December 2008 Archive of News and Musings
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Santa Visits BHA
We had a special visit this past Saturday from Santa, Mrs. Claus and some of his helpers as they brought gifts for the BHA families and goodie bags for the children. And all the kids at BHA got to sit on Santa's lap!
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/23/2008 1:16:07 PM | link)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A Special Word About The Future Of BHA
...Vanessa and her infant daughter Lizzy waited six months to get into our transitional housing program. Vanessa was persistent, "Something, I think it was God, told me I should keep calling BHA. I even came down and introduced myself in person so that you would know my face." Vanessa and Lizzy joined our program in November, but there are many more families who still need our help...
Iím writing this special year-end letter because BHA is at a vital crossroads: an intersection of our vision to serve more homeless families and the reality of the economic crisis facing our nation.
The need is great for the "hand up" that we provide at BHA: stable housing, educational and employment planning, and supportive case management to help families move toward self-sufficiency. But, during the six months that Vanessa waited to get into the program, we had to turn away 150 women and children.
Wanting to meet more of the needs, we put a plan in place earlier this year to expand our program from 9 to 12 families in January 2009.
But stock market instability and the banking crisis have hit hard in recent months. You may even be facing your own financial struggles as a result of the situation, and some people are understandably cautious about how they are using their resources.
With charitable giving on the decline, some people might question whether it is the right time to proceed with our plans for expansion. But we must. Through careful planning and preparation, we can serve 33% more families while only increasing our budget by 5%.
Given this significant return on a minimal investment, the planned expansion is both good stewardship and good business.
More importantly, as affordable rental units are taken by people who have lost their homes, and jobs are harder to come by for everyone, we are receiving more calls from families that need us.
So, beginning in January, we will proceed with our expansion not in spite of, but because of the economy.
Regardless of how the economy has affected you, your family or your business, you can help...
...continue reading "A Special Word About The Future Of BHA"...
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/23/2008 12:57:25 PM | link)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Christmas is in full swing at BHA...here are some highlights...
Christmas Popcorn For Supporters:
Steffanie makes popcorn as a thank you gift for supporters
After coating the popcorn with white chocolate, Senayet and Jennifer package it up in a gift box the women made a few weeks prior with staff and Bagwashi volunteers
A Very Bagwashi Christmas:
Bagwashi volunteers gathered with staff and participants for a Christmas Party
The group took part in a white elephant gift exchange as part of the Bagwashi Christmas Party
Staff Christmas Party:
The Staff also had their own Christmas Party. Sitting (from left): Dennis and Steve. Standing: Jennifer, Chris, Lisa and Heather.
After decorating the tree, the staff went caroling to participant's apartments and our favorite corner store, Munchies Market.
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/23/2008 12:05:33 PM | link)
Monday, December 22, 2008
We recently celebrated the graduation of Megan Brunner from our transitional housing program. Megan has done incredible things while here: surviving cancer, getting her associate's degree, and obtaining full-time employment with Capital Area Head Start. She's had a positive attitude and been a pleasure to work with.
But alas, her time with us drew to a close earlier this month when she moved into a house she is renting in midtown Harrisburg. In November, we threw her a graduation party to celebrate Megan and her accomplishments, share words of affirmation, and wish her well. God bless you Megan...and remember, your friends at BHA are just a phone call or e-mail away.
Megan, who loves Amish culture, had a
special guest at her graduation party,
Megan gets hugs and gifts from the BHA staff.
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/22/2008 7:39:17 AM | link)
Monday, December 08, 2008
by Heather Kelly, Director of Development
Running has been a big part of Elizabeth Perezís life. When she was a young teenager, Lizís mother ran out on her for a man who lived in another state. After being abandoned, Liz began running herself. She ran from city to city looking for a place to call home, and she ran with the wrong crowd. Ultimately, Liz was running from the law.
Tired of all the running, Liz turned herself in to the police on June 6, 2007. Without money for bail, Liz spent several months in jail where she had a lot of time to think about her priorities. After getting out of jail and becoming pregnant, Liz knew that she
did not want her baby to have a life on the run. So, Liz called BHA.
Six months after Lizís daughter NiaMya was born, we finally had an apartment available. Liz was excited to have a place that she and NiaMya could call home while she worked on furthering her education and getting stable employment. Liz and NiaMya moved into their new apartment on June 6, 2008, exactly one year to the day after she finally stopped running and turned herself in.
Liz has worked hard since coming to BHA. She has earned her commercial driverís license, become employed, and bought a car. Most importantly, she is providing a loving and stable home for NiaMya and watching her little girl grow.
Although Liz has accomplished many goals already, she continues to work hard in the program. She wants to get a local truck driving job so that she can be around for NiaMya, re-establish a relationship with her two older children who are living with relatives, and work toward her ultimate goal of owning a home.
Lizís hard work, determination, and sense of humor have been an incredible blessing to us at BHA. We are so glad that all that running led Liz to BHA!
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/8/2008 9:16:50 AM | link)
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