July Volunteer Spotlight

Shivani Chatterjee

This month let’s get to know N Street Village volunteer Shivani Chatterjee. Shivani has been an active volunteer with us since April 2014. She is a versatile volunteer who spends her time serving the community as an overnight supervisor, residential assistant, breakfast server, Bingo caller at Miriam’s House, and teaches Bollywood dancing at the night shelter. Shivani has volunteered with various agencies in DC, but she didn’t feel like she was cultivating relationships or joining a community. Then, she found N Street Village, which was the answer to that missing piece. Now, she feels so good to be a part of such a great community of people. Let’s get know Shivani…

I work at the National Office of Communities in Schools (CIS), a nonprofit network that prevents students from dropping out of high school by surrounding them with a community of support. I believe that education is the best tool we have to address most problems of social inequality in this world. I find it very rewarding to be involved with N Street Village and the environment of love and empowerment that it fosters. I believe that you can learn something from everyone you meet, and I definitely learn a lot from the ladies at N Street Village. I love music and enjoy dancing, singing, playing piano, and experimenting on the drums. Staying active and healthy is important to me. For relaxation, I love to read or take a walk by the waterfront.

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area? I was born in Louisiana, and grew up in Texas. I have been in D.C. for about 2.5 years.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? Vinoteca.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…Dancing with my friends.

What is the last movie you watched (and enjoyed)? The Kite Runner on Netflix.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? I really love the Lincoln Memorial.

Where is the last place you traveled to? Denver, Colorado to see my cousin.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Safety, rejuvenation, family.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories?When one of the residents brought me a cupcake. I also loved when another resident made coffee for me after overnight shifts.

What has been one of your biggest surprises about N Street Village? The personalities of the ladies can be surprising and wonderful. As a volunteer, I realized that some ladies want to interact minimally, while others enjoy talking to you. So, I just come with an open smile and engage the ladies who reach out to me.

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Join N Street Village Impact Committee

N Street Village’s Impact Committee is comprised of a select group of energetic, passionate and talented leaders who are dedicated to N Street Village’s mission, and are in a position to network and raise friends, funds and visibility for the women of N Street Village. Each member commits to helping N Street Village leverage resources to further its mission. The Committee collaborates to create year round opportunities of engagement, ranging from hosting fundraising events to volunteering at N Street Village.

The Committee supports the women of N Street Village by raising awareness of N Street Village and its commitment to making a difference in the lives of low income and homeless women in Washington, D.C. Members are particularly focused on engaging professionals in the early stages of their career and working with them to establish philanthropic roots in the city.

If you would like to participate in a networking charity happy hour, help plan a fundraiser with live music, or help to volunteer at some of N Street Village’s annual events, please consider joining the Impact Committee. The next event planned will be an evening of live music, networking, and fun at our annual Night Sessions in the Fall–it is guaranteed to be an evening of rocking out!

If you are interested in joining the Impact Committee, please contact Ilana Cookler at icookler@nstreetvillage.org.

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May Volunteer Spotlight

Becky ParisThis month let’s get know N Street Village volunteer Becky Paris. Becky teaches yoga class every Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. in our multipurpose room. Becky has been volunteering with us since February 2014. In her teaching, Becky’s love for life and laughter shines through. Her animated, playful personality lights up her classes while encouraging kindness, compassion and honesty. Let’s get know Becky….

Becky first came to yoga thinking she was going to a Pilates class, but left knowing she was changed forever. She quickly fell in love with the movement, breath work, and more importantly, the lasting effects the practice has on her life off of the mat. Becky received her 200 hour teaching certification through the Mimi Rieger Yoga Teacher Training in January 2014. She now acts as an assistant in Mimi Rieger’s Teacher Training Program. Becky is also trained in Mindful Yoga Therapy and Kids Yoga, and will be assisting in and taking a Yin Yoga teacher training with Yael Flusberg at the beginning of 2016.

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area? I am from Augusta, GA and have been in DC for about 4.5 years.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? This is a really hard one to answer. I work at one of the finest dining establishments in the city, Birch and Barley, and love everything they do. I have also thoroughly enjoyed myself every time I have been lucky enough to dine at Rose’s Luxury.

Who is one of your favorite musicians? James Brown. No, the Beatles. Wait! Krishna Das! Oh this is an impossible question. It depends 100% on my mood. I love all kinds of music.

Where is the last place you traveled to? I last went to Sault St. Marie, Michigan, my mother’s hometown.

What is favorite yoga pose? This changes pretty frequently, but right now it is Tree Pose.  I love finding moments of stillness and balance.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories? There was some confusion about where class was to be held one Thursday morning. We started in our usual space, but about 10-15 minutes into class we were told we had to move to another space down the hall because our room was actually about to be used for meetings. So we all packed up our mats and belongings and moved across the hall to a much smaller room. At the end of class, one of the regular students pointed out how proud she was that everybody was so mentally flexible in that situation and moved without complaining and continued class. She pointed out that that is what yoga is really about—learning to respond to those sorts of situations with flexibility and understanding. I had never felt so humbled or honored by the wisdom of my students.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village? The women are so fierce. They are honest, kind, and have a great sense of community.

What has been one of your biggest surprises about N Street Village? I had no idea what to expect coming into this space. But I have always felt so supported and appreciated by the class participants and N Street Village staff. I am so humbled to be a part of this amazing organization!

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Impact Committee Spring Happy Hour


Join the N Street Village Impact Committee for their Spring Happy Hour at Vinoteca on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

Click here for more information or to reserve tickets!

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Antarctic Explorer Henry Worsley Lectures on the original Polar Giants to benefit N Street Village

Henry Worsley will give a lecture at Luther Place Memorial Church on May 11, 2015 to benefit N Street Village.

Henry Worsley is the only person to have ever retraced the two classic polar routes across the Antarctic to the South Pole in the footsteps of Captain Scott, Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton. His two expeditions in 2008 and 2011 crossed the vast expanse of the Ross Ice Shelf, negotiated the steep ascent of the Axel Heiberg and Beardmore glaciers and
then battled the high winds, sub zero temperatures and altitude of the polar plateau, before successfully reaching the South Pole. These expeditions each crossed 900 miles of the Antarctic continent, took over two months to complete and received no outside assistance.

Henry’s captivating lecture tells the stories of the original journeys through the diaries, film footage and vivid photographs of the original pioneering explorers placed alongside those of his two modern expeditions. He will juxtapose the ancient and modern expeditions with their methods of travel, food, equipment, risk, triumph, tragedy and leadership.

Henry is the author of ‘In Shackleton’s Footsteps’ – an account of his 2008

Henry Poster

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Volunteer Spotlight: Sharon Gund, Susan Weiss, and Nancy Hartsock

Ambassadors Council Co-Chairs

This month let’s get know N Street Village volunteers Sharon Gund, Susan Weiss, and Nancy Hartsock. Sharon, Susan, and Nancy are co-chairs of N Street Village’s Ambassadors Council. The Ambassadors Council is a team of dedicated individuals who share a deep commitment to the Village community and its vital mission to support women facing homelessness, poverty and related challenges. The Ambassadors Council hosts off site fundraisers and many volunteer events. Let’s get know Sharon, Susan, and Nancy…

Sharon Gund, Co-Chair: I met Susan Weiss at the inaugural Ambassadors Council reception in February 2014. I didn’t know many people there so I was happy when Susan introduced herself with a warm and welcoming smile. A few days after the reception, I received an invitation from Stuart Allen to meet for breakfast. That’s where I met Nancy Hartsock. Stuart asked if we would consider being co-chairs of the Ambassadors Council. I could tell that Susan had a lot of experience with N Street Village and both she and Nancy already knew some of the dedicated volunteers who were very involved with the community. We discussed potential structure, roles and tasks required to get the Council off the ground. Susan and Nancy had a sense of which roles they could play, but I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in and how I would add value. As it turned out, it wasn’t a problem—the three of us “clicked” and worked well together. It has been so rewarding to work with Susan and Nancy (and Stuart, other staff and AC members) and to be of service to the clients of N Street Village.

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area?

Sharon Gund:                    I am a native Washington, at least 3rd generation.

Susan Weiss:                      I was born in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Rochester, New York when I was in third grade.  I consider Rochester my home town. There, with my parents, two sisters and one brother we learned what winter and snow was all about!

Nancy Hartsock:               I am originally from Illinois, both Chicago and further south in the state.  I have lived in the DC area for 17 years.  I thought I wanted to end up in Chicago until I moved here; now I can’t imagine leaving DC.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant?

Sharon Gund:                    When I’m in the mood for a steak, it’s the Capital Grille.   Otherwise, I love Acadiana. Our Friday night “go to” close to home for a good meal with no hassles (like parking!) is Mama Lucia (in Silver Spring).

Susan Weiss:                      Martin’s in Georgetown remains my favorite restaurant. I lived right down the street from it when I moved to here and have liked it ever since.

Nancy Hartsock:               Rasika, if I must choose only one.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…

SG:                         Watching a movie.

SW:                        Enjoying Washington day and night life.  I love going to the theater, movies, sporting events, music, eating out, and taking advantage of all that Washington has to offer.

NH:                        You would usually find me eating a very nice dinner maybe followed by the theater (especially Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) or the opera.

What is the last movie you watched (and enjoyed)?

SG:                         Quite a few recently. Definitely Selma. I also enjoyed the Fault in our Stars and Unbroken.

SW:                        The movie I just saw and loved was The Imitation Game.

NH:                        The Imitation Game

What is your favorite D.C. landmark?

SG:                         The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It’s beautiful and peaceful and great if you like ice-skating in the winter. Another favorite is the Tidal Basin – beautiful in all seasons. The drive along Rock Creek Parkway in that area provides a lovely panorama of Washington’s beauty and majesty.

SW:                        Lincoln Memorial

NH:                        The National Gallery Sculpture Garden

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less.

SG:                         Caring, compassionate, and impactful (authentic)

SW:                        Love, courage, and hope

NH:                        Safety, nourishment, and hope

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village?

SG:                     Seeing and feeling the impact we make on the clients when we sponsor an event and spend time with them. I enjoy the camaraderie with members of the Ambassadors Council and the inspiration I get from Stuart, Schroeder and the N Village Street staff.

SW:                        The one thing that is constant is my love for the clients.  Their love, faith, and determination to better themselves is what moves me and encourages me to volunteer more.  It is the smiles of the women clients that warms the heart.

What makes N Street Village unique to you?

NH:                        It seems to me that N Street Village has proven effectiveness and has created support for programs on a scale that is pretty unusual.

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Remembering Pastor John

Pastor John in front of N Street Village's flagship building while it was being constructed (1996).

Pastor John in front of N Street Village’s flagship building while it was being constructed (1996).

Dear Village Friends,

As many of you know, Pastor John was the senior pastor of Luther Place Memorial Church from 1970-1997. Through his dedicated leadership and his unwavering commitment to the biblical concepts of hospitality and “welcome for the stranger,” and with the tireless support of his beloved wife Erna and the interfaith community that coalesced around him — N Street Village was born.

I got to know Pastor John and Erna well over my years at N Street Village. I know what a force of nature he was — and will continue to be. His passion for justice and his commitment to the poor and disadvantaged knew no boundaries and continued until his very last days. I had regular conversations with him over the past few months and he was true to form — funny, provocative, radical, spiritual, and loving. On the occasions when I heard him honored for his role in founding N Street Village, he would reply “I’m just an implementer — this was God’s plan.”

We invite you to join us Monday, March 9, 2015 at 11 a.m. as we celebrate Pastor John’s life. The service will be at Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Ave. NW) and there will be a reception following in N Street Village’s multipurpose room. All are welcome.

A life well done indeed. From now forward, may we be true to his spirit in the work we do with our hearts and our hands.

Schroeder Stribling
N Street Village Executive Director

Read more about the amazing life of Pastor John on his Wikipedia page.

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