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See photos from Our Houseâ€&#x;s 5th annual Tie One On.

Two friends are on their way together to a GED and beyond.

Cyclists ride from Little Rock to Memphis for Our House.

Sam & Nick spend some time with Our Club during their walk from Maine to California.

ACCESS Life food drive collects triple their goal.

Even with the phone lines down, Our House still makes the connection for people in need & people wanting to help.

Our House currently has 45 team members. Meet two of them each month in our staff profile series.

Shop for unique holiday items at My Favorite Thrift Store.

Clean out your coat closet and help the working homeless.

See a few of Novemberâ€&#x;s volunteers & donors.

Help homeless kids & adults have wonderful winter holidays.

6-year-old Mrs. hugs Santa, who comes to Our House before Christmas every year to give each child an early holiday gift.

newsletter design & all photos by Amanda Woods, an Our House VISTA except pg 7 top & middle by Heather Canterbury; pg 24 by Grant Harrison page 28 design by Ganelle Grimm, Development Coordinator

facing page This yearâ€&#x;s Tie One On raised $82,953 for Our House. Over $27,000 of this came from the silent & live auctions, almost twice the amount raised in last yearâ€&#x;s auction. left top VISTA Leader Sarah Ryder and other Our House VISTAs, staff, & volunteers hung aprons & decorations before the event. left middle Development VISTA Manon Jacob gives instructions to volunteers who will be greeting guests at the door. left bottom Auctioneer Jay Atkins entertained & energized guests during the live auction, helping raise $13,750 from the six live auction packages. continued on page 6

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bottom, left to right a few of this year‟s aprons: Chef by Beth Beam with Progressive Dinner package, live auction Phantom of the Opera by Cheri Holt with Entertainment package, live auction Southwest by Jan Young with Getaway For Two package, live auction Our House by Vicki Kovaleski (based on a photo by Amanda Woods) with Orlando package, live auction Purple Tree & Lemons by Mac Murphy with Apple package

Patchwork by Sandy Newberg with Pearls package New Year by Amy Lasseigne with New Year‟s Eve package Willie Nelson by Emily Wood, Chair of the Artist Committee for Tie One On right top This year‟s event had 67 painted aprons, 61 in the silent auction & 6 in the live auction, plus aprons printed with Our House‟s logo. right middle Tabitha Cunningham & Kelly Caldwell, Tie One On C0-Chairs

by Lara Assaf, Education & Workforce VISTA Joanne Stocker and her friend Shakedra Lowry have a shared dream: they want to go to college. The two also share the same obstacle: neither has their high school diploma. They had long discussed getting started on their GED when one day, Shakedra noticed the Our House Learning Center as she was driving by on Roosevelt Road. “Well, I came home and told Joanne that there was a center down the street. So we just came by the next day, and the next thing we know we‟re taking our tests and getting started!” The Learning Center, open to both Our House residents and community members like Joanne and Shakedra, offers free services in the areas of adult education, job skills, and life skills. Since that day six weeks ago, Shakedra and Joanne have attended the Learning Center almost every day it‟s been open, and the work is paying off. Both have made major progress in every area of the test, and the women are getting excited about nearing the final exam. “We‟ve been improving,” says Joanne. “We‟re really happy about it. It makes us want to come in every day.” Brenda Reagan, a licensed teacher that heads the Learning Center classroom, describes herself as Shakedra and Joeanne‟s personal cheerleader. continued on page 10

“They are just model students. It‟s a great experience to watch them work so hard and advance so quickly,” Brenda smiles. “I‟m really proud of them, and I know they‟ll achieve their goals, and I‟ll be right there on the front row clapping.” Brenda‟s students say the feeling is mutual. “We love Ms. Brenda. She‟s a huge help and an inspiration to study,” says Joanne. “If it wasn‟t for her, we‟d be way behind. She keeps us on track.” Shakedra, 18, describes how students also enjoy the Learning Center‟s guidelines for preparing to take the GED. “We like the system here,” she says. “We have to study in the center for at least 12 hours before we can test again, so it gives you time to improve yourself.” On top of free materials, instruction from Brenda, and facilities equipped with brand-new computers, students also have access to one-on-one tutoring with volunteers. But some resources necessary to finish

the GED, the two both quickly answer that high school is not the end of the line. Joanne aspires to become a licensed RN, while Shakedra simply looks forward to being a normal colJoanne, 42, explained how her friendship with Shakedra was a major lege student like others her age. They look forward to working with the support for both of them on their learning journey. “I‟m motivating her Learning Center‟s partnership with UALR TRIO, an organization that visto get hers and she‟s motivating me its Our House once a week to counsel to get mine.” non-traditional students through the difficult process of taking entrance “I wouldn't have been as motivated without Joanne,” followed Shakedra. exams and applying to college. But all of that seems easy to handle to “I don‟t think I would be here.” these two amazing women, who count on friendship to help them “We study together,” Joanne added. through. “And hopefully we‟ll be walking the stage together, holding hands and “Oh, we‟re going to college,” says a laughing.” smiling Joanne. “And we‟ll still be on each other‟s side.” When asked how determined they are to continue their education after such a daunting task, such as persistence and positivity, must come from within.

by Manon Jacob, Development VISTA

Don and Joe are The Vegan Biker Dudes, a new duo of community volunteers who raise funds for non-profits by gathering sponsors for their extreme bike treks. The cyclists chose to benefit Our House on their first ride, raising $805 from sponsors of their ride. On November 2nd they left Little Rock for a 3-day, 150-mile journey to Memphis. They rode 50 miles each day, camping every night and documenting their progress on Twitter. The cyclists were “stoked to be partnered with an organization that furthers the lives of so many individuals in so many positive ways,� and Our House is excited to have received the attention of these dedicated volunteers. This is only the beginning for Don and Joe, and we hope to see them experience success in all of their future fundraising efforts.

Ruby & her dad Ben Goodwin Grants Manager Our House Logan, daughter of Andrea Lee Child Care Coordinator Our House


Christmas DĂŠcor*, various prices Available at My Favorite Thrift Store *Tree & decorations in photo not available.


Teddy Bear $1.99 Available at My Favorite Thrift Store


Blue Sofa $139.99 Available at My Favorite Thrift Store


Reindeer Sweater $6.99 Donated by Ruby & Ben, Available at My Favorite Thrift Store

109 N. Van Buren St. Little Rock 353-0642

4606 JFK Blvd. North Little Rock 246-5741

Pick-up is available for furniture donations.

benefitting Our House





by Amber Hood, Volunteer Relations VISTA Sam Rouleau and Nick Tucker are two men on a journey across America. They began in their home state of Maine at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and will continue until they reach the Pacific coast. Through an organization called Making Strides: Rediscovering the Dream, Sam and Nick will spend 200 days walking across the country and seeking charitable opportunities in every town in which they stop. As they walk nearly 25 miles a day, they serve those in need. Along their journey, they document what they see, and they hope to inspire others to find meaningful ways to impact the lives of others. Once the duo reached east Arkansas, they called Our House, asking how they could help. Two days later they arrived in Little Rock and volunteered with Our Club, helping the kids with homework and answering lots of questions about their cross-country journey.

left: Malik & Nick right: Zadie & Sam

by Amber Hood, Volunteer Relations VISTA ACCESS Life is a day program for adults with devel-

opmental disabilities focused on leisure, education, independence, fitness, and community involvement. They‟ve decided to get involved as volunteers at Our House. Led by Nathan Winham and Paige Kellam, members of ACCESS Life created collages as gifts and assembled nearly a hundred hygiene packets to distribute to new residents. They also organized a food drive competition in the ACCESS school, collecting 1,302 food items, three times their goal of 400 to 500. The winner was the 3-year-old class with 538 items. One volunteer, Sam Hill, says “It‟s very humbling to be able to help.” ACCESS Life plans to continue volunteering at Our

House throughout the upcoming year, proving that no matter who you are or where you are in life, you can find a way to make a huge impact in your community through volunteering.

Georgia Mjartan

A few weeks ago, after a heavy storm, the phones at Our House went down. For 35 hours, every single call to Our House—every call for help and every offer to serve—was forwarded to one cell phone. For the first three hours, that cell phone was mine. On that cold, rainy Monday morning in November, just as the holiday season was beginning, I was given the most wonderful gift—a reminder of why Our House is here. A reminder both of the need and of the outpouring of love, kindness, and generosity that flows into the lives of the poor and needy every day through the conduit that is Our House. Here are a few of the calls that came that morning between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. while so many of us were going about the routine of our week, overwhelmed by a busy day or still thinking about the weekend. Here is what the people calling Our House were saying.

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The calls kept coming. In just three hours, five were from people seeking shelter, a safe place for their children, and a way out of a desperate situation. The calls were from men and women, mothers and fathers who were at the end of their line and out of options. The callers sounded scared, worried, and ashamed. But for every call for help, there were many more calls to serve. People in our community stepping beyond their comfort zones to drive out to a homeless shelter on Roosevelt Road in the rain on a Monday night to bring soup and rolls, to volunteer in our Learning Center, to tutor a child, or to bring Christmas gifts. It was a late night for me, having not gotten much done during those three hours of answering the phone. I went over to the Shelter around 8 p.m. to get a bowl of that soup that sounded so good. I rounded the corner on my way to the kitchen and saw two new faces. A handsome young man and his mom. “Are you new?” I asked.

“Yes, we just came in today. This is my son. He‟s 12.” “Did you make it in time for dinner?” I said. “We did. It was delicious. Thank you so much.” The people on the phone were here: the dinner servers, the families in need. And while that first day is always tough on our new residents—it‟s hard to come to grips with being homeless for the first time—I knew that they had felt love and kindness and hospitality because of the service of others. What a perfect way to start this season.

hometown Rowlett, Texas education Finance BA, Ouachita Baptist University; current MSW student at UALR family married to Brittan Sanders Our House staff since December 8, 2007

I oversee the Family Housing program & work with the families & individuals who are enrolled in the program. I also oversee our case management services.

Even though the work here is very difficult sometimes, the Our House family is always kind, comforting, & supportive of one another.

I left a position at a large investment firm to tour the country with a band. Right after that, I started at Our House as an AmeriCorps VISTA & moved into a direct services role after my year of VISTA service was finished. This is by far the best job Iâ€&#x;ve ever had.

When I got to attend the ribboncutting of a brand new home for a family I had worked with for a significant amount of my time here at Our House.

I first wanted to be a professional soccer player, but when I realized that wouldnâ€&#x;t happen, I changed that to being a Meteorologist.

I am currently in school working towards my MSW. I help out a lot with Epoch Church, and I play drums & piano with a band. I also just got married, so I am learning how to be a great husband.

hometown Alexandria, Virginia education History BA, German BA, Educational Studies minor, Denison University community involvement Arkansas Boathouse Club (rowing) Our House staff since November 2010

I primarily work with Little Learners, Our Club, & My Picture Perfect Summer. I help coordinate volunteers & donors in those three areas, & I help with programming. I was responsible for planning the 2011 My Picture Perfect Summer program, recruiting partners & teachers, & scheduling day-to-day activities.

I am hoping to earn my Masters in Education & certification for teaching. I want to teach high school history in public schools. I am also interested in coaching youth rowing.

I really enjoy reading, watching cooking shows (even though I don‟t really cook), rowing, hiking, exercising, & spending time with friends & family.

I graduated with a major in German & am (kind of) still fluent in the language. I spent 7 months studying in Freiburg, Germany. My great grandparents were German immigrants.

I love bad jokes. The “a man walked into a bar & said „ouch,‟” kind of bad jokes.

My grandmother & my dad are probably my biggest role models. I have never met two more caring, selfless, & determined people. They inspire me daily to give back & help others. My grandmother was a preschool teacher, & my dad has worked in the nonprofit world for over 25 years. They have taught me that the greatest gift is giving to others.

CoreSource Volunteers from Core Source redecorated the Our Club art room. They painted a wall and new stools, donated and assembled new storage units, and tiled the work benches with ceramic tiles painted by the Our Club kids.

Heifer Village Heifer donated fresh produce.

Vamsi Kaliki & UAMS College of Medicine Class of 2014 The group collected some of Our Houseâ€&#x;s most-needed items: paper towels, toilet paper, and linens.

Garrett Kirkpatrick For his 9th birthday, Garrett asked his party guests to bring shoes for Our Houseâ€&#x;s kids & money to buy bus passes for the adults.

Meredith Melody The portrait photographer helped Our House residents celebrate the holiday season with beautiful family portraits.

Ruth Scroggin Ruth drove from Jonesboro, AR, to deliver a 10-speed Bianchi bike in honor of her physical therapist, Ivan Spengler, who bikes to work every day. The bike was given to a resident who uses it as transportation to work.

Lea Angel Woodham and friends The group donated six cases of diapers for Little Learners.

Individuals Dorothy S. Aldridge Katrina Alewelt Sonya & Arthur Anderson Anonymous Donor Philip Beauregard Brook Condolora Ginger Crews Virmarie & David Depoyster Eddie & Don Dixon Cathy Dulaney Ari Fason Tanya D. Giles Diane & Gregory Graham Charlotte & Todd Greer Melba Guess Millie H. Hansen Holly & Dr. Raymond Harbison Carol & Gregory Herring Sarah & Theodore Hood Holly & Matthew House Amanda Hughes Judy Isabell Amanda Maneiro Claire & Manuel Maneiro Michele & James Martin Lori & Joseph McKay Cathy & Michael Moran Iris & Robert Oliva Annie & Cedric Pelt Jamie Phillips Melissa Purifoy Chris Schaffhauser Anne & David Suitor Denise & Scott Tabor LaShanna Thomas Annabelle C. Imber & Henry Tuck Ryan Tucker Bridget & Andrew Upchurch

Amelia & Rev. Donn Walters Andrew Watt Hardy Winburn Jodi Woods Lawrence Young

In Memory of Shirley Jordan Haynes-Collins Dorothy Barkley Laura & Woody Juels Kathi & Barry Livingston Joyce Steen Charlotte & Raymond Wagner Kim Wickliffe

Congregations Cathedral of St. Andrew Church of the Immaculate Conception Second Presbyterian Church Society of Friends St. Anne Catholic Church St. James United Methodist Church St. Lukeâ€&#x;s Episcopal Church St. Michaelâ€&#x;s Episcopal Church Trinity United Methodist Church

Government AR Special Nutrition Program DHS-Emergency Shelter Grant HUD: Supportive Housing HUD: Transitions Pulaski County

Foundations AR Community Health & Education Fd. Ottenheimer Brothers Foundation Heart of Arkansas United Way

Organizations American Assoc. of Critical Care Nurses VFW Post 1316

Corporations AR Blue Cross Blue Shield Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull, & Burrow PLLC

Christie & Steve Bardwell Debi Barnes Consulting Tosha & Basil Hoag Dr. James A. Penney III Nancy & Tad Phillips Sherwood Beverage Robyn & Dr. Jason Stewart C. Michael White, PLLC

Christine & Jeff Gardner Nicholson Agency

Kirk Bradshaw, Edward Jones Investments Bowen Hefley Rhodes Stewart Ortho Surgeons Susan & Nick Brown Jennifer James & Paul Cook Beth & Mike Coulson Rachael & John Crow Marilyn & Bo Eagan Karen & John Flake Jennifer & Clay Glasgow Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Grimm

Betti & Lynn Hamilton Dave Hoffpauir Paige & Pat James Sumi & Scott Jolly Georgia & Dominik Mjartan Valerie Pruitt Heather & David Raymond Cherry & Dr. David Stewart Terese Stewart

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December 2011  
December 2011  

December 2011 newsletter