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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Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Arku

Stephanie ArkuThis month get know N Street Village volunteer Stephanie Arku. Stephanie, a native Washingtonian, has been volunteering with the community since January 2013. Stephanie prepares and serves lunch on weekends in the Day Center. Let’s get to know Stephanie…

I always knew that I wanted to help others and what better way to do that than through volunteering. My biggest hurdle was finding a place to do it. I ended up talking to a friend about this and she recommended seeking out volunteer opportunities at N Street Village. She became familiar with the organization while interning there as a graduate student. Based on her experience, I knew that this would be a perfect fit for me. Currently, I work as a Program Analyst for the Federal Government in Washington, D.C. I joined the Federal Government because I wanted to make a positive difference not only in this country but globally. My hobbies include reading, listening to music, exploring different restaurants, attending live music events, indoor cycling, and traveling.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? There are several great restaurants in this area so it is hard for me to choose just one. However, I will say that the last great meal I had was at STK in Dupont Circle, and I also have a soft spot for Guapo’s Restaurant.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…venturing out to a new restaurant/lounge with friends or spending a quiet evening at home watching movies.

Who is one of your favorite musicians? The Dave Matthews Band

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? My top four are the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, and Rock Creek Park.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Empowering. Hospitable. Life-altering.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories? My favorite memory actually took place on my very first shift as a volunteer when I was serving lunch at the Day Center. I was a little nervous because I feared that I may drop a plate(s) considering I can be a klutz at times. Well one of the ladies sensed my nervousness and then smiled and said to me, “baby, don’t be nervous, you’re doing just fine.” Her words resonated with me and I continued my shift feeling confident and more at ease. I’ve always appreciated the woman’s kind words. That experience along with many others is the reason I continue to volunteer at N Street Village.

What makes N Street Village unique to you? The array of services focusing on the mind, body, and soul provided to homeless and low-income women in the area, ultimately, leading these women to have greater control and responsibility over their own lives.

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Save the Date: Annual N Street Village Gala

Gala STD


Every day, women who are homeless in Washington, D.C. — often struggling with a mix of mental illness, addiction, violence and abuse, health problems, and unemployment —  find themselves at the doors of N Street Village. And, every day for more than 40 years, the doors of N Street Village have been open, providing much-needed hope and hospitality to our city’s most vulnerable women.  This year we will present our Founder’s Award to Senator Barbara Boxer for her personal and professional efforts on behalf of individuals who live on the margins of society.

On Tuesday, March 24, the annual N Street Village Gala will provide us an opportunity to celebrate our remarkable history and to gather strength to keep our promise — our promise that we will be here for the women who arrive at our door tomorrow.


For questions about sponsorship please contact Stuart Allen (202-939-2085).

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Last Call for 2014!

Holiday Banners1 More than 1,000 women come through the N Street Village doors each year. Many first come to our Day Center seeking just a hot meal and shelter from the cold. They find that and more. Each woman is also welcomed into a warm and caring community of hope and healing.

Your year-end gift today helps N Street Village provide that hope.

At N Street Village we meet each woman where she is and work with her to improve her housing, income, employment and overall health and well-being. Whether it is coaching from one of our trained staff, a visit to the Village Wellness Center or a safe place to sleep in our Night Shelter or other housing programs, N Street Village is open every day of the year to help the most vulnerable women in our city.

N Street Village is here to provide the hospitality and compassion that we all deserve.

Support the women of N Street Village by making your tax-deductible donation by midnight today!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Madeline Nygaard

Madeline This month get to know N Street Village volunteer Madeline Nygaard. Madeline has been volunteering in the community since August 2014. As part of her class requirements at George Washington University, Madeline needed to complete 12 service hours per week at a non-profit, and thankfully she chose N Street Village. During her internship, she became an important part of volunteer and in-kind office and a wonderful addition to the community. We wouldn’t have been able to survive the holidays without her! Let’s get to know Madeline…

I am a senior at George Washington University, majoring in Public Health and minoring in Human Services. Next year, I plan to attend graduate school to earn my master’s degree in public health. I started volunteering at N Street Village for a service-learning class at George Washington University. At N Street Village, I helped sort and organize donations, entered data in the donor database system, and prepared and served breakfast and lunch. Additionally, I facilitated a weekly Mystery Solvers class where I would ask clients various brainteasers and they were encouraged to work together to find solutions to scenarios presented. In my spare time, I enjoy playing volleyball, reading, and exploring D.C.! 

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area?  I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have been living in D.C. for 3 years.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? Lupo Verde

On a Saturday evening you will find me…Trying a new restaurant or bar with friends.

What is the last movie you watched (and enjoyed)?  I’ve probably seen Love Actually 20 times…I still enjoy it though!

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? The Lincoln Memorial

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less.  Empowering, welcoming, strong.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village?  Getting to know the staff, volunteers, and clients. Everyone has been so welcoming and positive.

What makes N Street Village unique to you?  The variety of services and classes offered to the women.

What has been one of your biggest surprises about N Street Village? How people who have faced so many challenges can still have so much hope.

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A Home for the Holidays – Mary’s Story

Mary BatesNot long ago, Mary was living on the streets. She was helpless and scared with no place to turn.

Mary worked in security for many years — though she was not always sober. One day she got caught drinking on the job and was fired. Unable to stop drinking, Mary’s partner took care of her for the next 20 years — then, out of nowhere, he passed away and everything fell apart. Before she knew it, she was out on the street.

Mary was completely alone.

While living on the street, Mary heard about N Street Village. Like many women, Mary’s first Village experience was a warm breakfast in our Day Center. Through the support of staff, she secured a bed in N Street Village’s Night Shelter. This was the change she needed — a place to call home and a community that met her where she was and offered her support to make the changes she craved.

Mary’s hard work and determination is paying off. She now has several months of sobriety and is hopeful for the future.

Thanks to support from compassionate friends like you, N Street Village is here for Mary and hundreds of women seeking the strength of community, the hope of renewal, and the opportunity to achieve personal stability.

Make your year-end tax-deductible donation today and ensure that N Street Village is here for Mary and for each woman in need of a warm meal, a safe place, and a chance to make a better life.


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