Category: Advocacy

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

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

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Make Your Voice Heard November 4th

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.

10 Ways You Can Fight Human Trafficking Today

by Carlee Nesse

The Junior League of Seattle is committed to supporting our community partner Seattle Against Slavery (SAS) in fighting human trafficking. Seattle is a port city and port cities are especially attractive to human trafficking organizations.

Human trafficking happens on a scale that can be overwhelming but there are simple, effective, ways to start making a difference.

I Want To Get Educated

  1. Take the Human Trafficking Awareness Training course offered by the Department of Homeland Security.

  2. Set up a Google Alert for “Seattle human trafficking” to receive breaking local news.

  3. Follow SAS on Facebook and Twitter for alerts and updates.

  4. Read and share SAS’s community resources to raise awareness.

I Can Commit 1 Hour

  1. SAS can help you search for local grassroots coalitions to support.

  2. Write letters to your local, state, and federal government representatives and let them know that you care about combating human trafficking in your community, and ask what they are doing to address human trafficking in your area. The SAS Advocacy Guide can help.

  3. Be a conscientious consumer and discover your Slavery Footprint; check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.

I Can Commit 1 Day

  1. Host or attend an awareness event with friends and watch a video covering Human Trafficking.

  2. Read a book about human trafficking such as those on SAS’s suggested reading list.

I Want To Make a Long-Term Commitment

  1. Make a commitment to Seattle Against Slavery to stop Human Trafficking.

Have a tip?

Here’s how to report it and make sure it gets to the right organization:

  • Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 (24/7) to get help for victims and coordinate with local agencies and enforcement.

  • Call the Department of Homeland Security directly at 1-866-347-2423 (24/7) to report suspicious activity. Tips may also be submitted online at www.ice.gov/tips.

  • Victims, including undocumented individuals, can also contact the U.S. Department of Justice directly at 1-888-428-7581 from 9:00am to 5:00pm (EST) to receive services and immigration assistance.

From Place to Place

by Shanna Lisberg

The Advocacy Committee hosted a screening of the documentary “From Place to Place” followed by a panel discussion on March 18th. Every year, 30,000 youths age out of foster care, having spent an average of 5 years in the system. “From Place to Place” follows 3 of these teens – Micah, Mandy, and Raif – who have recently aged out of foster care and who are forced to face life with little support. Eventually, Mandy and Raif set out to change the system that raised them and travel to Washington D.C. to tell their stories on Capitol Hill and try to better the system for the generations to come.

“From Place to Place” was an incredibly moving film that highlights the struggles faced by foster youth in general, as well as when they age out of the system. Kids who age out of the foster system are at an extreme disadvantage to the rest of society. By age 21, of those who age out of foster care, 1 in 7 will experience homelessness, 50% will be unemployed, 71% of women become pregnant, and 77% of men will have been arrested.

Mandy wants to go to college but first she has to obtain her GED. Foster children have significantly higher rates of absenteeism at school than their peers, and a foster child loses four to six months of academic progress with each school change. It is estimated that only 3% of foster children who have aged out of the system will obtain a college degree.

Raif lives on the street where he beatboxes for money. He frequently travels the rails when he feels the need for adventure. Many foster children do not have access to important socialization opportunities such as sports and clubs, and access to money for basic needs such as clothing, shoes, and school supplies is limited.  

Micah is focused on trying to stay out of jail so he can help his girlfriend, who is pregnant. 20% of males who age out of the system will become career criminals as opposed to 5% of the general population. Research shows that many children in foster care struggle with mental health challenges arising from the trauma they’ve suffered, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Currently, the United States spends 8 billion dollars a year on foster care and there are 420,000 kids in America’s foster care system. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own and for different factors such as neglect, poverty, and abuse. Foster care is designed to be a temporary living situation however, as we saw in the film, many kids do not leave the system until they are required to, at age 18.

After the film, Fredrick Kingston and Mandy Urwiler from The Mockingbird Society led a panel discussion regarding foster care and how we can help. Some of the topics discussed included an emphasis on kin-care and the Extended Foster Care program.

Kinship care is an alternative to foster care, whereby children who have been removed from homes are placed with relatives. The number of children living with a grandparent or other relation has increased considerably in the past years. Kinship care can benefit foster children as it provides increased stability and safety, as well as the ability to maintain family connections and cultural traditions.

The Extended Foster Care program provides an opportunity for teens in foster care to continue to receive support after they turn 18. In order to receive the services, teens must complete a secondary academic or vocational program, or participate in a program or activity designed to promote employment. Studies show that youth that are enrolled in an extended foster care program have higher college attendance, fewer arrests, and are less reliant on public assistance.

Children in foster care has been a long time advocacy focus for the Junior League of Seattle. Here’s how you can help make a difference:

  • Become a foster parent. There are currently over 10,000 children in Washington in need of foster homes
  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate and be a voice for young children in court
  • Become a mentor to any young person, including children in foster care
  • Donate time or services for kids in foster care
  • Donate clothing or other essentials to foster organizations
  • Volunteer at a foster organization
  • Write letters to or call your elected officials

You can find out more about “From Place to Place” at  http://fromplacetoplacemovie.com/

For more information about The Mockingbird Society, visit www.mockingbirdsociety.org

 

 

 

 

Junior League Takes the Capitol

by Olivia Burley

Cap_Day_Photo_2
The JLS Ladies with Senator Joe Fain

On Monday, February 17 – aptly Presidents’ Day, the Junior League of Seattle hosted Capitol Day at the State Capitol in Olympia. Joined by members of the Junior League chapters in Olympia, Tacoma, and Yakima, the event focused on providing an overview of the state legislative process, meeting key players, and learning how we can get involved – as legislators and as advocates of the causes that are important to us.

The JLS Capitol Day Committee organized a jam-packed day for attendees. We kicked off with breakfast and then met with Noah Ullman, Executive Assistant to Senator Joe Fain, who explained how the State legislative process works. It was a busy day on the floors of the House and Senate as bills were being presented.

Senator Joe Fain met with us amid the hustle and bustle in the gallery wings. Fain represents the 47th Legislative District (Auburn, Kent, Covington, and Renton) and is the Senate majority floor leader. He urged JLS members to bring our community activism to Olympia by running for office and shared with us the behind the scenes narrative that colors the legislative process.

From there, we moved to the Senate gallery and observed the action on the floor before taking a tour of the Capitol. Our guide shared the interesting history of the Capitol and Washington State and made each of us feel like a distinguished visitor.

Cap_Day_Photo_1

Following our tour, we met in Governor Jay Inslee’s conference room with Kelly Ogilvie, Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor. Ogilvie gave an overview of some of the issues most important on the Governor’s agenda:  education, increasing the minimum wage, and creating jobs. Then, he opened the floor to a discussion with Junior League members. Arts funding, education, and access to nutritional food were some of the topics touched on in the conversation.

Representative Cyrus Habib represents the 48th Legislative District (Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, and Medina) and met with our group over lunch. He answered questions moderated by JLS member McKinley Smith. Habib shared his focus on issues that affect women in Washington State, namely pay equity and reproductive rights, and answered questions.

McKinley Smith and Representative Cyrus Habib
McKinley Smith and Representative Cyrus Habib

Following the formal agenda of our day, Capitol Day attendees were given time to visit their district representatives. While most were busy on the floor or in meetings when we stopped by, their staff welcomed us and encouraged follow-up conversations.

Capitol Day was a wonderful introduction to the State legislative process. Everyone we met was delighted to have community interest and engagement and encouraged the women of the Junior League to make their voices heard.

“FROM PLACE TO PLACE” SCREENING AND TRAINING

The Advocacy Committee will host a screening of the documentary “From Place to Place” followed by a panel discussion on March 18th at Hotel 1000. The film “tells the story of the invisible children who grow up in America’s foster care system”.  Children in Foster Care has been an advocacy focus for the League. Understand how you can make a difference in lives of foster youth; broaden your awareness of how children come into foster care and what the effects can be; look for ways you can advocate, use your voice and make a difference.  Please plan to stay for the panel guests to ask questions and get REAL answers.

Find out more about the movie here: http://fromplacetoplacemovie.com/ .

Copies of the movie will also be available for purchase with all net proceeds going to JLS.

A pre-show meet up will start at 5:30 pm at BOKA Restaurant + Bar in Hotel 1000, followed by a cash bar on the second floor gathering area from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm. The screening is free and participants will receive a training credit.

**** We are opening this event up to non-League members, so please invite your friends! Please be sure to enter the total number of people in your group next to ‘Quantity’ when you register- space is limited! ****

Location: Hotel 1000 – Front Room (1000 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98104)

Valet Parking will be $12 for League Members for this event

RSVP

Screening: https://www.jrleagueseattle.org/?nd=m_event_detail&key=4858

Happy Hour: https://www.jrleagueseattle.org/?nd=m_event_detail&key=4860

Women’s History Month Events

By Shanna Lisberg

March is Women’s History Month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. It has been observed annually by the United States throughout the month of March since 1987. Here are some ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month locally. Add your own ideas and events in comments!

“The First 100 Years” by Women’s University Club of Seattle

The Seattle Public Library – Magnolia Branch
2801 34th Ave W
Seattle, WA 98199
(206) 386.4225
www.spl.org
March 1, 2014 1-2 p.m.

The Women’s University Club of Seattle will be discussing their new book, “The First 100 Years: Women’s University Club of Seattle, 1914-2014.” Learn about a century of colorful Club members, significant events in Seattle and the world, and the historical figures who dropped by the Club for a visit.

We-Can-Do-It-Fly it Forward Challenge 2014 – Airplane Rides for Girls

Boeing Museum of Flight
9404 East Marginal Way S.
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 764.5720
www.museumofflight.org
March 8-9, 2014 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Fly it Forward provides introductory, 20-minute airplane rides to girls and women to promote interest in aviation and space professions. Rides are limited to those who have never flown, or who have only flown in airliners. Flights will originate at the Museum tarmac; registration is through the Women of Aviation World Wide Week Website – Fly It Forward Challenge 2014. All flights are weather-dependent.

2014 Women’s History Month Luncheon

Clark County Historical Society and Museum
1511 Main Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 993.5679
March 17, 2014 at 11 a.m.
http://www.cchmuseum.org

Guest speaker Barbara Creager, designer at Babette’s Hatworks, LLC, will discuss all things hats: how to purchase a hat that compliments you, how to purchase the correct size, how to wear it properly, how to use hat pins, how to store your hat, and so on. All attendees are encouraged to wear their own hats to the luncheon. Barbara will also bring some of her hats for sale. Tickets are $40 for non-members and $35 for current CCHS members.

Seattle Apartment Buildings 1900-1939 and Women Who Bought, Sold, and Constructed Them

The Woman’s Century Club
807 East Roy St.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 322.9565
www.womanscenturyclub.org
March 24, 2014 at Noon to 1:30 p.m. – parlor of the clubhouse

Author Diana James says that when researching her book “Shared Walls,” “it was a big surprise to discover that a large number of Seattle women were involved with the buying and selling and building of apartment buildings in the early half of the twentieth century.” Diana will share her discoveries about five of these remarkable women, including Corinne Simpson Wilson, Seattle’s best-known woman realtor and builder of the Wilsonian Apartments. Light refreshments will be available; suggested donation $5.

Comparable Worth in Washington
State Capital Museum
211 21st Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501
Monday, March 31 at 12 p.m.

Presented by the Washington State Historical Society, in honor of Women’s History Month, Senator Karen Fraser, Earlyse Swift, and former Representative and Public Lands Commissioner Jennifer Belcher will discuss the landmark Comparable Worth implementation in Washington. Suggested donation $2.

No Job for a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII

A film by Michele Midori Fillion
Begins airing March 14, 2014 on PBS World 

Before World War II, women were delegated to covering stories about home and family life. But when American female reporters fought and won access to cover the war they faced additional challenges, ranging from an outright ban at army press briefings to a lack of facilities in the field. Instead, these women changed the nature of war reportage, focusing not just on the war itself, but on the suffering of civilians. “No Job For a Woman” tells this story through the lives and work of wire service reporter Ruth Cowan, magazine reporter Martha Gellhorn, and war photographer Dickey Chapelle.

National Women’s History Project (NWHP)
www.nwhp.org

The National Women’s History Project is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to promoting gender equality through public recognition of women’s diverse lives and accomplishments. This year’s theme for National Women’s History Month is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.

January Happenings in the Junior League

by Shanna Lisberg

There are 293 chapters of the Junior League throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose mission is to promote volunteerism and develop the potential of women. We all know how the Junior League of Seattle promotes the mission statement, but what about the rest of the League? Here’s what some of those other chapters have been up to in the past month:

  • At the January 14 Lodi Unified School District board meeting, the Junior League of San Joaquin County donated funds to purchase iPads and accessories for a first and third grade class. The Junior League partnered with the Crete Family Foundation, which issued a matching grant, to make this possible.
  • The Junior League of Columbia kicked off its 90th anniversary year by announcing the recipients of its first-ever Community Enrichment Grant program. The JLC awarded $160,000 in onetime enrichment grants to local nonprofits supporting the JLC mission, vision or current focus area of healthy children.
  • The Junior League of Sarasota hosted a night of painting, wine, and fun with their charity event Painting with a Purpose. The event consisted of a two hour painting session, where participants were able to complete a painting to take home.
  • The Huntington Junior League kicked off a month-long food drive in January to benefit the Huntington Area Food Bank. The Junior League and the Huntington Area Food Bank are working together to collect cans of soup to be distributed to Tri-State Area food pantries and soup kitchens.
  • The Junior League of Central Westchester held a Family Game Night to help benefit Heartsong, Inc. in White Plains. Heartsong is a creative arts therapy facility for those with special needs. Families that attended the game night were asked to bring toys, books, and games to be donated to Heartsong.
  • The Junior League of Pueblo hosted a Kids Health Challenge Fit4Fun event at the Pueblo Mall for kids and teens. There were plenty of activities for kids to engage in, including Minute-to-Win-It games, hula hoop and jump rope contests, zumba, and yoga.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Many Junior League chapters focused on raising awareness by taking part in a variety of human trafficking awareness events to combat modern day slavery.

  • Junior League members throughout the state of New Jersey worked with the Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs Committee to raise awareness and fight human trafficking in preparation of the Super Bowl.
  • The Junior League of Portland presented a documentary made by the JLP titled Waiting for the Light: Portland’s Sex Trafficking Crisis to a packed theater. The documentary focuses on child sex trafficking in Portland and attendees heard from a distinguished panel of speakers that sought to raise new awareness of the issue and provide tools and ideas about how citizens can help fight sex trafficking.
  • The Junior League of Daytona Beach hosted a public seminar at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University that included guest speakers from The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the Orlando Police Department.
  • The Junior League of Birmingham held a Community Round Table Luncheon to discuss the issue of human trafficking in Alabama. Several panelists were present including four representatives from the FBI, the Alabama Fusion Center, the WellHouse and the Alabama State Legislature.
  • The Junior League of Portland is currently holding their Second Annual Delicates Drive to collect new undergarments for survivors of human trafficking. Last year, the Delicates Drive collected approximately 1417 bras and underwear and $1,189 worth of gift cards.

Day-Long Training Focuses on Advocacy, Fundraising

By Shanna Lisberg

Close to 100 first-year members of The Junior League descended upon the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Jan. 25, for an all-day training. The day started out early and, as members gathered to check in, more than one lady arrived bearing a large cup of coffee. By 9 a.m. the training was under way and members had broken out into their first training sessions of the day.

Members attended four training sessions – two in the morning and two sessions in the afternoon. By attending and completing the all-day training, provisional members were able to satisfy their League training requirement for the year.

Provisionals had the option to choose from six training topics:

  • Advocacy 101

  • Parliamentary Procedures

  • How to Run Effective Meetings

  • Fundraising – How to Make the Ask

  • Your Junior League Career Path

  • How to be an Effective Volunteer

The Advocacy Committee’s Chair and Vice-Chair presented Advocacy 101. We learned that advocacy boils down to picking an issue and talking about it, and that one of the best ways to get involved is to know your legislators and to call or write them a letter. Additionally, advocacy can be for all sorts of issues, not just political issues.

Parliamentary Procedures discussed the purposes and rules of parliamentary procedure and the steps of going through motions and discussions. Topics included how to make a motion, when to table a motion, and tips for debating and voting on motions.

Issues discussed in the How to Run Effective Meetings training included the different types of meetings and how to be a facilitator of a meeting. Some of the tips for running a successful meeting included: Stick to the agenda, make sure there is a clear reason for the meeting, and always end a meeting on a good note.

Fundraising – How to Make the Ask discussed how to reach out and make the first step in asking for donations and contributions. We learned that it’s important to identify the key players and to know what you want to procure. Most significantly, anyone can make the ask, you just have to advocate for what you love.

There are many different career paths within the Junior League. Your Junior League Career Path aimed to explain how members can advance in the Junior League. We learned that the main key is to know your interests and to recognize what position(s) you want to attain.

Tara, the volunteer coordinator for Mary’s Place, spoke about How to be an Effective Volunteer. Some of the tips given by Tara included learning about the background of the organization you want to volunteer with, figure out what the staff expects from its volunteers, and have a commitment to how you want to help.

The all-day training was a terrific experience and a great opportunity to interact with other provisional members. All the presenters were engaging and incredibly knowledgeable in their area. At the end of the day, we all learned something new and hopefully we can implement these skills in our future roles in the Junior League.