Saturday, April 27, 2013

School Daze

Often there are school-aged kids at Samaritan House and one of my favorite parts of the job is seeing the transformation that occurs when a homeless family finds a place to live.

Every day kids are struggling because they feel alienated and less than human. This self-image has potential to escalate and effect other areas of their life. They can tend to give up and lose focus when they see no point in going to school. Here is what the EDC says:
  • Do not stigmatize children in homeless situations. Do not think of them as homeless children, but rather as children temporarily without a home due to a complex set of circumstances beyond their control—and often, their understanding. They need sensitivity, understanding, and recognition of their individual strengths as well as needs. Have high expectations for their success.
  • Make schools safe havens. The family and community life of these children can be so unstable that schools must provide a sense of belonging and security. In the midst of chaos, a teacher and a school can be a source of hope, encouragement, and positive support.
  • Think of the needs of the whole child. Work with school and community resources to improve children’s physical health, mental health, and food and nutritional needs. Help meet their basic needs so that they are in a position to learn and achieve.
  • Work with parents or guardians to develop concrete goals and programs. Parents who are homeless have the same goals other parents have for their children. Understand that adults in families that are homeless may be stretched thin, balancing many requirements. Many homeless people have jobs. Their time may be as limited as other families.
  • Reach out to the community. Building a collaborative school and community network is critical to mounting a comprehensive effort to helping children who are homeless.
Wow... this almost seems like it could apply to mare than teachers.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The More Things Change...

The scent of the food wafted thought the large industrial building. There were auction items strewn throughout the room; various knickknacks placed into categories and neatly arranged on tables so people could stroll through and name their own prices. Our hope was that the patrons would discover things they liked and then try to outbid other like-minded people with similar interests. It was all for a good cause.

No, wait... A great cause.

Samaritan House hosted our annual Cowboy Up Auction Saturday evening, April 21st at Gardners. The build up for an event like this is indescribable and Executive Director Chris Krager usually begins planning for it as soon as the previous year's event is finished. There is no time to rest on laurels that are accustomed to going full speed ahead. The planning involved for an event like this is immense and the payoff is measured in far more than dollars and cents. The money raised by the community is truly humbling and we are so appreciative for everyone who attended and blessed us. There would be no change unless you continued to partner with us as we seek practical ways to address the issues of homelessness in the Valley.

The money pledged and collected will affect the lives of people you might never meet. The dollar trail might look like it simply travels from point A to point B, but the ramifications that ripple forth touch our residents on many levels. The lights are kept on so the children can study and not fall behind on their school work. The heat is able to warm the souls and the bodies as winter makes one more desperate attempt to vie for our attention. Food is served and hunger averted. Old projects are completed as new ones surface. When you give at these events, people's lives are changed.

It's not just about the financial aspect, although the money is of paramount importance for us. You were able to provide the conditions that allow our residents to get back some of the dignity they feel robbed of. And while there is a tangible dollar amount that allows us to provide food and shelter for one person for one night, there is not enough money in the world to rekindle a sparkle in a person's eye when they feel valued. This is what you help provide.

So, thank you...  A million times over, thank you. We appreciate you so much and look forward to partnering with you in the future.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

6th Annual Cowboy Up for Samaritan House Benefit

It is almost here, the 6th Annual "Cowboy Up" benefit dinner concert and auction will be held on April 20th at Gardners Auction, on Highway 93 South, in Kalispell.
Tickets for the benefit at $35 each will include a pig roast dinner, live and silent auction, ticket holder raffle and live music from the Smart Alex. Beer and Wine will be available for purchase. Doors open at 5:00 pm and dinner begins at 6:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at Samaritan House.
Some of you may have stopped by our booth at the Flathead County Fairgrounds during the Home Show and purchased a raffle ticket for a nice table... the winner is Heidi Miller, congratulations!