Celebrating the Strength of Women

It was an inspiring and energizing evening as we gathered on March 2 to celebrate the strength of women! Supporters, donors, volunteers, and city officials came together to support women in the community, understand what they can do in the place they now live, and learn more about women seeking shelter at The Sophia Way.

It was amazing to feel their love and energy. There were hard conversations, but also sharing and celebrating with joy and laughter. Thank you so much for being in the room with us!

We present a brief overview of the evening.

Katie Glore, Housing Case Manager, shared her journey of helping Janis, who had been homeless for 13 years.

She had a hard life and never thought she would have her own home again. But, she was remarkably resilient. In October, she did find housing, and it has been incredible to watch her grow, flourish, and create her own community of friends. When I asked Janis, what she would say to someone in a similar situation, she said: have faith and find the resources you need. She is grateful to have found The Sophia Way and now has so much joy and positivity because she is stable, and has a place that is hers to call home and where she gets to make her dinner and live her life.

Dietra Clayton, Director of Client Services & Shelter Programs, added: Every day, we get to see how strong women are. They ask me how I am, even though they may be having a terrible day. And that is huge! This evening, we have someone who has been through our programs and shelters and is now in her own space. And she is participating in an event; she is showing up in the community. That only goes to show how resilient she is. We are grateful for your support in walking alongside these women. Read more about what Dietra sees in the course of her work at the shelters.

Sharon and Susan Huang, twins and juniors at Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish, spoke about why they volunteer at a nursing home and write for a local newspaper. They embody the younger generation who stand up and stand out, speaking up for those in the community who need our support.

Excerpts from their talk:

We feel incredible joy when we help others in the community. While volunteering and serving residents at the nursing home, we realized we must build a trusting relationship to bring true joy to elders. We learned that any act of love and compassion is meaningful regardless of its materialistic impact.

When interviewing Alisa Chatinsky [Executive Director of The Sophia Way] for an article on homelessness, we gained a more comprehensive understanding of what women go through. She told us: “The women are strong, but they have to go through some horrible things in their life. What they need is a caring and loving community.” We couldn’t stop but think how fortunate we are to have a home and a family that loves us. While we take that for granted, many women are alone or unsheltered, struggling to live a sustainable life every day.  Their indomitable spirits deserve sincere respect.

We came to see and understand our community’s struggles through our work as reporters for Sammamish Independent. As students, we will continue to use the platform to inform the community and help them come together to help those in need.

A few things that we plan to do: We will educate students about the causes of homelessness and the challenges that keep people in that state. We hope to motivate them to actively seek solutions to make the community a better place by ameliorating those issues. What they do does not have to be significant or special. Every dollar counts, every piece of food matters. We will ask that when they see someone who is potentially experiencing homelessness, give them a smile and ask what they need.

The community applauded the youngsters”

WOW!! You are very inspiring.
Great job and insight, beginning with residents in nursing homes and working to understand and share with your peer group women experiencing homelessness.
I hope you continue to speak often and in many forums about community building. I was so moved by what you said! Thank you!

The conversation in the breakout rooms added to the energy that was already buzzing in the room. The discussions centered on two questions:

What is the one thing you can do this week for women experiencing homelessness?

  • Ask. Take the time to ask what people need. And listen
  • See those people. Don’t walk by. Each ones needs are different
  • Buy Real Change newspaper
  • Be present when encountering someone who is experiencing homelessness. Acknowledge them
  • DAVE: Donate, Advocate, Volunteer, Enlist others to end homelessness
  • Advocate

Share about someone from you draw strength

  • My mother who lived with great purpose
  • My wife
  • My grandson who is building a Lego city with homes for everyone
  • The community and other good people in the world