Child Abundant Hope, and St. Pauls Baptist Church, the children of Dignity are starting the school year with a sense of confidence and reassurance. Amazing Child Abundant Hope is an organization led by Carole Davis. Last April, Ms. Davis engaged Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown’s Sunday school children in, “The Penny Project”. Collection containers were placed throughout the Church School rooms for the children to bring in change. Coins were counted weekly and recorded. In three months, they had raised $150.00 for Dignity. This money was used to purchase new book bags and school supplies for the middle school and high school students residing at Dignity. Along with The Penny Project, Amazing Child Abundant Hope secured a $2,500 grant, specifically for the children of Dignity. The first portion of the grant was used to supplement the uniform vouchers that parents receive from the Philadelphia School District. SPOTLIGHT 36 | 2015 11/10/2015 2:04:44 PM
ISSUE 36   FALL 2015  ABOUT DIGNITY HOUSING In 1988 Dignity Housing was established as the first housing and social servic...