A New Friendship Team

A New Friendship Team Story

Usually I start my updates off with a story about one of our Family Partners, so I thought this time I would give you a glimpse of one of our Friendship Teams.  As it was said in the May article entitled Hotel, Motels for Massachusetts Homeless Decreases Greatly , we have a new team from Wollaston Church of the Nazarene in Quincy.  Since this is my ‘home’ church, I often talk about the Home with Friends ministry, In fact, for the last four year — in church board meetings, small group gatherings, on the missions council, etc.  And, people frequently respond with interest and prayer.

team spirit, working together, friendship team

Small Groups Make a Big Difference in Homeless Family’s Lives

This year some members of my small group decided it was time to get more involved,. So a team was put together of 10 adults (with numerous kids! We advocate children be part of homeless ministry together). During March through May we met 4 times for training,  and Sara Mitchell and I began asking agencies, shelters and churches for family referrals.

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

What Are Family Referrals?

Family referrals are homeless families who struggle and have a connection to an agency, shelter or church.  We look for those families who are struggling with homelessness. But moreso, we look for those who seem to be ready to take advantage of a 2-year period of financial and relational support. This is what the Home With Friends program is all about. This gives them the time and energy to get further education or training and increase their income. It also allows time to clean up their credit reports and stabilize other areas of their lives.

How do we determine who is home-ready?

Referrals came to us for 8 different families. Of those 8 families, 5 of them had an interview with us regarding the Home With Friends opportunity. We are happy to announce a selection is made!

A New Family Will Have a Place to Call Home Soon!

Our new family is a couple with a toddler and a baby on the way.  How exciting that they will have a place to call home! Can you imagine how special the holiday’s will be for them this year?

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

What criteria must a family meet to qualify for the Home With Friends program?

Just to give you an idea what we look for, Dad works full time and mom part time. Mom has come out of the foster care system and spent a couple of years at Ruth’s House in Brockton, which provides people like her with wonderful support and training.  This weekend, the family must be out of their apartment.

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

How do Friendship Teams help?

Members of the Friendship team took the initiative and got right to work!  They have contacted a real estate agent from the congregation who is connecting them with other agents. They also have gone with Mom to look at apartments. And, this past Saturday night the Friendship Team hung out with the family, taking time to get to know each other.  The team also put together a fundraiser. The funds will go toward the Family Partner’s decreasing rental subsidy.

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

A team member took Mom out to look at apartments, and said –

It was awesome to meet this mom and talk with her in the car.  It was the absolute perfect place to have a discussion.  She talked all about her life, her background and what brought her to the place of homelessness. I am more convinced than ever that this experience is going to be life-changing for the Friendship Team, and that we can have a serious impact on their lives.

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

It’s a Two Way Street

Both Family Partners and Friendship Team members often learn from each other.  And, it certainly isn’t easy! Often those involved must expect lifestyle difference, such as value-system clashes, and frustration at times. So why would a person want to be on the Friendship Team? Why do it?  Because this is the Church being the Church! Loving on people and bringing hope to their circumstances.

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

Would you like to be part of a Friendship Team?

Call Lora Wooster at 617-939-3709 and let her  know if you want to be a part of developing this ministry at your church. Oh, and shw appreciates and thanks you for your prayer and financial support!

To learn more about Home with Friends watch our video below:

team spirit, working together, friendship team, home with friends, homeless families

Hotel, Motels for Massachusetts Homeless Decreases Greatly

Homeless Mom’s Job Growth!

Do you remember Eileen, whom  we told you about back in November? She has been able to negotiate more hours at the nursing home where she works. She is not only earning more money each week, but now she also receives benefits. A member of Eileen’s Friendship Team is working with her regularly to improve her English reading skills so that she can study for the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test, used to be the GED), and we partnered with the Financial REACH Center in Quincy to help her clean up her credit report and pay off her debts. She is working hard at Continue reading Hotel, Motels for Massachusetts Homeless Decreases Greatly

Thank you for making the ENC concert a success!

 

A huge thank you to all who were part of the unforgettable Valentine’s Benefit concert in Hingham last month. This includes:

  • The Eastern Nazarene College A Capella Choir, guest alumni, and Chamber Singers with their uplifting voices and musical tribute to Dorothy Newell.
  • All the friends and families who attended the concert and reception.
  • South Shore Baptist Church in Hingham for hosting the event.
  • The Hingham Mother’s Club for baking dozens of yummy desserts for an appreciative crowd.
  • And the many kind and generous donors who helped us raise more than $5000 to support our programs for homeless families.

An evening to remember

It took the combined talents and energy of dozens of people to make this an evening to remember. We are grateful to all for your ongoing support.

Visit our Facebook page to enjoy a video of the concert and view the tribute to Dorothy.

For more about the singers, visit the ENC A Cappella Choir Facebook page.

To learn about all the ways you can volunteer to help families in transition, please visit the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore site.

 

 

Grab a Cup of “Coffee for a Cause” at Whole Foods Market Mar 4 & 5

Stop by Whole Foods Market in Hingham and South Weymouth, MA on Saturday March 4 and Sunday March 5 and grab a “cuppa Joe” while you shop. Not only will it perk up your spirits, but for every Coffee for a Cause cup you buy, Whole Foods Markets will donate $5 to Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore. Continue reading Grab a Cup of “Coffee for a Cause” at Whole Foods Market Mar 4 & 5

Special Valentine Concert Fundraiser and Reception on February 23, 2017

Come to this concert fundraiser and hear the energetic voices of the Eastern Nazarene College A Cappella and Alumni Choirs. This  Valentine’s Day benefit concert will be held on Feb. 23 at the South Shore Baptist Church, 578 Main St, Hingham, Mass.

Valentine, Benefit, Concert, Fundraiser, concert fundraiser

The concert fundraiser starts at 7:30 and ends at 8:30. A post-concert reception will follow to honor donors and volunteers who generously give their money, time and talents to Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.

The event is open to the public and a free will offering will be taken during the concert. All proceeds benefit Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.

Remarkable Voices Raise Money for a Great Cause

“This is the second year that the remarkable singers from ENC are donating their time and talents to raise money for our programs at Friends of the Homeless,” says Herb Newell, Executive Director. “We’re honored — and thrilled — to have their support.” An alumnus of the college, Newell also joins the chorus for the evening.

Love Songs Selected for Every Taste at the Concert Fundraiser

Directed by Dr. Timothy Shetler and Dr. Kevin Smith, the ENC choir plans to offer a selection of classical, folk and contemporary love songs. Also, they the ENC Chamber Singers and ENC alumni, who sang with the group during their college years, will join them.

ENC A Cappella Choir Sings

The ENC A Cappella Choir sings in churches, universities, and high schools throughout the Eastern Educational Region of the Church of the Nazarene. They also have performed in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and at  Boston’s Jordan Hall.  Fulfilling the mission of the College, the Choir strives to:

  • embody academic excellence,
  • encourage each member to become a redemptive force in the world,
  • give students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to perform the great choral works, improve their musicianship, and grow in faith within a positive environment.

The Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers regularly present compositions from the European Renaissance and the 19th and 20th centuries. Every other year, they go on an international tour.

For questions about the A Cappella Choir and Chamber Singers, please contact Dr. Timothy Shetler.

For more information about this benefit concert, contact the ENC Box Office at 617-745-3715.

To learn more about the mission, programs and volunteer opportunities at the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore — or you may go here to make a donation.

 

Festival of Trees: Joy, Support for Shelters

Join the fun at The Hingham Mothers’ Club (HMC) Festival of Trees, Dec. 2 and 3 at the Hingham Community Center. The annual event brings joy to the season and much-needed support for our homeless shelters.

This year the Festival features 40 beautiful trees on display as part of Hingham’s Christmas in the Square celebration. Continue reading Festival of Trees: Joy, Support for Shelters

Norwell Kids Get New Play Space, Built in Record Time

1 + 1 + 14 + 4 = 170 Square Foot Fence for Norwell Kids’ Safety!

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project, AVO Fence, Weymouth, MA
Art Carol of AVO Fence and Nancy O’Neill who led the fence-building effort in Norwell.

How 1 woman’s determination, 1 donor’s generosity, and 14 energetic volunteers gave the kids in Norwell a safe place to play outside — in just 4 weeks. 

It was a warm and sunny day in August this year when Nancy O’Neil decided that enough was enough. It was high time that the Norwell children who attended the inside play space program at the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore’s Norwell shelter got the chance to play outdoors too.

But first she needed to find the resources to build a fence so they could play safely in the shelter’s outside play area.

Giving Norwell Kids a Safe Outdoor Play Space

O’Neil, a volunteer play activity leader for the Horizons for Homeless Children Play Space Program, knows the importance of outdoor play. She worked in high school and college-level athletics and health for more than three decades before becoming a consultant for athletic education and wellness.

“If there’s one thing that kids have in common, it’s energy. And lots of it!” says O’Neil. That’s why they need a safe place to play outdoors. “Even if you don’t have a place to call your own, you still want your kids to be safe,” she says.

So she reached out to Herb Newell, Executive Director of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore and his staff and volunteers for their assistance. Sharyn Burden, Assistant Program Director at the Norwell shelter became a key supporter, fielding calls and providing valuable insight. Another volunteer created a 2-page flyer to give to potential donors. Little did we imagine our Norwell kids would have their fence so quickly.

Persistence Pays Off — Quickly

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project, AVO Fence, Weymouth, MA
Art Caron loads up fence panels for delivery to Norwell shelter.

It was O’Neil’s dogged determination to get the fence built ASAP that made all the difference. In fewer than 4 weeks after she started her effort:

  • Art Caron of AVO Fence & Supply in Plymouth, MA generously donated over 170 feet of fencing panels.
  • Atlantic Fence in Raynham, MA donated all of the posts.
  • O’Neil and a friend picked up and delivered the panels to the Norwell location. Caron  picked up and delivered the posts.
  • Enough cash donations were received to rent an auger and set aside money for maintenance.
  • Newell and O’Neil assembled a team of volunteers to get the fence installed.

On Sunday, September 18th Caron, his staff, and a few helpers set the corners and began the build. Then, on Saturday, September 24, a full crew of volunteers “dug in” to build the fence and make the outdoor play space for our Norwell kids a reality — in just 4 hours!

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, projectSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, projectSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell ChildrenSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell ChildrenSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project

“We did it!” says O’Neil. “With the leadership of Art Caron at AVO Fence and the help of a tremendous team, we finished the fence!  And it is beautiful!  The youngsters will soon enjoy the out of doors during their play space time. YIPPEE!! HUGE thanks to all who contributed.”

In addition to O’Neil and Caron (“total project hero” says O’Neil), the volunteer construction crew included Marci Stoda, Paula Myers, Judy Katalina, Nancy Martens, Nancy Bilodeau, Herb Newell, and Kenny Dustin.

Still Needed: A Few Finishing Touches

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children
The team that built the fence at the Norwell shelter in record time pose for a final photo. Front row (left to right): Marci Stoda, Nancy O’Neil, and Paula Myers. Back row (left to right): Judy Katalina, Art Caron (fence team leader from AVO fence). Nancy Martens, Nancy Bilodeau, Herb Newell, Kenny Dustin.

Of course, the work isn’t completely done, admits O’Neil. “We still have to fill in with a couple of gates for access and the hardware to go with them.” But Director Newell’s connection to Habitat for Humanity volunteers will soon make this happen, she says. The gates are scheduled for completion during the week of October 3.

Thank You!

To everyone mentioned above AND the many other generous donors whose time and money helped us make the fence a reality, we cannot say thank you enough! You have made a big difference for our Norwell kids and their parents. Thank you for your support in making a difference in children’s lives on the South Shore of Boston as a whole! We invite you to connect with us on Facebook.

Maybe fence building isn’t your thing? Don’t worry, we have many ways you can help, either by volunteering or donating. Which ever way you chose will make a great impact on our children in shelter.