One Night Count Reveals 3,772 Homeless, Outside in King County

23 Feb

By Marcy Comer

3,772 people were homeless and outside in King County on Jan. 23, according to results from the latest One Night Count – an annual survey organized by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.  This number is an increase of 21% over those found without shelter last year. This number always is assumed to be an undercount – because officials do not count everywhere, and because many people take great care not to be visible. The reasons people are without shelter varies. Lack of affordable housing, poverty, unemployment, untreated mental illness or addiction, and domestic violence all contribute to homelessness.

“This year’s Count is heart-breaking evidence that we cannot cover our community’s most basic needs. Clearly, the crisis of people homeless and without shelter is growing, and clearly we must respond by using every resource we have. Everyone needs a safe place to rest,” said Alison Eisinger, Executive Director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

The One Night Count has two parts:
1. A survey of emergency shelter and transitional housing providers about who is staying in their programs or facilities on that night. Staff from the King County Community Services Division, Homeless Housing Program coordinate the survey.
2. A street count of people who are homeless, without shelter and staying outside, in vehicles or in makeshift shelters. The Coalition has expanded the count from its downtown Seattle origins to include parts of over a dozen suburban cities and unincorporated King County and on Metro Night Owl buses.

How does the Count work?
Over 1,100 volunteers go out with 125+ trained team leaders to pre-arranged areas in parts of Seattle, East King County, North King County, Southwest King County, and South King County. The Count is only possible through the dedicated support from hundreds of individuals and dozens of community organizations, congregations and government agencies.
Since 2006, partial funding for the One Night Count has been provided by the King County Committee to End Homelessness, the coalition of government, business and nonprofits responsible for implementing our community’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. The Count helps to inform progress on the Plan, as well as provide insight into the dynamics of homelessness and inform strategies for solving it.

Why perform the Count?
The One Night Count is carried out for two reasons: to document the nature and extent of homelessness in King County, and to build public engagement and action around the issue. It is a solemn and eye-opening opportunity to witness the survival struggles of our neighbors who are homeless. Hundreds of community members come together for this annual count, which acts as a powerful launching off point for participants to speak up and act and write and advocate to end this crisis.

Why does this matter to the Junior League of Seattle?
JLS is committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Knowledge of our community’s homeless statistics is fundamental to affecting positive change to overall family stability in our community. To learn more about legislative solutions to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time, visit Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA)’s 2015 State Legislative Agenda and The Mockingbird Society’s 2015 State Legislative Agenda.

Homless Summary Graphic

Ten with a Provisional Member

17 Feb

The Junior League of Seattle is an organization of nearly 1,300 women who are committed to promoting voluntarism and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Membership in the Junior League of Seattle is divided into 3 levels of membership status: Provisional, Active and Sustainer. Provisional status is reserved for members in their first year of membership, which is dedicated to training. Provisional status is followed by Active membership, then Sustainer status.

One of our current Provisional members, Taylor Coughlen, graciously volunteered her time to answer a few questions about why she joined the Junior League and what the Junior League means to her:

What provisional group are you in?

I am in the Panteleoni Provisional group! Most of our group lives in West Seattle: I am one of the outliers residing near Columbia City.

What is your provisional project?

I chose to go with Northwest Art. I have always been interested in learning about art and the motivations behind certain pieces.  I was lucky enough to take art classes all through elementary and junior high school and then to go on to Studio Art in high school. My art teachers were the most inspiring teachers I had growing up, and I can’t imagine missing out on that kind of instruction like some of the kids in this city do. I am excited to get started on the project this spring!

What prompted you to join the Junior League this year?  

I had looked in to different volunteer opportunities when I first moved to the area, but it seemed difficult to get an “in” just as an individual. When I looked into Junior League in Seattle it seemed like the organization provided a lot of structure and contacts within the community that would allow me to volunteer in a variety of roles. Also, as a recent college graduate and transplant from Texas, I missed the group of female friends I met as a member of a service sorority. I wanted to find a group of like-minded women in my new home, and the League seemed like a good place to start.

How did you first hear about the Junior League?

I first heard about Junior League growing up from my grandma when she used a life-changing sourdough bread recipe from the chapter cookbook in Wichita Falls, TX. I looked in to actually joining last year when one of my sorority sisters joined the League in Houston and raved about how much fun she was having.

What are you most excited about for the 2014-2015 year?

Becoming an active!

What most interests you about the Junior League?

I love that the Junior League has such a strong and important history nationally and in Seattle, especially in regards to service to women and children. It feels very cool to be a part of such a network of impressive women and to have the opportunity to continue service to this community that has been happening for over 90 years.

How long have you lived in Seattle?

I have been up here for a year and a half.

What is your favorite Seattle restaurant?

That’s a hard question in a city like Seattle. I love Intermezzo Carmine in Pioneer Square for a fancy date night with nice cocktails, but if I’m really hungry I go for the movie-themed sandwiches and the drink specials at HoneyHole in Capitol Hill.

What is your favorite touristy thing to do in Seattle?

I love going to the market, but especially so when the weather is really bad so that there isn’t such a crowd. I am always up for a Piroshky and tea samples from Market Spice!

What has surprised you the most about the Junior League?

It was surprising that there are so many women who are new to Seattle like I am. I expected JL to be full of native Seattleites.

 

Membership in the Junior League of Seattle is open to women ages 18 and older who express an interest in voluntarism. If you are interested in becoming a member, join us for a Meet & Greet this spring. Send an email to newmemberinfo@jrleagueseattle.org to find out the orientation schedule.

The Spirit of Giving

22 Dec

By Katharine Dunn Evans

G1The holiday season is quite possibly the most magical time of the year. Holiday parties, beautiful light displays, cozy evenings by the fire with family and friends and shopping for the perfect gift for everyone on your list. With all that, it is easy to get wrapped up in the excess of the holidays and forget what makes the season so special. It is a time to GIVE, and get joy from your generosity. It is a time to remember the people who are not as fortunate as you. And most importantly, it is a time to be with people, whether they are friends or family, and enjoy the moment.  G2

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back, be with the people you care about and help those who are less fortunate. The Junior League of Seattle is a group of like-minded women who enjoy getting together to volunteer their time; this season in particular is a time for the ladies of the League to shine.

G3The holiday season should be a fun, festive and warm time. Sadly, there are many children in our area that don’t get the opportunity to create happy memories during the holidays. Circumstances could vary; perhaps they or a family member are sick, or their family can’t afford to buy gifts, or even worse they have no family at all. Earlier this month a group of Junior League of Seattle members got together to set up and work at the Harborview Holiday Party for Kids. The Healthy Futures Art Project committee organized a snowman snow-globe craft project that the attendees were able to create and customize. A little over 400 children from the area showed up and participated in the holiday fun! The kids loved the interactive art project and the ladies of the League had a blast helping and watching all the smiles and hearing the laughter.

G4

G6Another aspect of the holidays that we all love is the food. Even if we go overboard, food is something that brings us together and puts a smile on our faces. Not having enough to eat is a very big problem for a lot of families in our area. The Junior League regularly helps out at Food Lifeline, an organization that provides 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs with food that might otherwise go to waste. It is a fun way to get a group of people together to do something that really helps. Much of the work that gets done at Food Lifeline is through volunteer hours! A shift could be filled with sorting donations, uncrating and then re-packaging produce, cleaning, weighing, etc. This past week, a group of Junior League members got together to do just that, and had a blast doing it. G5

Volunteering doesn’t need to happen just during the holiday season; but doing it with a group of friends right now is such a great way to bring things in perspective when it’s so easy to lose sight of what is important. Not to mention, there is such a huge need. So gather up some pals and go help out an organization that is important to you. Helping those in need this year will only make your holidays all that more special.

G7

Hula Hooping Through an ENERGY Field Day

6 Dec

By Sara Muckler

Last month, I had the privilege of participating in Field Day with the Junior League of Seattle ENERGY Committee at the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club. The goal of ENERGY committee is to educate and help children (and their parents) to improve ENERGY 1their health and wellness. The children’s smiles and laughter at this event were certainly the highlight. They are a reminder that the long days at work or challenges we all face can melt with the smiling face of a child.

The event was truly an enjoyment. After speeding off from work, I walked into a packed gymnasium with lots of eager energy and fitness stations. We had over 36 Junior League members and 4 community volunteers. Numerous stations were set up including jump rope, corn hole, 4square, relays, hula hoops, power challenge, soccer, basketball, and decorating superhero masks. I was on hula hoops and despite the skills I may have had as a child, my hula hoop skills have gone downhill. The kids, however, were so creative in their approach and it was fun to give them the option of coming up with ideas as they taught me a few things!

Moving here from Florida, I am always looking to new activities for my kids to burn off inside during those rainy cold days. Field Day certainly gave me some great ideas for my own kids so I hope we were able to achieve the same goal for the kids at the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club. The staff at the club was amazing and you could see the warmth they have for the ENERGY 2kids that attend their program. It was truly heartwarming.

During my first year at Junior League I was part of the Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen committee and learned quite a bit about food in the US and children’s access to healthy food. According to CDC studies, it’s suggested that some areas and households have easier access to fast food restaurants and convenience stores but limited access to supermarkets. Limited access to nutritious food and relatively easier access to less nutritious food may be linked to poor diets and, ultimately, to obesity and diet-related diseases. So it was fantastic to have the Kids in the Kitchen committee in attendance at Field day to give pointers and reminders about the amount of sugar in popular drinks.

It is such a great experience to be part of the Junior League and its days like Field Day that take you to a place of wanting to give and help as many children as you can. And so after a wonderful time of being with the children, I rushed out to pick up my two kids and taught them a few new hula hoop tricks of my own.

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

26 Nov

By Katharine Dunn Evans

In a few days, the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving. For some, it’s a day that is all about football, holiday shopping deals, food, food, food and … family, too. It is easy to get caught up in the many details of hosting Thanksgiving. You stress about when to defrost the turkey, the best pie crust recipes, who is sitting where at the table, and what your floral arrangements are going to be. In the midst of all that stress and/or excitement many of us forget why we do all of it.

Thanksgiving. The word itself should remind us what it means. Let’s give thanks. Let’s take a look at all the many blessings that we have even when things are hard. When you sit down to eat your Thanksgiving dinner this year, whether it is with family or friends, take a minute to think about what you have at that very moment, and be thankful for your family, support, stability and yes, food.

It is shocking how many families in our area simply do not have enough food to eat. Interestingly enough, 40% of good food goes to waste while 1 in 5 children in Washington state live in households that struggle to put food on the table. What’s worse is that a startling 1 in 6 people in our state seek the assistance of Food Stamps (a program that has suffered recent budget cuts).

Food Lifeline is an organization that creates creative ways to fight the hunger problem by “redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores and restaurants that might otherwise go to waste.” They provide 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs.

The Junior League of Seattle is passionate about helping children in our area live happy, healthy lives, so it makes perfect sense that we work with Food Lifeline. It is fun and easy to help out in the cause to end hunger in Washington, and the ladies of the Junior League love to do it as part of the 9,000 people a year that give their time. One of Food Lifeline’s biggest needs is help with sorting the food before it gets distributed. If you are interested in helping visit https://foodlifeline.org/how-to-help or if you are a Junior League of Seattle member, check out the calendar for Food Lifeline service shift opportunities.

foodlifeline

So enjoy every morsel of delicious food and every moment you get to spend with the ones you love this Thanksgiving. Be present and aware of how lucky you are to have comfort, stability and love. Give thanks for what you have. Gobble, gobble!

Food Lifeline Video: http://youtu.be/4-G10aqGjck

Giving Tuesday December 2nd 2014

26 Nov

By Katharine Dunn Evans

givingtuesday

Black Friday, Cyber Monday … Giving Tuesday! Haven’t heard of it? I must admit, I hadn’t either. But now I have. We are inundated with holiday shopping deals during this time of year. Stores are opening their doors earlier to accommodate the crowds of shoppers. People are leaving their Thanksgiving celebrations to get in line for the best deals on electronics, cars, clothing … you name it.

I love to volunteer my time to organizations that mean something to me. I love it because my time gives back but also because I get something out of it. But sometimes, your schedule is so full that even if you want to give time, you can’t. Now, you can still give back! GivingTuesday.org says: “we have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.”

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 is an international day for charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students to join in celebrating generosity and giving back. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a financial contribution. You can give love, give encouragement at work, give a smile and a hello to a stranger on the street …

This is a great opportunity to think about what issues in your community or in the world are important to you. Can you give money to their cause? Can you share information about the cause with people you know? What is important to you?

It is okay if you haven’t thought much about it. You are not alone. And if you’d like to start learning about causes that might end up interesting you, we are happy to help! In addition to the Junior League of Seattle, here is a list of some great local organizations that are dear to our hearts and can always use help :

  • Junior League of Seattle: “An organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” www.jrleagueseattle.org
  • Mary’s Place: Empowering homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community.” www.marysplaceseattle.org
  • YWCA: “YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” www.ywca.org
  • Boys & Girls Club: “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” www.bgca.org
  • Food Lifeline: “Working with the food industry and its surpluses, we come up with creative solutions to stopping hunger, including redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores and restaurants that might otherwise go to waste.” www.foodlifeline.org
  • Treehouse: “We envision – and strive to create – a world where every child that has experienced a crisis of parenting has the opportunities and supports they need to pursue their dreams and become productive members of our community.” www.treehouseforkids.org
  • BikeWorks: Bike Works builds sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. Since 1996 we’ve worked to educate and empower youth, and make bicycling accessible and affordable to the Seattle community.” www.bikeworks.org

In the Spotlight: Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestra

7 Nov

symphony

By Katharine Dunn Evans

There is no denying that it is harder to be a kid today than it was just 10 years ago. With funding being pulled for music and art programs in public schools, classes bigger than ever, bullying in social media, and violence on campus, it is a wonder that children are able to build some semblance of self-confidence and an interest in anything at all. Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom. People all around the nation see that there is a problem and have been working to create programs for kids in order to foster passion for the arts, music, education and sports.

A perfect example of this is with the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestra. This fantastic organization creates a stimulating and age appropriate environment for musically talented children to build on their interest and develop their skills as musicians and performers. The participating children go through a year-long program that focuses on challenging and developing their potential in the art of performance. The goal is to “nurture their enjoyment of music as well as develop their musical skills and self-confidence.”

This group of kids works hard throughout the year with rehearsals, home practice, coaching sessions, retreats and concerts. Let’s put some emphasis on that last part: CONCERTS! These little artists love to perform and have actually played at several of the Junior League of Seattle events over the years. They generously donated their services and performed at our 90th anniversary celebration earlier this year and at several of our annual Premier Event galas. If you can get a chance to see them, you should take it.

There happens to be a very special performance coming up at Benaroya Hall that is one not to miss. They are playing excerpts from the Nutcracker along with the Olympic Ballet Theater. I cannot think of anything more precious and impressive. The details are below. This is the perfect way to start off the holiday season with your family and also support an amazing organization that is encouraging kids to build interests and grow to be true artists.

Excerpts from the Nutcracker with the Olympic Ballet Theatre
Concerto winner – Laura Sorensen, violin
November 15, 2014 2:00 p.m.
Benaroya Hall
Purchase tickets online through
www.Benaroyahall.org (browse calendar) or call 206.215.4747

November 13th is Ladies Night!

5 Nov

Believe it or not we are less than two weeks away from the 2014 JLS Bachelor Auction!  Come help support the Junior League’s commitment to its mission — including community initiatives and volunteer training efforts — at one of the most popular fundraising events on the JLS calendar. Whether you are looking for a bachelor yourself or helping a friend find her soul mate, there is nothing to lose at this event. Not only will lucky winners walk away with a great man, but these guys also come with date packages.

Details:

Who: You! And all of your friends (League members or not), mothers, grandmothers, single friends and taken friends, brothers, cousins, you get the point.  Anyone 21+ looking for a fun way to spend a Thursday night and support the JLS.

What: The 4th Annual JLS Bachelor Auction

Where: 415 Westlake – 415 Westlake Avenue N., in South Lake Union

When: Thursday November 13th – Doors open at 6:00pm for VIP, 6:30pm for general admission

Why: Cute single guys? Date packages? Drinks? One of Seattle’s most popular emcees? Check, check, check and check! The real question is, why not?

Tickets: Available here.

  • $55 VIP – Includes complimentary beverage, hors d’oeuvres, early admission at 6:00pm, front row seating and more surprises to come!
  • $40 General Admission – Includes complimentary beverage, hors d’oeuvres, and a ticket to the best bachelor auction in Seattle!

Below is a sneak peak at just some of the bachelors that will be up for bid.  Follow our event on Facebook for the complete view of our bachelors, info on date packages and more about the event.

Mike, 31 – Originally from southern California, this bachelor comes with an MBA, a penchant for running and a killer smile.B1

John, 32 – No adjustments are needed to this chiropractor bachelor!  He’s a former collegiate athlete, a true to the blue Mariner fan and is close with his family.B2

Duncan, 25 – Bazinga!  This math and physics whiz works in investment banking, plays beach volleyball when the weather allows and loves dogs.B3

Marc, 45 – Relatively new to Seattle, this 6′ 5″ bachelor works in sales, is a Boston College alum and enjoys jazz.B4

Make Your Voice Heard November 4th

28 Oct

On November 4, 2014, the City of Seattle will vote on Proposition 1A and 1B. Voters are asked to decide, 1. Should either of these measures be enacted into law and 2. Regardless of whether you voted yes or no above, if one of these measures is enacted, which one should it be?

Both 1A and 1B concern early learning programs and providers of such services for children. Prop 1A would establish a $15 minimum wage for childcare workers (phased in over three years for employers with under 250 employees); seek to reduce childcare costs to 10% or less of family income; prohibit violent felons from providing professional childcare; require enhanced training and certification through a training institute; create a workforce board and establish a fund to help providers meet standards; and hire an organization to facilitate communication between the City and childcare workers.

As an alternative, the Seattle City Council and Mayor have proposed Proposition 1B (Ordinance124509), which would fund the four year initial phase of a City early learning program with the goal of developing a widely-available, affordable, licensed, and voluntary preschool option. The Ordinance requires support, training and certification for teachers. The program uses research-based strategies, includes evaluation of results, and provides tuition support. This proposition authorizes regular property taxes above RCW 84.55 limits, allowing additional 2015 collection of up to $14,566,630 (approximately 11¢ per $1,000 assessed value), totaling $58,266,518 over four years.

As an organization committed to empowering women and children and ensuring our children are healthy 21st century learners, the JLS encourages you to research this issue for yourselves and make your voice heard at the polls. Review your voters’ guide, League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County, Seattle Times and others for more information and then have your ballots postmarked no later than November 4th to ensure your vote counts.

Creating Impact through Affordable Housing

22 Oct

By: Jobie Colton-Gores

JLS Build GroupOn September 20, 2014, the Junior League of Seattle partnered with Habitat for Humanity to work on the Habitat for Humanity La Fortuna site in the Renton Benson Heights neighborhood. The property of the build site was once vacant land within an area of residential homes built from approximately 1960 to 1970. Once complete, it will provide 41 low-income families with both an affordable home and an affordable mortgage in a new housing development in Renton.

JLS Habitat 3

Environmental stewardship and long-term affordability will be ensured by constructing townhomes to achieve or surpass Energy Star and Master Builders “Built Green” 4-Star sustainable building standards. Currently 12 families have already moved into their new homes at La Fortuna.

To help with this build, Junior League provided 49 volunteers consisting of Provisionals, Actives, and Sustainers for a total of 294 hours of service. Two of the leaders for the day were workers from Americorps, an organization which provides Habitat for Humanity new workers every year. Alongside the JLS volunteers were other volunteers who come on a weekly basis, and even some of the future homeowners themselves who were eager to see the progress on their new homes.

JLS Build 1The projects for the day included completing finishing touches on one of the homes, cutting and placing flooring on a stairway, moving rocks to line the drainage system for an unbuilt home, and maintenance of a wetland area to help with the efforts of the Green Build. JLS was blessed to have beautiful weather for this hard and physically exhausting day. Fortunately, the weather and reminder of the important work being accomplished brought a smile to everyone’s face as they worked.

Lunch arrived as some League members were ending their shift and others were just getting started with renewed energy. This was truly an amazing opportunity to sit down and talk with some of the future home owners, Americorps workers, and Habitat for Humanity employees and volunteers.

JLS Build 2Overall, it was a very successful day! JLS is excited to continue to partner with Habitat for Humanity in the future.  Together, Junior League of Seattle and Habitat for Humanity can create powerful change in our community.

 

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