WINTER 2017 Making the Holidays Special for Our Guests We Help a Mom in Need Move Forward Ways to Get Involved This Month Our Generous Community of Friends
A Winter Wish List An Easy Way to Support Us
ASST. ADVOCACY MANAGER, ROSIE’S PLACE Rachel Regis joined Rosie’s Place in 2015 as Assistant Advocacy Manager. She applies her broad background at agencies that serve low-income populations to oversee the services our advocates provide to guests, such as housing and job search, wellness care, rent and utility assistance, and emergency clothing and transportation. This year she is helping organize a holiday gift program for guests. What is Rosie’s Place’s approach to the winter holidays? Because many of the women we see at Rosie’s Place are not connected with their families or are new to Boston, they will spend the holidays alone. So we work to make them special. We trim a tree and decorate the Overnight shelter and dining room, and we plan a festive day for Christmas. When guests spend the day with us, they are welcomed into an upbeat and fun atmosphere of good company, food, and music. We don’t want the holidays to go by for our guests without some kind of celebration. Through activities and gifts, we try to show them that they are valued and Rosie’s Place is a place that cares. How are we brightening these days for our guests? This year we are planning a Holiday Gift Store in mid-December for guests seen through our Advocacy department. Thanks to donations from businesses and friends in the community, we’re able to offer guests a choice of new gift items, such as bath and body gift sets, hats, scarves and mittens, a gift card, and more. (See Wish List on page 4 to help.) The store concept allows guests to choose which items they would like. We want our guests to have the treat of picking out something for themselves— a luxury they often can’t afford. It also allows women to find items they can give as gifts. Last year we had gifts for 550 women and we hope to serve at least that many this season. Are we reaching women who do not come to Rosie’s Place’s main site for help? We bring gifts to women in our housing stabilization program who we visit at home. And those with children are invited to a party at our Norfolk House location in Roxbury where they can choose toys and other items for the family. School collaborative staff provide gift cards and gifts to women we work with in the Boston Public Schools. At our satellite office at the Franklin Field housing development, we hold a party and all residents who attend receive toys for their families, and hats and gloves for themselves. We also help connect mothers and grandmothers with a community toy program and compile lists of other holiday assistance resources. Is there an impact on staff at this time of year? We all agree that it feels good to be able to have something special for our guests, especially knowing that these may be the only presents they will receive this year. Seeing smiles and happy faces means a lot.
Natalia and her brothers
A New Home—and Hope— For a Family In Need In her heart, Magdalena M. knew this year, things would change. This year she would finally find a new home for her family–a safe place where the days would be easier and her children could thrive.
payments, ensuring that her current housing would not be in jeopardy. “I was so relieved that I could turn to Rosie’s Place for help,” Maggie remembers. “I don’t know what I would have done without them.”
The road to a better life had been long and hard but, with Rosie’s Place at her side, she was hopeful.
Finally, this spring, after 18 months of looking, Maggie found the right apartment, in Randolph. Knowing she would need a sizeable rent down payment, we coached her in creating a household budget and putting her tax refund aside. The new landlord insisted she use professional movers and, again, Rosie’s Place was able to help make that possible.
Maggie, as she is known, moved to Boston from Florida a number of years ago, seeking better health care for her husband, who had been gravely ill with diabetes, and more opportunity for her four children. However, she found that good housing was hard to come by and since arriving here, Maggie’s family had lived in an apartment in such poor condition that it was later condemned, then a family shelter and then a motel for homeless people. When she first came to Rosie’s Place, her family was living in a two-bedroom apartment in Dorchester. Her three sons, ages 5 to 14, shared one bedroom while her daughter, Natalia, 8, slept in a converted dining room. Maggie turned to Rosie’s Place for help with transportation to a job training program she was attending. That training led to a full-time position as a teacher’s assistant and medical interpreter for an early intervention program for developmentally-delayed children. Because it was now hard for her to see our advocates during the day, Maggie was referred for home visits by one of our housing stabilization workers. Life was becoming increasingly difficult for Maggie. Her husband Nathan’s diabetes and depression kept him out of work, Natalia had developed an anxiety disorder and her youngest, Aaron, was suffering severe headaches and struggling in school. Their apartment was not only too small but in an unsafe area and had leaks and other problems the landlord was not addressing. And Maggie’s two herniated discs and leg pain were getting worse, exacerbated by sleeping on an old mattress on the floor. Rosie’s Place stepped in, with an advocate finding Maggie a new bed. We helped her obtain a Section 8 voucher for a four-bedroom apartment, which requires that the tenants find the property themselves. We encouraged Maggie to attend our tenants’ rights workshop and helped with her search, which took quite a while. When she fell short on rent and utilities one month, we were able to assist with the
The Cape Cod-style half-house is bright and tidy, with a yard where the kids “can go outside whenever they want and I don’t have to worry about shootings,” Maggie says. There’s even a small area that Maggie has designated “homework space,” with a desk, bulletin board and shelves of books. After living in so many cramped and unsafe places, Maggie says her kids are amazed at their new home and asked her “Are we millionaires now?” She laughs and says they feel “free,” and are happy and calmer, especially Natalia. This fall, we provided backpacks and school supplies and Maggie will again attend our holiday party where she can choose gifts for her children. Just recently, Maggie learned that a congenital brain malformation is the cause of Aaron’s headaches. Surgery is scheduled for early January at Children’s Hospital. She expects to take a month-long medical leave from her job and is praying that her husband will be well enough to keep at his new full-time job as a machinist. Maggie knows that no matter what may happen, we will continue to be there for her and her family. “Rosie’s Place is a great support to me–emotionally, financially. I can tell my case worker what I’m going through and she is compassionate; everything she does is to build me up and give me direction.” As the holidays approach, Maggie has the space to put up a tree and is looking forward to “a special feeling of togetherness” in her new home. Now that there is a yard where they can play, Maggie says her children’s biggest Christmas wish concerns the weather. “They are hoping for snow–lots of snow–so they can build a snowman. It will be the first time for them and they can’t wait.”
Our President on The Value of Consistency Dear Friends: A year ago, the federal election brought much uncertainty to the women we serve–what would happen to Haitian or Somali guests here under a Temporary Protected Status? Would guests’ health care go away or become too unaffordable? Would some guests lose their right to marry, or vote, or live in affordable housing? There were so many questions that nobody knew the answer to.
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This great level of uncertainly mirrored the daily life of our guests. Where would they get their next meal or a winter coat? Would they be able to get by with their limited ability to read and write? Would their application for meager government benefits be approved? For many of these questions, answers are beyond our ability to guess. Like our guests, we don’t know what the future holds. But we are committed to meeting their needs today. While we deal with these broad policy uncertainties, Rosie’s Place has found it is vital to create a sanctuary of certainty for our guests. We clearly list the services we offer, always including specific dates and times–with plenty of notice. When a community partner is being considered to provide services for Rosie’s Place guests, we carefully vet their ability to offer them at a regularly scheduled time, for the long-term. In this way, our guests will come to know what to expect from us, building in them the trust to pay attention and make use of our services. Moreover, the rules for each program are clear and transparent. We write what’s available in our fresh food pantry right on a white board outside the room. We post the menu in the dining room before each meal. We include all our services and activities–with their times, dates and locations–in a calendar of events that is distributed through a stack in our lobby. Guests know exactly what is available, and how to ask for it. By doing so, we create the room for our guests to use their courage and energy on more critical questions or concerns. As Ralph Waldo Emerson advised: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” For most of our guests, there is no trail to follow for the serious problems they struggle with. If they always know how to get a meal with us, or when their computer class is held, they can use their tolerance for uncertainty and risk for the other part of their lives–securing health care, finding housing, learning to speak English. We strive to make life easier for our guests, to be the place they where can be supported and fortified for the challenges that lie ahead.
Winter Evening, Copley Square by Thomas Dunlay
Every holiday season brings more women in need, both at Rosie’s Place and in our community. We make a special effort at this time to reach out to often forgotten women to provide them with warmth and comfort. Here are some ways you can help us brighten the season for our guests: 1. COLLECT NEEDED HOLIDAY ITEMS Coordinate a drive with your workplace, school or family to collect holiday gifts for our guests. For more information, visit www.rosiesplace.org/drives. Our most-needed items include: • $25 gift cards (CVS, Walgreens, Target, Payless, Old Navy) • Bath and body gift sets with lotion, body wash and body spray (from stores such as Bath & Body Works) • Pajamas and sleeping gowns • Slippers • Perfume (individual bottles and gift sets) • Throws and blankets • New gift bags, wrapping paper, ribbons and tape
Rosie’s Place accepts no government funds and relies instead on committed supporters like you!
We’re only able to offer consistent and reliable services because of your ongoing support. Our donors and volunteers are here for the long haul, and it makes all the difference for us. Because we don’t depend upon government contracts and grants, we count on you to enable us to continue our work. We know that such unwavering and kind support isn’t a whim for our donors. And that intentional assistance means that our guests can know what to expect, that at Rosie’s Place they can count on getting the services they need, year in and year out. Thanks for all your support and help in offering a place of certainty and constancy to our guests. You know how important that is—and we couldn’t do it without you. Please know that you have the constancy of our gratitude, and the certainty that your support will be used well and wisely. Thank you. With faith,
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 to help poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity, and find security in their lives. President Sue Marsh Vice President of External Relations Leemarie Mosca Director of Communications | Editor Michele Chausse Communications Coordinator | Contributor Daniela Serrano Design Colette O’Neill We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us with your comments at 617.318.0210.
2. CATER A MEAL IN OUR DINING ROOM Gather a group of up to 10 coworkers or friends to prepare and serve a meal for 150 to 200 women. Underwrite the $350 cost for the entire meal by splitting the donation among your group or by finding a sponsor (such as your employer or place of worship) to support you. Contact email@example.com to get started. 3. SEND CUSTOMIZED HOLIDAY CARDS Benefit Rosie’s Place by ordering our 10-packs ($18), variety packs ($24) and custom orders of 50+ cards, available in eight classic Boston scenes and whimsical winter illustrations. We are offering a new image this year, Winter Evening, Copley Square by acclaimed local artist Thomas Dunlay. We have also launched rosiesplace.fenwayprint.com, a new website that makes ordering custom cards fast and easy. View designs and order card packs at www.rosiesplace.org/holidaycards. 4. BENEFIT ROSIE’S PLACE WITH AN EVENT Consider making Rosie’s Place the beneficiary of your community event or holiday gathering. Check out our Event Toolkit at www.rosiesplace.org/give/otherwaystogive or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. 5. DONATE TO ROSIE’S PLACE Visit www.rosiesplace.org/give to support our vital programs and services for 12,000 women each year with a one-time gift or monthly donation that funds our work year-round!
“People looked at me as a motherless child, a refugee, a broken or perhaps damaged being. Even though I didn’t have the words, I wanted to say to them: I am not broken. I am not damaged. I have value and a voice and persistence and abilities to work and rescue myself. But I didn’t have the words and I didn’t have the community…That’s why when I toured Rosie’s Place, it so lifted and healed my heart to see this kind of community, this village—where women can enter and not be judged, not be blamed and not be viewed as different or damaged. But they can be valued, be loved, be heard, be visible and be us. Only when we can be us, can we create a better life for ourselves and create a better life for our community. We can contribute as better citizens, better neighbors and better people in our world.”
Loung Ung “I am writing to share some good news. I finally graduated from Bunker Hill Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree…Thanks to your financial support in the beginning when I was required to take remedial for math, I could afford to take these required courses to complete my studies. Growing up in a less privileged community has not only offered financial and academic challenges but has helped me realize the value of a college education…My plans at this stage are to complete a major in Women’s and Gender Studies (at UMass Dartmouth). I hope to be able to serve n a humanitarian position sometime in the future, where I will have the opportunity to help less fortunate and under-represented social groups… Thank you for enabling this opportunity!” Claudia C., a former guest who stayed with us while homeless and sought help for her schooling, excerpted from a letter to our president, Sue Marsh.
Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father, speaking about the importance of a supportive community, excerpted from her keynote speech at the 2017 Funny Women…Serious Business luncheon on October 24.
Claudia C. “I was lucky enough to have a tour of Rosie’s Place. You have to see Rosie’s Place for yourself. It’s magic!” Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker, speaking at the 2017 Funny Women… Serious Business luncheon.
Mass. First Lady Lauren Baker
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Once again this year, our friends at OUTFRONT Media have donated space on up to 20 digital billboards throughout eastern Massachusetts to Rosie’s Place. These outdoor ads will run during the month of December.
We are thrilled that our annual Funny Women…Serious Business luncheon was another great success, raising a record $806,000–13% more than in 2016! Many thanks to the 1,700 attendees, table hosts and sponsors, especially Headlining Sponsors Bank of America, Christina and Mike Gordon, Linda and Jay Hooley, J. Jill, Michele May and David Walt, OMAM, and Deb and Mark Pasculano and Presenting Centerpiece Sponsor Neiman Marcus Natick. The remarkable women who added so much to the program are, from left, Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV/CBS Boston; co-emcee Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB 5; co-emcee Susan Wornick; featured speaker, author Loung Ung; Rosie’s Place board chair Deb Pasculano; Kim Khazei, 7 News WHDH/WLVI; Vanessa Welch, Boston 25 News; and Latoyia Edwards, NBC Boston. Also participating in the program were Boston City Council President and Rosie’s Place board member Michelle Wu; Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker and Bentley University President Gloria Larson.
Elaine Construction (with staffers, from left Jennifer Stelmok and Jenny Murphy) was among the many local businesses and friends whose generous donations enabled us to distribute 386 backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies, along with hundreds of crayons, pens, folders, glue sticks, calculators and more. The items were given to the women and their children we support through our Outreach, Stabilization and Advocacy programs.
Cast and crew from the musical, The Color Purple, along with Boch Center staff, catered lunch and entertained our guests on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as part of the show’s efforts to support Rosie’s Place during their run in Boston. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Boch Center, Eastern Bank and WHDH, we were able to increase public awareness of our work and raise vital funds to support our programs and services.
Taking Action at Rosie’s Place One in six Massachusetts residents is an immigrant, as are many Rosie’s Place guests. We have made the Safe Communities Act a priority during this legislative session as we believe all immigrants must continue to have their due process rights preserved. The bill, An Act to Protect the Civil Rights and Safety of All Massachusetts Residents (S.1305 and H.3269), protects the civil rights, safety and well-being of all residents. Rosie’s Place has consistently supported legislation to make our state more inclusive for everyone. The Safe Communities Act ensures that tax dollars are not used to deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry. It also ensures that state and local law enforcement departments can use their limited resources to fight crime, not police immigrant community members and their families. Earlier this year, the Women’s Education Center and the Public Policy department accompanied 100 ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) students to the Massachusetts State House for Immigrants Lobby Day. The students advocated for the Safe Communities Act, meeting with legislators to ask for their support of the bill. They also sent letters outlining both the important contributions immigrants make to our communities and the increased level of fear they are now experiencing. The Safe Communities Act has 95 legislative co-sponsors and more than 100 organizations have endorsed it. Please register your support by calling your State House legislators and asking them to advocate for immigrants’ rights. We thank you! To find your Representative and Senator, go to: malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator A sample script: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Hello, my name is __________. I am a supporter of Rosie’s Place. I am asking you to support the Safe Communities Act, also known as Senate Bill 1305 and House Bill 3269. I hope you will protect the rights of ALL Massachusetts residents. Please ask the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety to report the bill out favorably. Thank you for your time.
To stay up-to-date on all Rosie’s Place legislative activity, sign up for the quarterly newsletter at email@example.com.
Rosie’s Place once again is offering CORI sealing clinics to our guests. Having a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) can negatively impact the lives of our guests even if their record is old or has only dismissed crimes. Starting in September, a group of trained lawyers from Ropes & Gray volunteer once a month to help eligible women obtain, assess and seal their CORIs. This initiative will eliminate a barrier to employment and other opportunities for many of our guests. Jewelry and gifts from the Women’s Craft Cooperative were in demand this holiday season, as the WCC was invited to display and sell at the More Than Words bookstore, Department of Transportation building, Federal Reserve building and at private parties. Visit www.rosiesplace.org/shop to browse our limited edition holiday gift set, as well as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, ornaments and other items. And when you use Newsletter15, you’ll receive a 15% discount on your purchases.
We recently hosted a group of 40 foreign military officers visiting the United States who requested to spend time at Rosie’s Place while in Boston. The visit was arranged through the National Defense University in Washington D.C. Staff, including Director of Volunteer Services Jessica Garretson (center), led tours of our site at 889 Harrison Avenue.
• Hat, scarves, mittens and gloves • New underwear and socks • Coats and jackets, especially larger sizes • Non-perishable food, especially peanut butter, tuna and rice • Full and travel-size toiletries • Holiday Wish List items
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY NOW AND ALL YEAR
winter WISH LIST
The winter months are upon us and the need for warm clothing and other essentials continues to grow. Whether spending long days–and for many, nights–outside or visiting our food pantry and dining room, our guests know they can turn to us in times of need. And we, in turn, are grateful that we can count on you to help us provide them with the items below:
Holiday Wish List • $25 gift cards (CVS, Walgreens, Target, Payless, Old Navy) • Bath and body gift sets with lotion, body wash and body spray (from stores such as Bath & Body Works) • New wrapping paper, ribbons and tape • Pajamas and sleeping gowns • Slippers • Perfume (individual bottles and gift sets) • Throws and blankets • New gift bags, wrapping paper, ribbons and tape
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CAN WE COUNT ON YOUR SUPPORT YEAR-ROUND? We strive to improve our guests’ lives every day and our Friends for All Seasons play an important role in making this happen. Our monthly giving program is an easy and convenient way to give year-round with scheduled credit card or checking account payments. With a minimum monthly gift of $15, you allow us to put your money to work right away. And we can use it with confidence, knowing we can count on you throughout the year. Other benefits of automatic monthly giving include: • Administrative costs are reduced, allowing your gift to have more of an impact • You will be kept up-to-date on our work through the Rosie’s Place newsletter and invitations to special events but will not receive any other requests for support • You will receive one tax receipt in January summarizing your giving for the year • You will be able to give at a level over a 12-month period that you may not have thought possible as a one-time donation Please contact Katie Amoro at 617.318.0211 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Become a Friend for All Seasons Today! Online: www.rosiesplace.org/fas Phone: Katie Amoro at 617.318.0211 Mail: Provide your credit card information or a check in the enclosed envelope and mark the monthly giving box.
WBUR’s A Christmas Carol
Safe and Sound Gala
This year marks the 15th anniversary of WBUR 90.9 FM’s reading of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. You will hear your favorite WBUR personalities at Boston’s historic Omni Parker House, the site of Dickens’ first reading, bring this timeless tale to life. Tickets are $65 and all proceeds benefit Rosie’s Place. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rosiesplace.org/wbur.
Please be our guest for a special evening of food, friends and philanthropy at our annual Safe and Sound gala. Enjoy delectable cuisine prepared and served by celebrity chefs with fine wine pairings—and the chance to win unique insideronly auction packages. Sponsorships are available and tickets begin at $500. For more information, please contact Kristen Leonard at 617.318.0232 or email@example.com.
Monday, December 18, 2017, 7:00PM Omni Parker House, Boston
Tuesday, May 2, 2018 Cyclorama at Boston Center for the Arts
www.rosiesplace.org 889 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118
NON-PROFIT ORG. US POSTAGE PAID BOSTON, MA PERMIT NO. 14526
Published on Dec 11, 2017