All 11 of our VISTAs keep going, thanks to our donors. cover photo: VISTA members Jackson, Ezell, Taylor, Niki, Ashley, Jamal, Malissa, Nicole, and Wendy (not pictured: Kristyn; photo by VISTA Amanda)
No matter what‟s going on in her life, there‟s only one thing any little girl needs on Halloween: to go trick-or-treating.
Check here each month for updates on the construction of our new children‟s center.
Our House currently has 41 team members. Meet two of them in this issue.
302 E Roosevelt Rd; Little Rock, AR
Find out how you can help Our House during the winter holidays & throughout the year.
Support Our House at My Favorite Thrift Store.
Read about a few of our recent volunteers & in-kind donors.
August, September, & October
Look here for one-click access to every issue of our newsletter.
newsletter design & all photos by Amanda Woods, an Our House VISTA except page 17 photo by Amanda Woods & Aaron Grimm
Our VISTAs get set up for their thank-you cover photo. All eleven of our VISTAs continued to serve Our House during the government shutdown, even without a living allowance.
by Amanda Woods, Communications Specialist (VISTA) Imagine you‟re a VISTA. You serve Our House full-time. You‟re available 24/7/365; 40 hours, 60 hours, 80 hours a week, however much you‟re needed. You don‟t get paid for this. However, to make sure you stay alive long enough to do what Our House needs you to do, AmeriCorps provides a living allowance, just barely enough for rent, electricity, and water. If you‟re careful you‟ll have enough left for food, because there‟s no guarantee of food stamps. Still, the living allowance is what it promises to be: it‟s just enough to keep you alive. With that living allowance to depend on, you can handle living at poverty level for 1 to 5 years if it means you have the chance to help end poverty in the U.S. for good. You love what you do as a VISTA. You can‟t think of anything that could make you give it up. No matter what.
Education & Workforce VISTA Nicole Morgan serves in the adult Learning Center, where she coordinates Learning Center volunteers, schedules classes, & helps clients with job searches.
One day you arrive at your office, check your e-mail, and find a surprise. Your living allowance is over. It‟s probably just temporary, but no one knows how long it will be until you have it again. The e-mail says you will eventually get all of your missing living allowances. Later. At some unknown time in the future. Your first thought may be, “can I wait until this unknown later?” But that‟s not what your thought should be. What you should be thinking: Will my landlord wait until this unknown later? Will the electric company wait? Will my college loan payments wait? Will the gas to get to Our House every morning wait? Will the rumbly in my tumbly wait? Fortunately, your supervisors have already had these thoughts, and donors are ready to make sure you make it through this without having to give up your VISTA position.
Jamal Williams arranges a display of awards being given by Our House to its VISTAs at this yearâ€&#x;s VISTA party. As VISTA Leader, Jamal recruits & trains new VISTAs, & he supports current VISTAs during their service at Our House.
After an immediate call for help, Our House supporters send an immediate response. Whew! You won‟t need to rush to the mailbox and fish out that rent check you mailed this morning, and you can close that Google Maps window where you‟ve been checking out rental trucks and storage lockers!
After Our House‟s October 1st press release, community members responded right away. Some sent money to help VISTAs pay rent and bills until the living allowances returned. Others sent gift cards for Kroger, Walmart, and Target so VISTAs could get groceries and other necessities. All eleven VISTAs and our non-VISTA co-workers were immensely grateful and relieved that our community cared enough about the VISTAs‟ impact on Our House that you helped us have what we needed to continue our service. See the following page for a list of individuals and groups that donated to keep our VISTAs going while we waited for the return of our living allowance.
Monetary Donors Freddie Agnew Blanche S. Alman Jan Alman Sydney Alman Sandra & Major George Baker Kathryn Stanley & Peyton Bishop Frances S. Fendler Sue Frueauff US Rep. Tim Griffin Carol & Carl Harvey Integrated Healthcare Martha Henry Lorre Parrish
Perkins & Trotter PLLC Nancy & Tad Phillips Sandra & Dan Phillips Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church Tracy Rice Cheryl & George Simon Unitarian Universalist Church University of Arkansas Foundation Kathy & John Velino Lou Vitale
Gift Card Donors Agnew Family Anonymous Donor Anonymous Donor Patrick Burnham Kevin Carson & Gary Levin Jane Caulfield Catholic High School Boys Stacy Duckett Women of Worship, St. John Pulaski Heights Baptist Church Emily Harris Mollie & Jeff Ipsen Jewish Federation Lisa Jones Becky Norris Abby Olivier Karen & Britt Skarda Summit Church
Al Jazeera International was one of the news stations that sent crews to Our House to cover the effects of the government shutdown. Click here to see their video and some of the news reports from other stations. Click here to read more about AmeriCorps at Our House.
Amanda Woods, 5th term Communications Specialist Jackson Bittner, 3rd term Community Engagement VISTA Jamal Williams, 2nd term VISTA Leader Taylor Yokem, 2nd term Operations Support VISTA Ezell Breedlove, 1st term Volunteer Relations VISTA Wendy Dwyer, 1st term Communications VISTA Niki Hitt, 1st term In-Kind Donations VISTA Nicole Morgan, 1st term Education & Workforce VISTA Ashley Moses, 1st term Childrenâ€&#x;s Programs VISTA Malissa Taber, 1st term Housing & Alumni Relations VISTA Taylor Yokem raises the height of our fence. The Operations Support VISTA helps keep our campus safe & functional & also leads outdoor projects like maintaining our gardens & landscaping.
Kristyn Willis, 1st term Development VISTA
by Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director On Halloween, staff and volunteers of Our House piled about 45 kids into personal cars and drove them across town to my neighborhood, Cammack Village, where we parked in front of my house and then went trick-or-treating. It was 5:45 PM and I was standing outside my SUV giving five kids in costume a little lecture about not eating their candy inside my newly-cleaned vehicle. As they nodded attentively, saying “okay, Miss Georgia. Can we go now?” I noticed a family walking past the guard shack headed toward The Shelter. It was a woman and three children. One was a newborn, one a toddler, and the third was six. The six-year-old craned her head around and tugged at her mom‟s hand. I figured out what she was saying when the mom called over to me. “Excuse me. Are you taking those kids trick-or-treating?” “Yes,” I replied. “Can my daughter go with you?” the mom asked. Given that I had never met this family, I was a little reluctant to say yes. All of the other children were kids who attend Our Club, our after-school and summer program. Some live in The Shelter, others are former residents or even community kids who are somewhere on the homeless/near-homeless spectrum. We have parent contact information, permission slips for field trips, etc. for all of these kids.
This child and her family were complete strangers. I asked the mom if they lived at The Shelter already or if they were just checking in. I learned that they hadn‟t even checked in yet. They were just coming in, having driven from another town. They were happy to have made it in time for dinner. But the six-year-old just wanted to go trick-or-treating. I got mom‟s cell phone number, called her so she‟d have mine, and told her in a very serious voice, “if you go in the Shelter and there aren‟t any beds for you, do not leave. Do not leave the Shelter until I come back with your daughter.” I told her where we were going and when we‟d return. It was a little strange giving a six-year-old to a complete stranger. But the little girl seemed very excited to be going with us.
Page 14: Fearless Princess Kadiatou growls in the face of Werewolf Freddrick! Below: Maya takes her turn showing her costume in the contest in Our Club. Right: Ernie and Bert spend Halloween at Our House.
In the car, one of the other children asked, “What are you?” We had ninjas and monsters, but this little girl was still in her school uniform. In between asking questions about where we were going trick-or-treating, the little girl talked about things none of us would want a six-year-old to have seen. It was clear why she and her mom and siblings had fled one town and come to another just a few hours before. “What do you want to be?” I asked. “A princess.”
Below: Trick-or-treating in the Our House offices with Little Learners, Superman Tyler gets candy from „80s Guy (VISTA Leader Jamal Williams). Right: Alisa & Youth Programs Coordinator Tonya Jones-Isaac watch Zje‟yoni model her costume in the Our Club costume contest.
“How about a fairy princess with wings?” I proposed. Our first stop was the Governor‟s Mansion where First Lady Ginger Beebe gave out candy as the Governor watched adoringly. The little girl wasn‟t in a costume, but she was cute as could be. Our next stop was the gathering point: my house. We ran inside my house, unplanned, of course, to get the little girl a costume. I pulled out an old angel costume I had in a box from some years ago, pinned it up, and voila. She was a fairy princess. She picked out a necklace that she wanted to wear for the night. And we spent the next two hours together trick-or-treating.
Below: Judges award ribbons for their favorite costumes in Our Club. Freddrick‟s werewolf costume wins one of the awards for Grossest Costume. Right: Colonel Harlan Sanders (Director of Client Services Justin Sanders) hands out candy to the Little Learners.
On the ride back to The Shelter, she said, confused about where exactly she was and what was going to happen next, “I have to leave tomorrow to go to my house. I won‟t get to see you again.” When I asked where she was going, I realized that she didn‟t know. She was just confused. There wasn‟t a house where she was going the next day. The move had already happened. Her mom had made her bed, moved in her bag of clothes, and checked into The Shelter while she had been out trick-ortreating. When I left that night, she gave me about ten hugs. I kept telling
Left: Bert visits the Learning Center. Right: On Halloween, In-Kind Donations VISTA Niki Hitt takes advantage of the holiday drive materials overflowing her office space and makes a Santa‟s Elf costume to match her surroundings.
her that she would see me again the next day. And the day after that. By 6 p.m. the following day, when I came to check on her at dinner, she had already made a friend, Hunter, a boy who goes to Our Club. He lived in The Shelter a few years ago and still comes every day after school four years after his first day at The Shelter. This is what Our House does. We take six-year-olds who have witnessed awful things and give them their childhoods back. We let little girls be fairy princesses. We provide shelter. We let families settle in. We let children know where they will sleep the next day and the day after. We give kids consistency where there was none. Friendships that can last for years. Stability that can begin to wash away all of the trauma and uncertainty of the past. For the familyâ€™s safety, the little girl in this article is not in any of the photos on these pages. The people in these photos, taken on Halloween morning, are other clients & staff of Our House.
ď ” Are you looking for a way to help families in need for the winter holidays? Weâ€™re looking for people to get involved with five of our giving programs this winter and throughout the year.
Who will you help with your gift? group size is needed to give this type of gift? What individual, small group (5-10), or large group (over 10) How much will you need to spend? Who may you contact at Our House about this way of giving?
Make a huge impact this holiday season: be a Stocking Stuffer Hero! Each stocking has a variety of items listed such as toiletries, supplies for The Shelter, and gifts for our clients.
all 120 residents individuals, families, or small groups $100, $250, or $500
Niki email@example.com 501-374-7383 ext. 214
Make the holidays a positive experience for a homeless child or family living at Our House. Adopt a family to help us meet the needs of 75+ children and their families this holiday season.
Help by serving one of our 77,000 meals during the next year. Meal servers can expect to purchase ingredients and prepare and serve breakfast, lunch or dinner in our kitchen in The Shelter.
one family each who want to serve with families their children, or volunteers who already work with Our House’s children
depends on size of recipient family Niki firstname.lastname@example.org 501-374-7383 ext. 214
all Shelter residents small groups (5-10 people) lunch $100, dinner $300 Jackson email@example.com 501-374-7383 ext. 230
continued on pg 28
Provide much-needed items to Our House with a Holiday Drive. The drives include children’s craft items, gift cards, paper products, and more.
the whole Our House campus large groups (20+ people) about $10 per group member Niki firstname.lastname@example.org 501-374-7383 ext. 214
Help keep our facilities clean & our families healthy.
Keep our Learning Center supplied for our adult students.
Supply some of our biggest needs, like toilet paper & paper towels.
Help us provide for our infants & toddlers.
Gather bath time items & toiletries for adults & children.
Gift cards help us meet specific needs or reward clients who reach goals.
While school is out for winter break, homeless children have nowhere to go during the day. That’s why Our House offers a winter break program for school-age homeless youth. Your financial donation makes this possible. Cards are available to those who contribute in honor of a loved one, friend, or colleague.
30 school-age children individuals to large groups $10 to $1,000 Whitney email@example.com 501-374-7383 ext. 200
new ottoman/coffee table $189.99 leaf-patterned sofa $149.99 veggie/fruit-creature mugs 59Â˘ each wooden basket $1.29 bag of wooden pomegranates $2.99 on Jackson: jacket $29.99 shirt $4.50 tie $2.99 bag $6.99 on Ezell: jacket $6.99 on Malissa: leather jacket $12.99 shirt $4.50
109 N. Van Buren St. Little Rock 353-0642
Jackson Bittner, Community Engagemen Ezell Breedlove, Volunteer Relations VIS Malissa Tabor, Housing & Alumni Relati 4606 JFK Blvd. North Little Rock 246-5741
Pick-up is available for furniture donations. 501-772-5139
nt VISTA, Our House STA, Our House ions VISTA, Our House
benefitting Our House
hometown Palm Harbor, Florida education Hendrix College, Anthropology & Studio Art Our House staff since August 19, 2013
I coordinate our Learning Center volunteers; schedule classes; & find & post jobs for our clients in the classroom.
During a Practice Job Interview, a client here discussed her personal & professional growth while at Our House & how this place has shaped her understanding of her past & vision for her futureâ€”she wants to start her own nonprofit! It was uplifting to hear & reminded me that the work we put into this place transforms lives.
I did sculpture in college, so I know how to cut & weld steel.
UN Human Rights Advisor or Humanitarian Affairs Officer.
Masters of Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service
Iâ€&#x;d teach girls how to identify when they are being abused & where to go from there.
Seeing the mermaid show at WeekiWachee Springs with my grandparents.
education Psychology & Criminal Justice, U. of Georgia; Juris Doctorate, University of Denver College of Law family husband Brian Lane Our House staff since July 2, 2012
I have the overall strategic & operational responsibility of our Children‟s Programs, Little Learners & Our Club. One of my main responsibilities is to grow & improve these programs as we move into the new Children‟s Center in 2014.
Being able to spend time with all of the children at Our House. I love hanging out in Little Learners & reading books to the toddlers, then going to Our Club & helping the kids with their homework or playing Uno.
My husband owns Café Prego, so you can probably find me there helping him run the restaurant.
My family. They taught me to be the best person I can be, always to follow my heart, & to dream big! I still look to them for advice & am constantly inspired to be a better person because of them.
I love to laugh! I try to surround myself with people who are funny, or at least people who think they are funny.
by Niki Hitt, In-Kind Donations VISTA & Ezell Breedlove, Volunteer Relations VISTA
Arkansas Student Leadership Forum This group of college student leaders came together from all over the state and got directly involved with Our House. The students worked in our gardens, organized an overflowing donation shed, helped with office work in the Learning Center, and organized storage closets and bookcases in Our Club. By donating their time and service, they helped our programs save money that can be allocated to other resources. Justin Sanders talks with volunteers from the Arkansas Student Leadership Forum about his 2007-2008 AmeriCorps VISTA service at Our House, which led to his current position here as Director of Client Services.
Northrop Grumman Information Systems Northrop Grumman Information Systems came to the rescue by provided much-needed diapers (sizes 4, 5, & 6) and baby items. When they found out our child care program was low on diapers, Northrop planned a drive and filled the needs of the children at Our House.
Logan Pruss Logan Pruss led her Community Service class and Cornerstone Bible Fellowship on a House In A Bag project. Our families and individuals will be able to transition into their new homes more comfortably thanks to the work of Logan and her friends.
You can now use your Kroger card each time you shop at Kroger to give to Our House without spending an extra dime. The donation costs you nothing, and you still receive the normal savings and Kroger rewards points that you would normally get, but every time you make a purchase with your card Kroger will donate to Our House. Click here to register for a Kroger account. Once you have created an account with your card, click here to access the enrollment page. Then follow these steps: 1. Click under the list that includes Arkansas. 2. On the next screen, use the term “Our House.” 3. Select the bubble next to “Our House 302 East Roosevelt, Little Rock, AR Organization Number 81246” from the search results. Click . You have successfully helped us give hope to the working homeless and their families. Please share this and invite your friends to help us get more people signed up.
Individuals Twylla & Drew Alexander Anonymous Donor Amy & Hamlin Au Miranda Burchfield Baker Judith & Edward Cecil Lee Lee Doyle Veronica & Richard Elmendorf Lenlie Freeman Rosemary Hallmark Michael Halsey Lun Chao & Paul Hannel Julia & Lyle Heim William Holden Lacy Holland Janice & George Hull Lance King Heather Mazander Jo & Presley Melton Evelyn Rose-Jones Chris Schaffhauser Shirley J. Schuette Laurie Shelton Bridget & Andrew Upchurch Angel & Drew Weber Mary & Scott White Norma Whitsitt Government AR Special Nutrition Program City of Little Rock: Reentry Program City of Little Rock: Youth Program DHS—AmeriCorps HUD: Supportive Housing Pulaski County
Congregations Cathedral of St. Andrew Christ the King Catholic Church Church of the Immaculate Conception St. Anne Catholic Church St. James United Methodist Church Women of Christ Episcopal Church Corporations Fikes Enterprises LLC Kroger U.S. Pizza Co. Whit Davis Lumber Plus Non-Government Grants Heart of Arkansas United Way United Way—CAFSI Capital Donations Amy Bressinck Bratcher Kevin Bratcher Judith & Edward Cecil Sharon & John Denery Janet & Jon Hedges Susan & Dave Hoffpauir Nancy & Estel Jeffery Kim & George Knollmeyer Lighthouse Group, LLC Pulaski County Lana & Daniel Rahn Melissa & James Cooper Riley Jr. Jessica Dean & Blake Rutherford Billie & Skip Rutherford Lareda & Danny Smith Angel & Drew Weber Mike White Elizabeth & William Woodyard
Individuals Simone & Dwight Alexander Anonymous Donor Amy & Hamlin Au Miranda Burchfield Baker Emily & Jim Burrow Lenlie Freeman Susan Garner Miriam & Michael Gavigan Georgia Mjartan Tanya & Brian Giles Rosemary Hallmark Mark Haraes Marti & Jon Michael Haslauer Claire Haun Julia & Lyle Heim Lance King Jane & Chester Lowe Sarah Beth & Mitchell Lowe Jo & Presley Melton Judy & David Nelsen Benjamin Nice Rich Phillps Evelyn Rose-Jones Chris Schaffhauser Elizabeth & Thomas Small Jeffrey Trowbridge Bridget & Andrew Upchurch Roman Walker Angel & Drew Weber
Congregations Cathedral of St. Andrew Christ the King Catholic Church Church of the Immaculate Conception Our Lady of Holy Souls Catholic Church Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church South Highland Baptist Church St. Anne Catholic Church St. James United Methodist Church St. Lukeâ€&#x;s Episcopal Church Upper Room Apostolic Church Corporations GE Foundation Joey Edwards Salon LLC Pulaski County Title LLC U.S. Pizza Co. Walmart Government AR Special Nutrition Program City of Little Rock: Reentry Program DHSâ€”AmeriCorps HUD: Transitions Pulaski County Non-Government Grants Heart of Arkansas United Way
Capital Donations Anonymous Donor Amy Bressinck Bratcher Kevin Bratcher Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, Inc. Renay & David Dean Sharon & John Denery Tabietha & Bill Dillard GE Foundation Susan & David Hoffpauir Lighthouse Group LLC Stacy & Rusty Mathis Barry Newcomb Melissa & James Cooper Riley Jr. Jessica Dean & Blake Rutherford Billie & Skip Rutherford Lareda & Danny Smith Mrs. & Dr. R. Barry Sorrells Summer Foundation U.S. Pizza Co. Angel & Drew Weber Mike White Elizabeth & William Woodyard
Individuals Freddie Agnew Twylla & Drew Alexander Blanche S. Alman Jan Alman Anonymous Donor Amy & Hamlin Au Sandra & Major George Baker Kathryn Stanley & Peyton Bishop Miranda Burchfield Baker Lisa Chrzanowski Elizabeth Conti Mrs. & Mr. Cook Frances S. Fendler Sara & William Feutz Lenlie Freeman Sue Frueauff Judy & Mark Fulton Lori Glowacki Angie Greer Rosemary Hallmark Karen Hartwell Carol & Carl Harvey Marti & Jon Michael Haslauer Julia & Lyle Heim Martha Henry Marianne Holland Nancy Lynn & David Holsted Integrated Healthcare Julie & Keith Jacks Lance King Sharon & Bob Macdonald Leonard Mano Christine Matheney Margaret McKinney Jo & Presley Melton
W.M. Adams Mitchem Marian & Charles Nichols Megan O‟Brien Norma & Carols Ordaz Lorre Parrish Sandra & Dan Phillips Nancy & Tad Phillips Tracy Rice Evelyn Rose-Jones Chris Schaffhauser Cheryl & George Simon Rosalyn G. Snyderman Natalie & Brent Staley Kathy & John Velino Lou Vitale Mary & William Waters Edwarda & James Robert Wayne IV Angel & Drew Weber Terrie Wilkerson Government AR Special Nutrition Program City of Little Rock: Reentry Program City of Little Rock: Youth Program DHS—AmeriCorps HUD: Supportive Housing Pulaski County Organizations Diamond PAC Executive Women Intl. University of Arkansas Foundation Women‟s Club of Otter Creek
Congregations Calvary Baptist Church Christ The King Catholic Church Church of the Immaculate Conception Park Hill Christian Church Pulaski Heights Baptist Church Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church St. Anne Catholic Church St. James United Methodist Church Unitarian Universalist Church Corporations Mendel Capitol Management, Inc. Perkins & Trotter PLLC Non-Government Grants Heart of Arkansas United Way United Way—CAFSI Capital Donations Anonymous Donor Arkansas DHS Bank of America Foundation Amy Bressinck Bratcher Kevin Bratcher Sharon & John Denery Susan & Dave Hoffpauir Lighthouse Group LLC Melissa & James Cooper Riley Jr. Jessica Dean & Blake Rutherford Billie & Skip Rutherford Lareda & Danny Smith Angel & Drew Weber Mike White Elizabeth & William Woodyard
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