Easter Appeal 2019

 

Click here to make a donation to our 2019 Easter Appeal.

On Sunday, April 28, 2019, Ms. Anahaita Kotval, CEO of Lifting Up Westchester, and Ms. Chris Schwartz, Development Director, spoke about this very important ministry at both services. Click here to listen to their excellent reflections.

Happy Easter! In celebration of our many blessings, St. John’s is continuing the wonderful tradition of coming together in this season of hope and joy to support a charitable project of great value to our community.

This year the beneficiary of the 2019 Easter Appeal will be Lifting Up Westchester (LUW), a social services agency that has been providing homeless and poverty services to Westchester’s men, women, and children in need for forty years. (St John’s has a long tradition of preparing food for the Open Arms Shelter, which is a LUW initiative.) The agency shelters and feeds 3,000 Westchester residents annually and provides youth programs to help homeless and low-income children be the first in their families to go to college—and the last to live in poverty.

LUW is launching a new program called Pathways to Self-Sufficiency which is designed to help homeless individuals from their Open Arms Men’s Shelter and Samaritan House Women’s Shelter find—and keep—stable housing. They need our help to get Pathways off the ground.

The sad reality is that many of the homeless individuals that LUW places into housing fail at their attempts at independent living: 16% return to the streets or to their shelters after only six months; 32% return after two years! Many cycle in and out of homelessness time and again.

They fail for many reasons: poor education, inability to find employment, loneliness, inexperience living on their own, etc. It is devastating for these individuals to come so close to making it only to have to start all over again, usually with reduced confidence in their abilities.

Pathways to Self-Sufficiency is a program designed to create permanent solutions to end homelessness in Westchester.

Pathways to Self-Sufficiency is a multi-pronged program that will do just that. It will help homeless individuals find affordable housing quickly, provide job training and assistance in finding employment, teach life skills like cooking and budgeting, and follow individuals for 6-12 months after they move into their new homes to address any issues that could result in a return to homelessness.

LUW needs our help to implement the critical Life Skills Training portion of the program. While most of us take things like cooking, cleaning, shopping and budgeting for granted, many shelter clients have been institutionalized all their lives (foster homes, prison, shelters) and have never had the opportunity to learn those skills. They need to be taught how to prepare meals, pay bills, budget etc. in order to live successfully on their own. LUW plans to hire a Life Skills Coordinator to provide that training.

Life Skills Training aims to help people like “Pat,” who was once a resident of Open Arms. Pat is one of the lucky ones who achieved self-sufficiency. However, the transition to independent living was not easy.

In high school, Pat was an honor student who began using drugs and was incarcerated. Due to good behavior Pat was released early to Open Arms Men’s Shelter. The shelter staff helped Pat enroll in a vocational training program leading to a steady job, and shortly afterwards helped Pat find a place to live. Several years later Pat is thriving in his work and personal life.

Pat describes the experience: “As excited as I was to move into my own place, it was hard. I felt so alone. I didn’t know anything about budgeting so I was soon behind in my rent. I had to change my ways. I wish the Pathways to Self-Sufficiency Program was around when I was a client because once you leave Open Arms you still need help. My life would have been so much easier if someone had prepared me for being on my own… and had checked in with me to help me figure out some of this stuff.”

LUW plans to hire a Life Skills Coordinator to provide precisely the training that Pat and others wanting to rise above homelessness so urgently need.

The cost of the Life Skills Coordinator is $30,000 annually and we are asking St John’s to raise $20,000 to launch this new position (CIT Bank has committed $10,000 in funding).

On Sunday, April 28, 2019, Ms. Anahaita Kotval, CEO of Lifting Up Westchester, and Ms. Chris Schwartz, Development Director, spoke about this very important ministry at both services. Click here to listen to their excellent reflections.

IT’S OUR TURN

As we celebrate the arrival of spring, please think about how you can spread a little warmth yourself—and make a contribution to help our homeless neighbors achieve the goal of self-sufficiency.

You can make a donation by either clicking the link below, or sending a check made out to St. John’s with “Easter Appeal 2019” designated on the memo line.

Thank you very much,

The 2019 Easter Appeal Committee
on behalf of St. John’s Vestry

 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE.