With a Little Help from Our Friends

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The work we do here at The Women’s Home would not be possible without the amazing support of dedicated volunteers in the Houston Community. Volunteers provide support through all aspects of our operations, from helping our special events run smoothly and keeping merchandise moving at The Cottage Shop, to providing job training classes and hosting events for our residents.

On Saturday November 7th the Omega Gamma Zeta (OGZ) Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. Sorority volunteered at The Cottage Shop helping process incoming donations and prepare merchandise for the shop floor. Back in May, OGZ asked a member of our staff to speak at their annual Parade of Salads Luncheon, which focused on the importance of mental health awareness in the community. OGZ has been supporting the Houston community through volunteer work since their founding in August 1990. The Women’s Home is grateful to have OGZ volunteer with us and their help is always welcome.

On Tuesday October 27th our residents’ final awards banquet of the year was hosted by a group of volunteers from the National Charity League-Heart of Texas Chapter—a mother-daughter volunteer organization that first helped out The Home back in March. Organizer Jenny Finch and other representatives from NCL decorated the room with beautiful fresh pumpkins carved into flower vases and warm fall centerpieces for the ceremony. NCL also stocked the dessert table with delicious cakes and cookies, and provided door prizes for the evening along with gifts for our graduating residents. Our quarterly awards banquets are important occasions where residents’ hard efforts are acknowledged and celebrated, and we thank NCL for making this impactful evening all the more beautiful. We’re excited to have NCL return in December to decorate our residential facilities and life learning center for the season.

Interested in volunteering? Contact us at volunteer@thewomenshome.org.


Don’t Forget Year End Giving

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November is a time to reflect upon all we are grateful for in our lives, big and small. This year begins a period of new growth for The Women’s Home. These expansions of our programs include assistance not only for Houston area women in need, but their families as well, and would not be possible without the immense support from our friends in the community. Likewise, the work we do every day on our Montrose campus, empowering women in need to change their lives, is made possible by the philanthropic and volunteer support of all of our generous contributors.

As the year draws to a close, we hope you will continue to support The Women’s Home and our mission to help Houston area women in crisis leave behind homelessness, addiction, and mental illness and embrace the potential within themselves to achieve healthy and whole lives.

Landmarks & Legacies: 2015 Gala Recap

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On Friday November 13, 2015, nearly 400 guests gathered at the Royal Sonesta Hotel to take a walk through The Women’s Home’s history with our 2015 Landmarks and Legacies Gala. This year our honorees were eight individuals whose support and dedication have shaped the history of The Home. This year’s honorees, JoAnne King Herring our Hall of Fame Honoree, Jane Cizik, Adele and Ber Pieper, Bette Stead, Kay and René Joyce, and Mandy Kao, exemplify the compassion and dedication that has enabled The Home to grow into the successful organization it is today.

Honorees were all in attendance as the evening began with the premier of this video, narrated by none other than JoAnne King Herring herself, in which each honoree spoke of the impact of The Home and wove together the narrative of our history.

Guests bid on fabulous silent auction items coordinated by gala co-chair Tracy Faulker, whose hard work alongside co-chairs Harry Faulkner and Fran Fawcett Peterson ensured the evening would be unforgettable. The hall was decorated in brilliant fall colors courtesy of Linda McInvale from Memorable Events. Deborah Duncan, Mistress of Ceremonies, led guests through the evening program, partnering with Morton Auctioneer and Appraisers’ General Manager Angus Adam who put on his best British charm for the crowd during the paddle raise.

After dinner and the program, guests danced the night away to the Richard Brown Orchestra accompanied by the electric vocals of Deborah Duncan. Among the crowd were familiar and new faces alike including Karina Barbieri, Marie Bosarge, Donae Chramosta, Scott and Michelle Ensell, Jenna and Brendan Gilbert, Yasmine Haddad, Janice and Charlie Hall, Staci and Dr. Quang Henderson, Anika Jackson, Ryan Korsgard, Gina Li, Beth Madison, Lisa Maloskey, Miya Shay, Evin Thayer, Tammy Tran Nguyen, Jim and Elaine Turner, Sue Trammel Whitfield, and Margaret Alkek Williams. The Women’s Home Young Professionals showed up in force, representing the bright future of The Women’s Home. Together, guests raised $320,000 in support of The Women’s Home programs and mission.

Shop. Taste. Empower. Holiday Edition 2015 Recap

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On the sunny autumn of Sunday of November 15, 2015, The Cottage Shop opened its doors for our Holiday Edition of Shop. Taste. Empower. We hosted this second edition of Shop. Taste. Empower after the smashing success of our first one this past May which saw over 200 guests in the three hours the shop was open. Media Sponsor Houstonia Magazine’s contribution helped raise excitement for the event. Members of the University of Houston Marketing Club’s volunteer efforts helped promote the event beforehand.

The Holiday edition of this fabulous Cottage Shop event saw an equally amazing turn out, with over 200 shoppers perusing and purchasing amazing merchandise generously donated by the Houston community. Notable donors included Francesca’s Boutique and mother and daughter owned Tres Chic Boutique. Francesca’s donated boxes of shoes, jewelry, accessories and gifts to the shop, and Tres Chic, owned by mother-and-daughter team Susan and Elizabeth Hancock, generously donated over 100 pieces of stunning high fashion clothing, which were on sale in the boutique.

Guests were able to receive holiday fashion advice from notable experts in attendance. Vintage Expert and Fashion Stylist Dawn Bell guided shoppers on the best styles from another time. She was accompanied by 2015 Miss Houston Vintage Alice Berry, who modeled several outfits from The Cottage Shop’s vintage segment. Fashion Designer Becky P. Hollands provided style advice to shoppers upon request alongside The Houston Chronicle’s Fashion and Beauty Editor, Joy Sewing. Guests received expert hair and make-up advice from Shany Cosmetics and By Terry stylists, as well as Make-Up Artists Justine Hernandez, Kenya Hunt, and Lydia Lutz and Lipstick and Brunch fashion and beauty blogger, Nicole Kestenbaum representing Lush Cosmetics.

WholeFoods, Paulie’s and Jodycakes provided sweet bites while Greenway Coffee and TopoChico provided refreshing beverages to fuel guests. In addition to all the items for sale, guests could bid on the silent auction which included incredible items from Aerial Yoga, Alexis Schadel for the Home, Be There in Five, Boheme, Burd Life, Clark Cooper Concepts, Greenway Coffee Company, Soul Healer Janelle Hoyland, Make-Up by Kenya, Mod Your Body Fitness, MW Cleaners, Seasons 52, Serente Spa, Shany Cosmetics, and Dr. Stephen Wolfson.

Volunteer Victoria Salinas, along with several of her coworkers and students who volunteered for the day, continuously carried in and sorted the donations brought in by generous attendees. Shoppers cleared through merchandise as fast as it was brought out on the floor, with a cornucopia of clothing, shoes, accessories and gift items to shop from. The sales by the end of the three hour event reached $10,000. Thank you to all who came out and made this second edition of Shop. Taste. Empower. a rousing success!

Missed the event? Don’t worry, The Cottage Shop has fantastic deals all season long on amazing items for anyone on your gift list—including you!

The Value of Second Chances

Witnessing the struggles that our residents with criminal records face as they work towards a second chance inspired us to develop and host the Re:Entry Summit this past September. The public’s lack of awareness of the lasting impact criminal records have on individuals makes it difficult for The Women’s Home, and organizations like us, to gain support from our communities for clients confronting this uphill battle. Additionally, many of those leaving the criminal justice system often aren’t informed about the resources available to them upon reentering society.

Three graduates of our treatment and transitional housing program agreed to be panelists in the Re:Entry Summit for exactly these reasons. Tina Carr, Natasha Jones and Anna Rabe all know the value of second chances, and the Re:Entry Summit gave them the opportunity to talk about the impact that a new chance can have while putting a personal face on the issues of reentry. Though their stories are different, all three received their second chance when STAR Court, a diversion court program, offered them the opportunity to come to The Women’s Home as a part of the judicial process. STAR Court offers those facing nonviolent drug convictions the opportunity to enter a treatment program and work to regain their sobriety and independence. Participants that meet STAR Court requirements by the end of their program then have their criminal records expunged, enabling them to move forward with a fresh start.

SONY DSCTina came to The Women’s Home after many encounters with the criminal justice system. “I felt like I was just a number,” she told the summit attendees. “I was called a habitual and was punished rather than provided treatment, which is what I needed.” STAR Court and The Women’s Home served as Tina’s introduction to recovery and life skills, which she embraced whole-heartedly. Today she works for The Harris Center for Mental Health, where she is a certified peer specialist in the Harris County Jail’s Mental Health Unit. “I never imagined that life could be so good. All of my liabilities have been turned into assets,” she says. Tina leads by example, helping those who are struggling the way she once was to believe that recovery is achievable for everyone. “People need a hand up,” she says. “And if we give this to them, we show them that things they did do not define who they are. We give them hope, and therefore they have hope in themselves and share this hope with others.”

Natasha told her story as part of a panel about the narratives of women in prison, but summit attendees had received a preview of her experience via this pre-recorded video that morning.

Natasha participated in the summit in the hope that her “experience and knowledge could help others understand how hard it is for women to get homes and work” after leaving the criminal justice system. Natasha had heard of The Women’s Home and wanted to participate in our program, but it was STAR Court that finally helped her be ready for The Home. “The Women’s Home gave me the support and tools I needed to live a fuller life,” she says. Today, Natasha is a happily married homeowner whose children are again a part of her life. Working as an apartment manager for a complex with a leasing policy that is forgiving to those with criminal histories, Natasha is happy to give others a second chance as well. She provides to her tenants a list of employers with inclusive hiring policies, so any residents seeking better opportunities know what’s available to them.

Anna RabeAnna spoke on a panel about the value of diversion court programs like STAR Court. “I wanted to give some insight into my experience with diversion court,” she says, “and to help paint a picture of the type of person they can help.” She came to The Home when STAR Court gave her the choice: either go through the traditional system or follow their guidelines alongside the structure The Women’s Home provided. “My court program gave me suggestions and held me accountable for [my own] job search,” she says. “The Women’s Home gave me support, therapy, job training, and helped me believe in myself and that I could recreate my life and be the person I set out to be years ago.” Today she is happy and healthy, with loving friends who appreciate who she is. Anna works as an employment professional, connecting those in need with important job opportunities. She adds, “Helping them put food on the table for their families is the best feeling in the world.”

The Women’s Home is grateful for the courage and honesty these three graduates from our program showed by standing up and speaking out at our Re:Entry Summit. By sharing their stories, they put a face to the often unseen and pervasive struggles that those reentering society encounter. They showed everyone attending the summit the value of a second chance.