Growing a Little Greener

Direct Energy November 14

The Women’s Home’s Treatment and Transitional housing has some exciting new additions. In November, we were chosen to receive a $5,000 Direct Energy’s Reduce Your Use for Good™ Grant. A part of Direct Energy’s support of green practices, the grant helps nonprofits purchase energy efficient products and services to cut down their energy consumption and costs. Micah Hirschfield, Direct Energy’s External Relations Director, and member of the Board of Directors for The Home said the goal of the Reduce Your Use for Good Grant is to “help keep the dollars they’ve earned for their missions” and off of infrastructure maintenance.

Micah, who serves as our Public Affairs Committee Chairman, first began volunteering with The Home after being introduced to our mission by former colleague and board member, Russell Reese. He enjoys being able to see how his contributions to The Home translate back to our clients and the positive impact The Women’s Home has on our community. Now serving his second term on our board, Micah hopes that the solar fans we purchased through the grant will help us save on maintenance costs for years to come and keep focused on our mission of helping Houston women.

Built in the early nineties our residential dormitory and three of our transitional homes were in need of energy efficient updates to help reduce their impact on our local environment and help save on operational costs. This grant allowed us to purchase seven solar fans, two each for three of our transitional houses and one for our residential dormitory’s attic.

 Direct Energy November 14 Fan  Direct Energy Nov 14 fan 2
Left: A two story solar attic fan for our transitional facilities. Right: A solar attic fan for one of our single story buildings.

Solar fans reduce the temperature in building attics, helping lower energy costs by managing the spread of heat. Our five new solar fans not only cut the energy used by our air conditioning system to cool our residential housing, but also support their operating needs through solar panels, saving us the cost of running them.

An Evening at Downtown Abbey

 

The Gift of Gratitude

Thanksgiving November 2014

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us and with the holiday comes an important tradition for The Women’s Home. Every year staff and residents come together the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for our Grateful Circle. This is a time where we share with each other the things we truly appreciate in our lives. The Grateful Circle reminds many of the staff why we do this work and the impact we have on the lives of our residents. Others find it a humbling reminder of the important things as each year our residents take nothing for granted in their gratitude for each step of progress, big and small. Our residents are grateful for many things including reconnecting with family members, getting the job they tried hard for, being able to handle daily chores, and having their health again.

The Gratitude Challenge, which gained popularity in 2014, shows mindful thankfulness is catching. Meant to encourage people to make gratitude a habit, participants name three things they are thankful for each day they take part in the challenge. Not only does gratitude remind you of the good things in life, studies find a little appreciation can have big benefits. People who feel grateful have less stress, healthier relationships, argue less, and perform better in school and at work compared to their less thankful counterparts. People who show gratitude also feel more connected with their communities and are more likely donate money and volunteer.

This Thanksgiving, give your gratefulness a boost past the holiday season. Tell your loved ones you appreciate them, thank a stranger for their kind gesture, and enjoy the sun through autumn leaves. Show gratitude for the big and little things and see the ways it returns to you.

We want to take gratitude beyond our grateful circle this Thanksgiving and thank all of you for your support. The care of our community, of generous, compassionate volunteers and donors allows us to continue helping our residents find what they’re thankful for.

Something New and Daring

Daring Way Nov 14

Many who have been homeless and struggle with addiction or mental illness live in shame from the long shadow stigma casts on them. A new treatment at The Women’s Home will help them let go of the shame that keeps them in their past’s control and empower them to live daringly.

 

In October 2014, two of our clinical staff were selected to attend an intensive five day training for The Daring Way™. The Daring Way™ is an experiential methodology based upon the research of Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social work and author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Experiential therapies encourage participants to examine their subconscious issues through guided activities such as role playing or guided imagery. The Daring Way™ emboldens participants to examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors holding them back in order to identify new choices and actions that will move them towards a more whole way of life.

 

The Daring Way™ expands upon previous methods based on Dr. Brown’s research which heavily influenced our program’s shame resilience training. The program is based upon Dr. Brown’s twelve years of research on shame, vulnerability, courage, and worthiness. Participants are encouraged to examine why they don’t pursue some desires but do act on others and what road blocks are holding them back. As a part of their training our clinical staff members learned not only how to carry out The Daring Way ™ 12 week curriculum, but participated in an accelerated version of it with the other attendees. Our clinicians are practicing the program for the first time with two client groups. The Daring Way™ program will replace our shame resilience groups for our residents, and will empower them to move past their feelings of shame and their fear of being vulnerable to set and achieve their goals. The Daring Way ™ is another example of sharing evidence based best practices in our clients’ treatment.

Selling, Stocking Pantries

ULR Drive Nov 14

Throughout the month of November Urban Leasing & Realty (ULR) Properties is hosting a nonperishable food item and toiletry drive benefitting our residents. The food drive has 11 drop off locations between the sponsors, including one at The Cottage Shop so donors all over town can participate easily. ULR is hosting one of the locations along with their cosponsors Ashton West Dallas apartments, Beet Box Blend Bar, CIM, Marie Flanigan Interiors, Marry Go Round, Rafail Insurance Group, SkyHouse Houston, and Total Nutrition throughout the City.

Food drive organizer and ULR co-owner Jessica St. John got involved with The Women’s Home after attending one of our luncheons three years ago. Our mission and message struck a chord with her, “Being a woman business owner, I can understand everyone needs help from time to time. The Woman’s Home isn’t a quick in and out, it really helps women get back on their feet.” She toured our facilities with our Young Professionals liaison, Bethany Fields and has been working with The Home ever since.

Jessica started the food drive through her company in 2013, at Bethany’s suggestion when Jessica asked what The Home needed. Jessica says the food drive also gives those who lack the time to volunteer or money for big donations a platform to make a difference in their community. At the end of last year’s drive, several agents from ULR felt the impact of their effort when they stocked The Home’s pantry and toured our campus. In 2013, the community response resulted in over 1,400 items and ULR is hoping to outdo that record this year, expanding the drive from one week to one month to give more donors a chance to contribute. With the involvement of several local businesses as sponsors and the extended time period of one month, their goal of breaking 2013’s record is in reach.

Jessic wished to thank Bethany and the other staff of The Women’s Home for allowing ULR and their co-sponsors to be of service.

2014 Gala: An Evening at Downtown Abbey

Gala 14

From Left to RIght: Paula Paust, Harriet Hart, Trini Mendenhall, Dominique Sachse, Cindy Burns, and Martha Turner

On a chilly Friday evening, November 14, 2014, The Corinthian downtown took on the elegance of early 20th century Yorkshire aristocracy for our annual gala. Glittering chandeliers, elegant tables set with lace brought the theme of “An Evening at Downtown Abbey” to life. Guests dined and danced the night away to the Richard Brown Orchestra, who performed instrumental classics worthy of the grand duchess as well as live renditions of contemporary favorites.

Dominique Sachse and Paul Schenfeld acted as mistress of ceremonies and auctioneer, guiding the evening through Paula Paust’s (The Women’s Home’s Executive Director) heartfelt opening story, fine dining, fun posing at the photobooth, a live and silent auction, and dancing. Trini Mendenhall was the evening’s guest of honor for her lifetime of philanthropy and volunteer service in our community. Trini generously donated two Fabulous Fiesta private party packages to our live auction, where the winners and seven friends will enjoy an evening of Trini’s famous homemade enchiladas alongside Trini’s cohosts Cindy BurnsHarriet Hart and Martha Turner. Other items in the silent auction included two Texas flag paintings by local artist Taft McWhorter and a golf getaway to Kohanaiki resort in Hawaii. The evening was more than a night in the grandeur of Yorkshire, thanks to our generous attendees it was an event that raised $365,000 in integral funds for our residents’ needs.

Many thanks to all involved in making this year’s gala a success. Without you, our work would not be possible.

If you’d like to view and purchase photos from the gala, visit Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design’Event Page and submit your email with the provided password to view their gallery.