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connect COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

Serving Hope “Yes, we’re helping the community, but it’s so fun for us.”

SEPTEMBER 2015

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Journey Home Breakfast Stories of Hope


This newsletter is generously sponsored by Adrenaline Media, Inc. Visit GOADMI.COM today!

Why do we do what we do? The answer is simple: People. Every single person you meet has a story, and no two are alike. Here at the Coalition, I am surrounded by stories that range from tragic to triumphant and heartbreaking to humorous. I have encountered the most remarkable and resilient people within these walls. In the Stories of Hope section of this issue (Pages 2 & 3), you’ll meet several clients who were kind enough to share parts of their unforgettable stories. If you “like” the Coalition on Facebook, you’ve probably seen our #storiesofhope posts. My favorite part of these posts is reading the comments that you, our friends, leave. You truly care, and you are rooting for our clients. From “Keep it up, Carolyn! You will get there!” to “A true success story! So proud of you,” I love hearing your words of encouragement – and so do the clients. So, what makes these Stories of Hope possible? Once again, the answer is simple: People. Individuals just like you make the Coalition’s work possible, and you are part of each and every story that we share. I can’t thank you enough. Sincerely,

FROM OUR FAMILY Brent A. Trotter President/CEO

TO YOURS

board of directors Chairman Elena H. Norman Vice Chair Samuel C. “Trip” Stephens III ZOM, Inc. Secretary Douglas M. Spencer Spencer Consulting Services Treasurer John E. Hearn Orlando Utilities Commission President/CEO Brent A. Trotter Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Inc. Steven Alexander, PFM Asset Management, LLC Marc Angle, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management Timothy R. Baker, AIA, Baker Barrios Architects, Inc. Brooke R. Bonnett, City of Orlando Christopher C. Brockman, Holland & Knight LLP Bakari F. Burns, Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. Fara K. Dantzler, Wells Fargo Bank N.A. Eric David, Expedia Local Expert Miranda F. “Randi” Fitzgerald, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. Jim Fritz, Orlando Magic Eric D. Gassman, Orange County Government David Jasmund, PCE Investment Bankers, Inc. Christine S. Kefauver, HDR, Inc.

Fred R. Kittinger, Jr., University of Central Florida Ronald R. Lamb, SunTrust Bank Meagan Martin, Baker & Hostetler LLP Sean A. McLaughlin, CNL Financial Group / JDS Holdings, LLC Michael Miller, Miller Air Group Lee Nimkoff, Brio Properties T. Todd Pittenger, Akerman LLP Stacey A. Prince-Troutman, Broad and Cassel John Rivers, 4R Restaurant Group Ty G. Roofner, Burr & Forman LLP Randy E. Schimmelpfennig, SchimmBros, Inc. Rick Schooler, Orlando Health Scott R. Stahley, Lincoln Property Company of Florida, Inc. Barbara Larson Stuart, The Stuart Group Jane Tebbe-Shemelya, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Richard G. Wack, Mediation Services of Central Florida, Inc. Richard C. “Rich” Wahl, Findsome & Winmore Bill L. Warren, Reedy Creek Improvement District Michael Weinberg, HFF, L.P. Mindy Willis, Orlando Utilities Commission Mark Woodbury, Universal Parks & Resorts Erin Trabel Youngs, Walt Disney World Resort Aaron Zandy, Ford & Harrison LLP


Journey Home Breakfast

Save the Date!

Join us for the Journey Home Breakfast on November 17, 2015. Each and every day, people like you help the Coalition turn tales of hardship into stories of hope. Join us for the Journey Home Breakfast on Tuesday, November 17 at the Rosen Centre Hotel where you will hear true, heartfelt Stories of Hope straight from our clients. From fighting addiction to fleeing domestic violence, you will be inspired by their courage and moved by their determination. We invite you to find out how you can become a hero in someone’s story and make a lasting difference in our community.

Event Details What:

A free breakfast and inspirational presentation with a unique opportunity to make an impactful gift that will truly change lives

Where:

Rosen Centre Hotel 9840 International Drive • Orlando, FL 32819 Grand Ballroom AB Parking is free. Valet available at guest’s cost.

Date:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Time:

Registration: 7:30 a.m. Breakfast: 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

RSVP no later than Friday, October 30 to reserve your seat! 407.426.1259 | development@cflhomeless.org

We need Table Captains! Host your own table of 10 – at no cost to you – by calling the Development Department at 407.426.1259 or sending us an email at development@cflhomeless.org. 1


stories of

hope

Real people. Real stories.

Each week, we share new #storiesofhope on our Facebook page. These are true, inspirational stories of our clients overcoming obstacles and finding hope. As a supporter, you help us transform lives, making you an important part of each and every story. VISIT FACEBOOK.COM/COALITIONFORTHEHOMELESS Over the years, your support has helped our residents reclaim what was once lost: jobs, homes, self-sufficiency. But for Margaret, a resident at the Center for Women and Families, the help she received at the Coalition gave her a new outlook on life — literally. It happened suddenly. Last summer, Margaret was working an afternoon shift as a server at a local restaurant when the vision out of her right eye went black. There was no pain, no warning, just darkness. Margaret was completely baffled. Until that point, she assumed her failing vision was simply a product of getting older. Since the blindness came on so suddenly, she hoped it would return just as inexplicably. However, over the next three months her left eye, too, began losing its vision. She could no longer work safely or efficiently. Without a steady income, bills added up quickly, and Margaret was forced to give up her home and move in with friends. “I felt very frustrated. And depressed. And the worst part about it was not being able to work,” Margaret said. “I’ve been working all my life. I’ve always had a home. I’ve always had a good job and decent money. And I felt my independence was taken away.” Meanwhile, her living situation took a dangerous turn when a man she considered to be a friend beat her. By the time Margaret arrived at the Coalition in December of last year, she was a domestic violence victim and almost completely blind.

“There was no way I could leave this building on my own because I couldn’t see curbs. I couldn’t see sidewalks, streets. I couldn’t see cars. I couldn’t see buses, traffic lights, street signs, anything,” Margaret said. “Even to walk up to the corner store, I had to have someone accompany me.” Her case manager, Andrea, was acutely aware of the severity of Margaret’s condition. On the very first day they met, Andrea made a number of contacts, trying to reach doctors or clinics who could help Margaret. Within a period of two weeks, they scheduled an appointment at Florida Eye Clinic in Altamonte Springs. The doctors determined that Margaret had a severe case of cataracts. Because her situation was so grave, they scheduled surgery right away. Florida Eye Clinic removed the cataracts her right eye, pro bono. Because the clinic wasn’t able to offer another pro bono surgery to Margaret until next year, Andrea again set to work. This time, a referral from Orange Blossom Family Health Clinic led them to the Bird Eye Institute in Baldwin Park. They were able to perform the surgery for Margaret’s left eye, also at no cost to her. “I can see the blades of grass, the clouds in the sky. It’s simple things like that that make me blessed. And the larger things, like being able to go back to work now, and me being able to go outside by myself. I can take a bus now. I can eat my meals now. Everything is so much easier. I had trouble putting toothpaste on my toothbrush; that’s how bad it was, because I couldn’t see,” said Margaret. “My life has changed so much. And it’s been nothing but a blessing to be here.”


Jose, his wife Tanairi and their three children, ages 9, 3, and 18 months, moved into their new place recently. “When we first came here, we came with nothing. Just a couple of dollars, just three pieces of luggage. And now we have everything. You name it; we have a washer, dryer, furniture, a job, everything. We’ve got an apartment now. It’s comfortable. I’m buying a car now. I already bought it; all I need is a tag.”

Carolyn takes an hour and 45-minute bus ride each day to get to her two jobs. “Last week I had to wait for the bus and it didn’t come for an hour and it was storming so bad. I was drenched. Even with an umbrella, I was drenched. I was okay; it just made me want to work that much harder to get my car. It just made me want to work harder and pick up more shifts.”

Alisa was a streetwalker, addicted to drugs, when she found out she was pregnant. She knew she needed to turn her life around. “I had to find a way to stop using drugs. That was just mandatory. Because I didn’t want to give the responsibility of my child to someone else. I didn’t want to endanger her life by continuing drug use. I graduated cum laude from UCF with my bachelors in social work and from there I qualified to do what is called advanced standing for my masters degree, which meant I could do it in one year instead of two. Inspire for change. That’s my goal. And with the education background to supplement my personal experience, that’s really what I’m hoping for, is to really help others to see that there is a life on the other side. There is hope.” 3


VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT Residents at the Coalition rely on the kindness of our community for so much. That’s why we’re especially grateful to have companies like Expedia Local Expert Orlando, who encourage their employees to share their time, talent and treasure with our residents — just as you do.

Serving

Hope

Four years ago, Coalition board member Eric David, vice president and general manager at Expedia Local Expert Orlando, began a quest to connect his company to an organization that makes a difference in the community. Employees were asked to vote for a charity of choice, and we’re fortunate that they chose the Coalition. Eric’s involvement with the Coalition is a reminder that homelessness is a crisis that can happen to anyone. “My family, growing up, was extremely poor,” he said. “My family easily could have been a family at the Coalition.”

Over the last few years, Expedia has shown much enthusiasm for helping their homeless neighbors. The group holds regular supply drives for our youngest residents, who are always in need of diapers and wipes. They stay connected with us through our Facebook page to rally employees for help when our residents need anything. In addition to responding to our requests for donations, the group has come up with a few creative ways to help as well. Last year, they raised money for the Coalition by hosting a Cutest Pet Photo contest. Employees brought in their four-legged friends to be professionally photographed for a registration fee, which was donated to us. The group has also hosted karaoke, trivia, and Pie-a-Manager events, all to benefit residents at the Coalition.


“Yes, we’re helping the community, but it’s so fun for us,” said Tara Knight, senior concierge manager and the volunteer coordinator for Coalition outreach efforts. “We have such a good time together, just being silly and doing something worthwhile. I think that’s been really good for our team unity and our morale.” The Expedia team also regularly spends time with Coalition residents. Without fail, every third Wednesday of the month, the group spends its evening at the Men’s Service Center, serving up dinner for both our men and those in the community in need of a meal. Because Expedia has so many volunteers to help with the meal serve – often 30 to 50 team members attend – they’re able to provide table service for our clients. It’s always a treat for residents to have food brought to them rather than waiting in line, and this much more personal experience is greatly appreciated. For Expedia director of sales and operations Jon Epstein, the team’s volunteer efforts are a way for him to build teamwork and camaraderie with employees. ”I really get to know some of the team an awful lot better than I would. I learn more about their families, their likes and their dislikes, and we chat while the meal serve is going on.” In addition to being able to get to know Expedia team members, Jon adds that the group’s commitment to the Coalition is simply good for business. “It’s something that helps us, especially with the millennial generation, recruit talent,” Jon said. “One of the things that we’ll get asked on interviews is, ‘How do you give back to the community?’ And the Coalition is the first thing we talk about, and those volunteer opportunities.” The team also participates in events to raise funds for the Coalition. This year, for example, the Expedia team participated in Charity Challenge, an event that invites groups from the hospitality industry to compete for prizes to be given to their favorite nonprofit. They even sponsor the Florida Players Bowl, a charity bowling event that is hosted

by the Orlando chapter of the NFL Players Association and benefits the Coalition. We are fortunate and grateful to count the Expedia Local Expert Orlando team among our most loyal volunteers. Your support, combined with their many efforts, helps make sure that the Coalition’s men, women, and children will have a brighter tomorrow.

you can Serve or Sponsor a Meal, too! Serving a meal at one of the Coalition’s three facilities is an incredibly rewarding way to volunteer. Groups can sign up for either a one-time service or a recurring schedule. We ask that groups either provide the meal or underwrite the cost. If you can’t gather enough volunteers but want to sponsor a meal, we would still love to have you! Center for Women and Families Minimum number of volunteers: 6 Cost: Breakfast $150 Dinner $275 Women’s Residential and Counseling Center Minimum number of volunteers: 3 Cost: Breakfast $100 Dinner $170 Men’s Service Center Minimum number of volunteers: 10 Cost: Breakfast $150 Dinner $500

we need

YOU!

For more information on meal service opportunities, please contact Kristen Pena, Director of Community Engagement, at Kristen.Pena@cflhomeless.org or 407.872.5784. 5


“

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.� WARREN BUFFETT

With Planned Giving, you can plant the seeds of hope for tomorrow, today. By remembering the Coalition in your will or estate plan, you can help guarantee that we will be here for future families who need a helping hand. Not only will your gift provide an estate tax deduction for your family, it will serve as a lasting tribute to your commitment to our mission. For further information on how to include the Coalition in your charitable giving plans, please contact Tracie Morris, Director of Development, at 407.426.1265 or Tracie.Morris@cflhomeless.org.

VISIT US ONLINE AT CENTRALFLORIDAHOMELESS.ORG!

CONNECT | September 2015  

In this issue of CONNECT, you'll meet one of our fabulous meal serve volunteer groups, Expedia Local Expert, and read some of our most inspi...

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