A Word from the Executive Director
Welcome to the inaugural edition of our quarterly newsletter. This is one of many forward steps we’ve taken over the last few months to explain and enhance our mission, which is to pave a path to a positive future for individuals and families currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness. “Path to a positive future” isn’t just a catchy phrase that we threw into our mission statement. For the LCS team and our guests, it’s an orienting worldview. Every day we work diligently to expand our guests’ opportunities to find affordable housing, pursue meaningful employment opportunities, obtain physical and mental health care, and access addiction and alcoholism treatment options. Beyond these critical core services, we work to provide something even more valuable: hope. Without hope, none of our services matter. If a person has no hope that things can get better, it becomes difficult, impossible even, for her to find the grit and fortitude to push through difficult circumstances. But if a person has reasons, even a single reason, to hope and believe that things can get better, then he can get up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, and move forward down the path we help pave. We hope you enjoy this first edition of our newsletter. If you would like further information or a tour of our facilities, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, thank you for everything that you do to support our mission.
Treat YourSELF Charity Dinner
On May 4, after more than a month of energetic planning and hundreds of volunteer hours, Students Empowering Local Futures presented Treat YourSELF, a charity dinner and silent auction at Maceli’s Banquet Hall, organized entirely by an exceptional group of KU students led by their tireless Executive Director, Alex Kong. Initially, they hoped to sell 100 tickets and raise $3,000 for the shelter. In the end, they sold 137 tickets and raised $5,250! The event was a success in every way. We heard moving words from the students themselves as well as from LCS staff and former shelter guest Kayla Brown, who just moved into permanent housing with her two lovely children. And check out the wonderful video, “Shelter Stories,” which SELF produced and showed at the event! We can’t express our gratitude enough for their time, generosity, and commitment. It would be no overstatement to say that the young people of SELF are a blessing: in addition to having made this event possible, members hold after-school programs for children, assist in the med office, give health presentations, and offer financial literacy classes. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts and look forward to working with them for years to come.
Prairie Park Cleanup
Everyone at the LCS cares about our community here in Lawrence, and we know our community cares about us! We recently adopted Prairie Park as our own. A clean, safe, and beautiful park is good for everyone. So on Saturday, April 23, we hosted a cleanup, followed by food and fun at the LCS. The turnout exceeded our expectations, with 50 individuals, including families and members of four organizations, all lending a hand. And what a difference! In an effort to keep our neighborhood clean and to care for our newly adopted park, we will routinely be hosting park cleanups, so keep an eye out for emails announcing future gatherings!
New Jobs and Training Center
Renovations are now complete, and our new Jobs and Training Center is up and running! With 12 computers, the room is staffed by our Director of Employment, Drew vonEhrenkrook, who works with our guests to help them return to the workplace and/or obtain new qualifications. The jobs program not only assists guests in finding and holding permanent employment but teaches life skills needed to be successful at work, at home, and in the community. And the Center is also providing excellent educational opportunities for the children in our family program!
A Guest’s Perspective, by Jeff Fairbanks
I came to the shelter a month and a half ago. After separating from my ex-wife, I found myself in a tough position, unable to afford a place of my own and living in my car. I have a young son, Ronin John Artis. I work hard, at Raising Cain’s Chicken Fingers, and am currently looking for permanent housing. As you’d expect, living at the shelter comes with a lot of challenges. There are a lot of people here, and a lot of people have mental health disorders and have been through things you might not know about. But the staff here cares a lot. If you’re having a bad day, one will come up and talk to you. They have respect for you as a human being. I plan on being here another month. While working, I’m in the high school diploma completion program at Centennial HS. I then plan to get a CNA/CMA and eventually a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
A Volunteer’s Experience, by Bill Gollier
As a history teacher at the Bishop Seabury Academy, I am so pleased with the experiences our students have had, and continue to have, at the Lawrence Community Shelter. The relationships they have forged with the staff, guests, and one another are so very special. It was summer of 2007 when we began to serve dinners monthly, and by that fall we were helping with various projects as well. What the Seabury students have learned about themselves and about serving others at the Shelter is a gift that they will carry with them wherever life may take them. It is not something they can learn in the classroom or from a text book: it has taught them about humanity. Seabury is blessed to be able to volunteer at the Lawrence Community Shelter.
In the News
What We Do
Unique individuals served: 110 / night
Meals: 240 / day
Unique individuals served: 272
71 individuals, including 3 families, have found permanent housing this year
The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. This year thus far, 26 individuals and 16 families have completed applications for Section 8 Housing.
Employment and Education Report
68 individuals found employment this year
35 individuals currently at the shelter are employed
13 individuals are currently actively seeking employment
5 individuals are currently working towards a high school diploma and/or certification
Lawrence Unchained, May 21
5K Home Run 2016, May 30, Register Now!