FALL 2015 Rosie’s Place Welcomes Students Back Q & A with New Director of Women’s Education Center Our Executive Director Reflects on the Season
Newlyweds Share Gifts with Rosie’s Place A New Holiday Card Debuts Orange Is the New Black Author is Featured Speaker at Annual Luncheon October 27
b y t h e n u m b e r s
WOMEN’S EDUCATION CENTER Sara Jorgensen has joined Rosie’s Place as the new director of the Women’s Education Center. She taught in a classroom for many years and most recently served as director of adult education at the Haitian Multi-Service Center of Catholic Charities. Sara brings more than 30 years of experience in adult education to her position and is poised to oversee as many as 75 teachers and tutors and more than 300 students each semester.
What attracted you to this job? Working in adult education is my passion. At my previous job, I was working within the constraints of government funding, so I’m excited to let the creative parts of me flourish here at Rosie’s Place. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to do the work I love—building community and creating responsive programs in adult education— without the worry of losing funding. I feel so free! Do you have specific goals as WEC director? My overarching goal is to create a thriving, safe education community where staff, teachers and guests all learn from one another. My goal is for guests to not only learn English, but also basic skills and how to be an active learner and participant in society. I want to have a studentcentered environment where we can give guests the resources and classes they need in order to reach their own goals—whether that’s writing a letter to their child, using email or getting a job. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing WEC students? These students face many great issues as adults trying to survive in America. Many are poor and working long hours or several jobs for very little pay. They come to class in the evening and are exhausted from working so hard. Many are lonely or isolated and may have left family members behind when they came to America. It’s really tough to survive without knowing English because important tasks, such as going to the doctor, speaking with your child’s teacher or going to a food pantry, all require an understanding of the language and many people are not patient with someone who doesn’t speak English. Why is it important to have ESOL and other classes available at Rosie’s Place? Many of our students have had very little education experience, and this is their chance to go to school. They really want to learn English and come to class and WEC provides a supportive environment for them to successfully learn. Guests have been through long journeys just to get here, and we strive to be an oasis of love and understanding on their way to building the confidence and skills they need.
WEC Fall Semester Students
Rosie’s Place Connects with Students of All Ages Even though most of us have left our school days behind, the onset of fall reminds us of our time as students: the invigoration of learning something unknown, the satisfaction of mastering a new skill or subject. Fall still brings that energy to Rosie’s Place. It is when we welcome students of all ages–those still in school, new to a classroom or even lifelong learners. Together, they add a vitality and hopefulness to our daily mission to make the lives of our guests a bit better.
Activity in the classroom Sara Jorgensen is eager to start her first full semester as Women’s Education Center (WEC) director when classes resume on September 21. (See her Q&A on this page.) “I’ve been able to meet almost every teacher and tutor this summer, and I am so impressed by the boldness and enthusiasm of each one,” she says. “We are in a great position going forward with teachers who show a real love for their students. I will work to support them with strategies that can help in the classroom.” Students will find a full slate of pre-ESOL/literacy, literacy and ESOL classes offered five days a week during mornings, afternoons and evenings. Pre-ESOL/literacy classes focus on the basics of language for women who did not receive schooling in their country of origin; literacy classes are geared to guests who don’t know any English but have literacy in their home language; and ESOL classes (sectioned into four levels with three clearlydefined sublevels within) are best suited for women who have some literacy skills to build on as they learn
English. Tutors are available to improve conversation skills, enhance classroom learning or help with specific needs, such as passing a learner’s permit test (see Maimuna’s story below). As in previous semesters, WEC is expecting an enrollment of close to 320 women. “WEC tries to bring some structure and predictability to our guests’ learning,” Sara says. “While their lives may not be stable, they can see their progress in class as they finish each unit during the semester. And that can lead to new paths and opportunities.” In an effort to ensure that class offerings are responsive, Sara will conduct a survey with students to know more about what prevents them from coming regularly and what other things they would like to learn. The survey will also make students aware of the range of services available to them at Rosie’s Place, such as advocacy, the food pantry and meals. With its small paid education staff, Rosie’s Place would not be able to make 18 free classes available without the dedication of a corps of volunteer teachers and tutors.
Lifelong learners and young students For Director of Volunteer Services Marty Wengert, fall–and the start of every semester–means more opportunities for volunteers to make connections with our guests by leading classes and working one-on-one with students. “In a sense, our WEC teachers and tutors are students as well; they are caring people who may have never taught before but are interested in opening themselves up to a new experience,” she says. “In their classes they learn about the lives of women in very different circumstances. Teachers often find more similarities to our guests than differences, and that builds understanding between them.”
Maimuna’s Story When Maimuna first enrolled in an ESOL class in the Women’s Education Center (WEC), she had a very specific goal in mind: to take–and pass–her Massachusetts learner’s permit test. A native of Somalia, Maimuna left her home in Nairobi, Kenya only a few months earlier to reunite with her husband, who had been in Boston for several years. Upon arriving, she was horrified to find that she and their seven children didn’t have a suitable place to live. She had no local connections but was able to find emergency housing in a four-bedroom apartment at a family shelter in Dorchester, where she still lives today.
Maimuna was educated in her native language of Swahili and has been progressing quickly since she began classes last September. She is now in a Level 2 ESOL class and is making great strides with assistance from her children, who were taught English in their Kenyan classrooms. “I can read some and speak some,” she says, so her efforts are focused on increasing her ability to write. “When I came here, I thought life would be easier than it has been,” Maimuna admits. She wants to learn English and learn how to drive so she can become independent, as she was in her homeland.
72 WEC Teachers and Tutors
53 Social Justice Institute Students
Boston College PULSE Volunteers
12 Summer 2015 Interns
Boston College 4Boston Volunteers
4 Summer Hire Students
Northeastern University Co-op Students
continued on next page
“I ran a food shop in my village and I would like to work in a grocery store here, too,” she says. “Although in Africa, my shop was so small. Nothing like here.” Our WEC summer intern Ruby Messier, from Kenyon College, tutored Maimuna and accompanied her to the permit exam on July 24. She did not pass on her first try but is undaunted. “I know I was close and I will try again at the end of August,” she says. “I will not give up my dream to drive.”
Editor’s note: Maimuna was successful in her second try at the exam and is now practicing behind the wheel in her neighborhood.
continued from previous page
our executive director on fall, a time of new beginnings Dear Friends: To me, fall always seems to be the true beginning of the year. You can tell we’ve left summer behind–the pace and tempo at Rosie’s Place is picking up by the minute! Already, the guests involved in our Self-Advocacy garden program have harvested the veggies and flowers they grew; our fall fundraising luncheon has occupied the Development staff for all of August and September; our Overnight manager has started to put together her wish list for the holidays; and our Clothing Room coordinator is collecting jackets, sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. The illusion of lazy summer days is behind us! We begin this fall more prepared than ever to serve our guests, having sharpened staff skills, added several new staff people or full-time interns and expanded services. For the first time, Rosie’s Place will have an advocacy team based in the Boston Public Schools, to better serve the parents who need our help. Our new public policy director has begun to tackle the myriad of government red tape and diversions that affect our guests’ access to public benefits. Our new art studio at Norfolk House is ready to host dozens of guests eager to draw, paint, perform and write. With a brand new Women’s Education Center director, we are ready to welcome hundreds of women to our classrooms to learn to read, write and speak English. Each fall, we remember that there is a chance to learn, to grow, to flourish in ways we’ve never imagined. And we’ve watched our guests take those steps towards new learning, new skills, new opportunities.
One committed teacher/tutor here this summer was Ruby Messier, a WEC student intern from Kenyon College. Ruby is one of 12 undergraduate and law school interns, hailing from schools such as Johns Hopkins University, Cornell Law School, the University of Vermont and Brown University. Interns assisted in nearly every department at Rosie’s Place: riding along in the outreach van, leading a walking group, signing up guests to vote, teaching arts workshops and much more. Joining student interns this summer were four Boston high school students from the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Initiative. Rosie’s Place provided the students with 20-hour-per-week jobs for nine weeks, during which time they prepared and served lunch and dinner and assisted guests who were shopping in Rosie’s Place Groceries. (See Quotable below.) A record number of high school students participated this summer in our third annual Social Justice Institute (SJI). Fifty-three young people committed to a three-hour training session, 12 volunteer shifts throughout the summer and two seminar sessions in which they learned about specific issues such as poverty and food insecurity, that affect our guests.
Reaching Families at Boston Schools Rosie’s Place is connecting with underserved women
relationships with elementary and middle schools in nearby Roxbury and Dorchester. Our
outreach, housing assistance, support and advocacy services to women whose children attend the Orchard Gardens, Holmes and Shaw schools, with another school to be added this fall. According to Collaborative Manager Tenisha Daluz, who had been a longtime Rosie’s Place Advocate, the goal is to establish an on-site presence at the schools to make assistance more accessible to families and to better connect them with
Later this month, Rosie’s Place will continue its strong partnership with Boston College, who last year sent 16 year-round volunteers from its PULSE Program and 11 students from its 4Boston program. Both programs aim to educate students about social injustice by putting them into direct contact with marginalized populations and social change organizations. Another shared aspect of the experience is group reflection centered on community and spirituality. Additionally, we are welcoming two co-op students from Northeastern University who will cycle through many departments until December. “We truly value and rely on the bright and idealistic high school and college students who give their time to help make Rosie’s Place work,” says Marty. “Rosie’s Place is proud to play a part in the development of the next generation of leaders fighting for social justice.” Rising Brookline High School senior Izzy Meyers recently spoke to the Brookline Tab about her time in the Social Justice Institute last summer. She expressed the thoughts of many when she said, “There’s a lot of talk about social justice, but at Rosie’s [Place] there’s so much action and so much that you can physically do to help, and it feels really good.”
We have been able to thrive in this way only because of you–our wonderfully generous group of supporters who have stuck with us despite the ups (and recently, downs) of the economy. We are truly blessed! That you have chosen to share your heart with the women of Rosie’s Place is a gift we are honored to receive. Your love and respect for our mission and for each and every guest we serve enables us to do daily battle against the host of circumstances that plague our sisters: hunger, homelessness, ill health, unemployment, loneliness, substance abuse, violence, sadness. Your friendship makes the burden our guests must bear a little lighter, a little easier. Your kindness means more than you will ever know!
our services and those of other community agencies. This fall we are supporting families by launching an initiative to provide school uniforms to students, many of whom may only have one set of clothes to last them from week to week. You can help with donations of new polo shirts: short- and long-sleeved in dark green, yellow, light and dark blue; and pants, skirts, jumpers, dresses, shorts and skorts in navy and khaki. Youth sizes range from 4-16. Please contact Tenisha at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.318.0264 for more information. We appreciate your help!
Please support Rosie’s Place by making a donation online at www.rosiesplace.org/ fallnews15 or by sending a gift in the enclosed envelope. We thank you! ROSIE’S PLACE NEWS is published three times a year to inform our friends about activities and events taking place throughout the Rosie’s Place community. OUR MISSION is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for poor and homeless women to maintain their dignity, seek opportunity, and find security in their lives. Executive Director Sue Marsh Director of Development Leemarie Mosca Director of Communications and Editor Michele Chausse Communications Coordinator Cara Rotschafer Intern Kathleen Miklus Design Colette O’Neill We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us with your comments at 617.318.0210.
“As a Self-Advocacy intern, I have the opportunity to build relationships with wonderful guests. I love working in the Community Garden, where I can see women gain valuable and sustainable skills and heighten their self-esteem. Interning here also helps me develop hands-on experience to combine with my education in International Ethics, for life beyond college.” Summer intern Nichole Moore, a rising senior at Boston College, who is studying International Ethics and Social Justice with a concentration in Global Health and a minor in Biology.
“This has been a great summer job for me. I like helping to prepare the dinners and then clean up. There is so much positive energy in the Dining Room. I’m Haitian myself so when I hear some guests speaking Haitian Creole, I say ‘Bonsoir’ and we start up great conversations. I’m glad I took this job at Rosie’s Place over Bed, Bath and Beyond.” Scottie Mario Beauliere, a rising senior at Madison Park High School and one of four Boston high school students Rosie’s Place hired this summer to support the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Initiative.
“I chose Rosie’s Place for my co-op because I can gain experience in multiple departments that all contribute to a cause that directly helps women in the community. Their mission resonated with me because I believe that women from all backgrounds of life deserve respect and the feeling that they can achieve greatness. I hope that, during my time here, I can help guests to believe in themselves and feel empowered as women.” Northeastern University fall co-op student Victoria Kroeger, who anticipates graduating in 2017 with a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Thanks to the generosity of more than 200 Rosie’s Place friends, the annual Safe and Sound gala, held May 12 at Space 57 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, surpassed expectations. The $480,000 raised at the event, which featured chef tastings and live and silent auctions, was 12% more than the year before. Critical to this success were event chairs OMAM (photo of staff above), Christina and Michael Gordon, Anne Kubik and Michael Krupka, Michele May and David Walt, Deb and Mark Pasculano and Winston Flowers.
Local athlete Paul McBrine is Racing for Rosie’s Place! This experienced triathloner has been competing throughout New England since 2005 and is on his way to his 200th race. We are honored that Paul is dedicating 15 triathlon events through October in support of the women of Rosie’s Place. You can help him meet his goal of raising $10,000 for our services by donating at www.rosiesplace.org/ RacingForRosiesPlace!
Rosie’s Place volunteer librarian Deb Squires initiated a weekly story hour this summer for children who come to the Dining Room for dinner with their mothers and grandmothers. Deb enlisted a friend’s daughter, Surya (above), who just completed 6th grade, to help. Tables were set up in the Wellness Center and kids had great fun hearing a story, coloring or doing puzzles and word searches while the adults finished their meal.
Rosie’s Place was fortunate to be the beneficiary of three charity golf tournaments in recent months. We received much-needed funds from New England Coffee’s 23rd Annual Charity Golf Classic at the Andover Country Club; the Real Estate Finance Association’s 2015 Charitable Golf & Tennis Outing at the Blue Hill Country Club, Canton; and UNICOM Engineering Inc.’s Golf Tournament at the Pine Hills Country Club, Plymouth. In photo are, from left, Cristina Sadler, New England Coffee; Katie Amoro, Rosie’s Place; Michael McManama, New England Coffee; and Meaghan Gangi, of other beneficiary, VNA Hospice Care.
ds Holiday Car
lac from Rosie’s P
Send holiday greetings to your family, friends and clients, and give the gift of hope to poor and homeless women. The holiday cards you purchase from Rosie’s Place for business or personal use will help fund new beginnings for 12,000 women a year.
Back Bay Winter Twilight by Sam Vokey
With the addition of our newest card, Back Bay Winter Twilight by celebrated local artist Sam Vokey, we now offer a choice of six classic Boston scenes and whimsical winter illustrations in 10-packs ($18) and variety 15-packs ($24). Custom printing is available as well.
You can remember Rosie’s Place at holiday time in two ways: Purchase packs of cards • 6 winter scenes to choose from
Personalize your greeting with custom-printed cards
• 10-packs of 1 design: $18
• Available on orders of 50+ cards
• 15-packs with 3 designs: $24
• Choose any of our 6 card designs
• Comes with envelopes and classic greeting
• Print a unique message in color or B+W
inside: “Warm wishes for a happy and
• Add logo, photo or signatures for a special touch
healthy holiday season.”
• Envelopes are included and can be customized
Order your special holiday greetings while supporting the work of Rosie’s Place today! • Online: www.rosiesplace.org/holidaycards • Phone: Cara Rotschafer at 617.318.0238 • Email: email@example.com • Mail: send a check to Rosie’s Place, Attn: Holiday Cards, 889 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118
Did K ? You
After the Long Island Shelter closed suddenly last October, concerned guests formed an advocacy group, Sharing Our Voices, to represent the interests of poor and homeless women as conditions worsened at the city’s remaining shelters. With the Self-Advocacy department offering training and support, Sharing Our Voices has engaged more than 50 guests over this period—and they are being heard. The group met with Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley to advocate for transparency and improvements in such issues as safety and cleanliness. They were then invited to testify before the Boston City Council on this topic. Participation in Sharing Our Voices has empowered guests to continue to speak out as the city works to upgrade the now women-only shelter at Woods Mullen.
Over recent months, five couples requested that their guests donate to Rosie’s Place in lieu of giving wedding gifts. One bride, Bridget Hanson, who married Ethan Healy on June 20, has been a literacy tutor at our Women’s Education Center since 2012. “Rosie’s Place was a perfect fit for our wedding donation registry, given my experience as a tutor,” Bridget says, “and we are thrilled to know that more of our friends and family are now familiar with the important work done here!” Together, the generous newlywed couples are responsible for 40 gifts totaling close to $5,000. To learn more about making Rosie’s Place the beneficiary of your wedding or other special celebration, please contact Liz Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.318.0241. Forty guests had fun in the sun at the annual summer beach trip. Hosted by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Hanover, the outing to Humarock Beach is a favorite day for many women. Before hitting the beach, guests were treated to a breakfast at the church and provided with bathing suits and towels. The women enjoyed an afternoon of swimming, relaxing and soaking up the sun and then returned to the church for a BBQ dinner, the perfect end to a special day. Rosie’s Place has awarded the 2015 Kip Tiernan Social Justice Fellowship to Theresa Okokon for her program titled “LEGIT.yoga.” She proposes to provide Trauma-Informed Yoga classes at area shelters, public housing developments and community programs. According to Okokon, these classes will empower survivors of violence and abuse to reclaim their bodies, their emotions and a sense of control and power over their lives. “With the help of Rosie’s Place funding, LEGIT. yoga will make yoga a seed that grows within homeless and low-income women in the Greater Boston area,” Theresa says, “and that seed will grow into a community that is stronger—physically, mentally and in its sense of connectedness.”
Funny Women...Serious Business: pink is the new black!
Although the days are still long and warm, at Rosie’s Place we’re already starting to plan for the holidays! We work to brighten the season by providing the women we serve with a special gift which, for many of our guests, may be the only present they will receive this year. With your help we can provide a warm holiday experience that—like everything else at Rosie’s Place—will be wrapped in unconditional love and respect. Here’s what we need most: $25 Gift Cards • CVS • Walgreens • Target • Payless • Old Navy Toiletry Gift Sets • Gift sets with lotion, body wash and body spray (from stores such as Bath & Body Works)
Finishing Touches • Gift bags • Wrapping paper • Ribbons and tape Children’s Toys • We have a limited need for children’s toys. Please contact us if you are interested in organizing a toy drive.
Holiday Gifts • Sets of hats, scarves and gloves • Pajamas, slippers and robes • Blankets and sheets (twin and full size) • Watches and rolling backpacks Your generosity will help bring the joy of the holiday season to our guests and their families. Please contact Katie Amoro at 617.318.0211 or email@example.com for more information and to arrange a drop-off time. We hope to receive all holiday donations by December 11, 2015. Thank you for your support!
We are thrilled to announce that author Piper Kerman will be the featured speaker at Funny Women…Serious Business this year! Our annual luncheon, which brings together 1,500 supporters to celebrate Rosie’s Place’s unique mission, will be held on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Hynes Convention Center. We are looking forward to another sold-out event and to surpassing last year’s record-breaking proceeds of nearly $600,000! Ms. Kerman is the author of the bestselling book and award-winning Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black. In her compelling and often hilarious memoir, she explores the experience of incarceration and the intersection of her life with the lives of the women she met while in prison. Ms. Kerman is an outspoken justice reform advocate and serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association. Through her work, she has brought humanity, honesty and compassion to issues that so many of Rosie’s Place’s guests struggle with day-to-day. The afternoon will be co-hosted by our good friends Susan Wornick, and WCVB’s Karen Holmes Ward. They will be joined by anchorwomen from Boston television outlets: Latoyia Edwards, Lisa Hughes, Kim Khazei and Sara Underwood. This event is made possible through the support of Headlining Sponsors Boston Interiors, Eastern Bank and OMAM and Presenting Centerpiece Sponsor Neiman Marcus Natick. At the luncheon you’ll have the chance to network with other Rosie’s Place supporters, shop for gorgeous jewelry made by our guests, win a fabulous centerpiece and hear the inspiring stories of the women of Rosie’s Place. All proceeds from the afternoon help provide food, housing, advocacy, education and employment opportunities—and so much more—for the 12,000 women who visit us each year. “This year’s Funny Women…Serious Business luncheon is a wonderful way to celebrate the unique creation that is Rosie’s Place,” says Executive Director Sue Marsh. “By gathering our best friends in one room, we remember the day 41 years ago when Kip opened Rosie’s Place to women in need. Since then, thousands of poor and homeless women have found sustenance and solace thanks to her creation. Luckily, from the very beginning to today, we have been blessed with generous friends who have made our work possible.” You can support Rosie’s Place by becoming a sponsor or by purchasing your tickets today. Tickets are $175; to order, visit www.rosiesplace.org/fwsb. For questions or sponsorship information, please contact Katie Amoro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.318.0211. We hope to see you on October 27!
Friends of Rosie’s Place Fall Night Out
Open House Rosie’s Place – Norfolk House
Join Friends of Rosie’s Place for our Fall Night Out! You can try both old and new Harpoon favorites while meeting other young professionals and learning about our critical work. Your ticket purchase includes beer samples from Harpoon Brewery, ice cream from Honeycomb Creamery, and snacks from Late July. Plus a raffle for prizes including two tickets to our Funny Women...Serious Business luncheon. To learn more, contact Kristen Leonard at email@example.com or 617.318.0232.
You are invited to an open house and tour of our newest location at Norfolk House. To provide more space for the growing number of services we offer at Rosie’s Place, we have relocated our Legal Program, Arts Workshop, Outreach department and HomeStart offices to this beautifully redesigned space. Let us know you’ll join us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.318.0210.
Have your radios tuned to Kiss 108 and “The Matty in the Morning Show” this month for your chance to book a discounted 30-minute hair cut and blow dry with one of Salon Mario Russo’s talented stylists. The event includes light refreshments, a gift bag to take home and special appearances by The Matty Show crew! All of the proceeds support Rosie’s Place’s work with poor and homeless women. For more information on this highly sought-after and limited opportunity, contact Katie Amoro at 617.318.0211 or email@example.com.
September 29, 2015, 7:00 - 8:30 pm Harpoon Brewery, 306 Northern Ave., Boston
October 8, 2015, 4:00 - 6:00 pm 10 John Eliot Square, Roxbury
October 18, 2015, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Salon Mario Russo 9 Newbury Street, Boston
www.rosiesplace.org 889 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118
NON-PROFIT ORG. US POSTAGE PAID BOSTON, MA PERMIT NO. 14526
Recent news and stories from Rosie's Place.