From the Executive Director: A “Close-Up” Perspective

Schroeder 2 - CopyDear Village Friends:

You may have seen the article in The Washington Post this week by Petula Dvorak.

I am sure that you have been hearing the many media reports about the situation at DC General. The problem is a very real and pressing one—and yet, the story told publicly often misses much of the overall complexity of the issue. I have been involved in DC’s policy and planning work as a local leader/advocate and also as a member of the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness and have had a “close-up” perspective.

From that perspective, I would like to emphasize the following:

  • For 2 years now, we have seen a dramatic spike in family homelessness in DC (in most cases, “families” are “women with children”); many more families than anticipated came to request shelter in the winter months. Acting on an emergency basis to this crisis, the District housed hundreds of people at DC General and also put families in hotels—an unideal, inefficient solution and one to which there seemed no alternatives given the few resources in the hands of those charged with addressing it
  • Over the past 5 years we HAVE made some progress in addressing individual (often ‘chronic’) homelessness in DC—and programs such as N Street Village’s Erna’s House are examples of what we have accomplished in working together between government funders, private developers, and service providers
  • A situation like DC General however won’t be fixed by simply addressing that crisis, but rather by understanding and beginning to remediate the underlying problems which are causing the crisis…such as:
    –A shrinking and dramatically inadequate amount of affordable (and decent) housing in DC
    –Vast and unyielding socio-economic disparities in education, health, and access to vocational opportunities

We have a lot of work to do in all of these areas and it will take every community, every board/group/mission/organization, AND our government partners to make progress and to address deeply entrenched poverty and its related problems, such as those exemplified by DC General. I always encourage us to remember and share the idea that “we are more alike than we are different.” A few small turns of fate of circumstance could render us in one another’s position—and whether we are motivated by our faith or a sense of justice or compassion—we should fulfill a social compact that ensures equity, dignity and opportunity for everyone.

With thanks to Petula and The Washington Post for printing this article, we DO hold N Street Village as an example of what can be possible. AND it is the dedication and generosity of all of you—our Board, our volunteers, our neighborhood, our contributors and others—who have created this community of compassion and potential.

May we all stay ‘on fire’ for the mission of N Street Village and for the larger objectives of social equity and opportunity that we represent.

With gratitude for all of you, who are so committed and engaged.

Schroeder Stribling
N Street Village
Executive Director

P.S. We did not know that Petula was going to write about N Street Village in her article, it was a nice Tuesday morning surprise.

More reading on the topic:

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Whole Foods Market P Street 5% Day to Benefit N Street Village

Whole Foods 5% DayGrab your shopping bags and join us at Whole Foods Market P Street on Wednesday, July 16, when 5% of the sales will support N Street Village’s programs and services.

Your shopping will support the healthy meal service N Street Village provides to nearly 1,400 low-income and homeless women each year. The meals served are designed specifically for women living with diabetes and other factors that may increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Ann, a resident of N Street Village, shared why access to healthy, affordable meals is important to her:

“Having access to healthy food on a limited budget is important to me because I will be able to live a longer life without obesity, which gives me the emotional and physical strength I need to be an active participant in my own life.”

N Street Village is proud of its ongoing partnership with Whole Foods Market P Street, from its weekly donations of fresh food to its staff who volunteer regularly in our community.

We are honored to be selected as the 5% Day recipient and hope you will join us in saying thank you to Whole Foods Market P Street for being such an active member of the community.

Don’t forget to shop with us on Wednesday, July 16!

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You Will Remember Who I Am

HOW I GOT OVER BANNER for email sent 6-24-2014This weekend HOW I GOT OVER premiered at the AFI DOCS Documentary Festival to sold-out audiences on Saturday and Sunday. The film took a deep look at the power of the arts—while also exploring the root causes of homelessness and the truths of poverty in America—asking one profound question over and over: “Can art save your life?”

HOW I GOT OVER, by Nicole Boxer (producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War), chronicles the journey of 15 formerly homeless women, living in N Street Village’s Recovery Housing program, as they participate in The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program. In the end of HOW I GOT OVER, the women take to the Kennedy Center stage, where they step into the spotlight to share their harrowing true-life stories in a sold out, one-night-only performance, which took place in April 2012.

Throughout the powerful documentary, the actors from N Street Village share their experiences of trauma, addiction, recovery, perseverance, and triumph. They find hope, and we as viewers come to know who they are as individuals in our community.

While you cannot see the documentary in your local movie theater, yet, you can read a great article featured on the cover of The Washington Post’s Metro section this past weekend.

Thank you for all that YOU do to make these amazing Village moments possible!

Learn More:

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Yesenia Nunez-Santos

Yesenia2This month, get to know N Street Village volunteer, Yesenia Nunez-Santos. Yesenia became a volunteer in October 2013. Since her arrival, Yesenia has been serving breakfast and lunch in the day center and volunteers with our Job Keepers Club and community dinners. She has a passion for salsa dancing, running, and travel. Let’s get know Yesenia…

I am 33 years old and live in Woodbridge VA. I grew up in a low-income family among very strong women who believed that everything was possible with hard work and sacrifice. I believe in women’s “super powers” and the balance women bring into our society. I discovered N street Village and felt inspired by its vision and wonderful programs; joined the volunteering community in Oct 2013. Presently, I work at Exelis Inc. as a Program Manager. I have a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering from George Washington University (2011), and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Campus (2002).

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area? Born and raised in Puerto Rico. I have been in the DC area since June 2005.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? Charlie Palmers.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…Extracurricular event with friends, or preparing for a running race the next morning.

Who is one of your favorite musicians? Marc Anthony.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? I have three, FDR Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Georgetown.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Will, Hope, Family.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village? The positive vibes when you enter the door and the energy from the staff and clients.

What makes N Street Village unique to you? It’s vision to help but also empower women.

 

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Photo of the Week

Huge thanks to Discovery for sending nearly 50 volunteers to help our community with...a little bit of everything! Weeding, cleaning, organizing, cooking--you name it--they are doing it. So grateful to spend this beautiful Friday with them and so very appreciative of their enthusiasm and support.

Huge thanks to Discovery Channel for sending nearly 50 volunteers to help our community with…a little bit of everything! Weeding, cleaning, organizing, cooking–you name it–they did it. So grateful to spend this beautiful Friday with them and so very appreciative of their enthusiasm and support.

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Marshalle Cannot Wait to Tell You…

Marshalle BannerDuring this graduation season, we are writing to share wonderful news: Marshalle just graduated!

Marshalle was only 29 when she first came to the N Street Village. She never completed high school because taking care of her ailing parents became a demanding, full-time job. When Marshalle was 19, her mother died. Over the next three years Marshalle’s grandmother, father, sister and son also passed away. She was devastated.

Left with all of her family possessions, Marshalle lacked the skills to take care of those things. She lost everything. Marshalle wanted to disappear. Drugs were an easy escape, first marijuana and then crack. Over the next nine years, Marshalle was in and out of jail for possession and prostitution. Marshalle wanted to change.

While in jail, Marshalle learned about N Street Village and once released, moved into the Village’s Recovery Housing program, a community where women live together and work on stabilizing their mental health and overcoming addiction. She learned how to open up about the pain and loss that she had been covering up for so many years.

“Before coming to N Street Village I was lost. I made drugs my best friend. N Street Village gave me time to heal. They let me cry. Every day has gotten easier and easier.”

Today, Marshalle is a changed woman. She started studying for her GED and just weeks ago she joined her classmates at the D.C. Armory for the official graduation ceremony. With friends and loved ones in the audience, Marshalle walked across the stage to accept her GED. Marshalle has dreams of becoming a nurse and she has already completed her first semester at the University of D.C. and is enrolled to take classes this summer.

Thanks to your support, Marshalle has gone from a high school dropout living in jail to a college student, celebrating two years of sobriety.

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Trailer for Documentary Featuring N Street Village

“Can art save lives?”

That is question that lies at the center of the film How I Got Over by Nicole Boxer (producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War).

The documentary chronicles the journey of 15 formerly homeless women, living in N Street Village’s Recovery Housing program, as they turned their collective life experiences into an original play. The  film will premiere at AFI DOCS Documentary Festival on June 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C. The emotional trailer was just released this week. Our community loved it so much–we just had to share it with you. Enjoy!

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