Category: Focus Area

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

Advertisements

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

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

Tips to Keep Kids Safe and Healthy This Summer

By Shanna Lisberg

Children’s health and wellness has always been a key issue for the Junior League. Programs such as Kids in the Kitchen seek to help reverse childhood obesity and its associated health issues. While living a healthy life involves healthy eating and staying physically fit, a healthy lifestyle should also involve being safe and making healthy lifestyle choices for yourself and your family.

This summer, children will be playing outside and basking in the sunshine, as the warm weather and longer days bring plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Help keep your kids safe and healthy this summer with the following tips:

    1. Keep kids hydrated. Remind children to drink often throughout the day, especially if they are playing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends drinking about every 20 minutes if kids are active in sports. About five ounces is fine for a kid weighing 88 pounds.
    2. Protect children’s skin from the sun. Everyone should apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every day of the year. Sunscreen should be at least SPF 30 and should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before going outside
    3. Sunglasses are a must. Overexposure to UV rays can be especially harmful for the very young. The lens in a child’s eye cannot filter out as much sun as an adult lens. Some studies suggest that 80 percent of sun damage occurs before age 10.
    4. Inspect playground equipment before letting kids play on it. Before your kids play on the playground, be sure to check it out first. It’s important to make sure that nothing is broken or rusted. Also, keep an eye out for metal equipment and surfaces that can become hot in the sun and can cause burns.
    5. Make sure your children have proper footwear. While flip-flops can keep feet cool, they are not the most appropriate footwear when children are playing. Make sure your children’s feet are covered to protect them from injury.
    6. Follow pool safety. Never leave kids alone near the pool and always swim only in designated swimming areas when a lifeguard is on duty. Teach your children to swim. Air filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles, or inner tubes, should never be used in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
    7. Bike Safely. Make sure your children know the rules of the road and appropriate hand signals for turning and stopping. Make sure your child always wears a helmet and that it fits properly. Check your child’s bike to make sure the brakes, tires, and reflectors are all working correctly.
    8. Travel with care. Teach your children to buckle up every time they get in the car, no matter how long the drive. If your children are young, make sure they are adequately secured in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats.
    9. Beware of insects. Protect your kinds from insect and mosquito bites by using insect repellent. Choose a repellent with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET. Be watchful when it comes to ticks and check your kids every day.

 

Remember, just because you are being safe, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun this summer!

*Material for this article from How Stuff Works, United Healthcare, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, and the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration.

Trafficking in the News

The terms ‘human trafficking’ and ‘sex trafficking’ sound very exotic, like something that happens in foreign countries far away from where we live. But it’s a huge problem right here in our neighborhoods. Here are a few trafficking cases in the news recently…

Last week, a 27-year-old Tacoma man was convicted in federal court of seven counts related to the sex trafficking of minors and women.

Alexander Walls was accused of recruiting at least three minors to work for him as prostitutes. Several of them were advertised as prostitutes on Backpage.com, Craigslist and TNABoard.com, according to U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan.

Walls could spend the rest of his life in prison. He’ll be sentenced in March.

You can read the full article here: http://q13fox.com/2012/11/30/convicted-tacoma-man-faces-up-to-life-in-prison-for-sex-trafficking/#ixzz2Dx94XdXD

Earlier this month, a 20-year-old man was charged with second-degree human trafficking/promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly prostituting girls in the Tacoma, Everett and Shoreline areas.

Jevante Taymar McCray pleaded not guilty to the charges.
You can read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/crime/page/5/#storylink=cpy

The Styles to Shine Closet – TWCA Girls First Program

One of the initiatives by the Junior League (DIAD) Committee is working on this month is the launch of The Styles To Shine Closet, part of the YWCA Girls First Program, which is geared towards girls aged 14-16. This program gives them job skills and helps them prepare for the job force by helping them with internships and after school jobs.

The Junior League of Seattle is helping them build the boutique with paint and mirrors and clothing racks, but we also need the items to fill the boutique! This is where you can get involved.

We are collecting work appropriate outfits and/or professional accessories for the Styles to Shine Closet.  Please see the list below of the items that are needed! Our goal is to have enough clothes for the girls have a true “Shopping” experience when the Boutique opens in May! So clean out your closets, go shopping, and encourage your co-workers to donate to this great local initiative to prepare young girls for the work force! I thought you might use this opportunity to do some spring cleaning and donate to a wonderful cause. Remember your first job interview? Most likely you had someone from your home to take you shopping for a new outfit or even help you select from your wardrobe and teach you how to dress appropriately. Perhaps your friend loaned you a leather portfolio or bag so your resume copies didn’t get wrinkled. These girls might not have that support at home, but their they’re getting it through Styles to Shine. Your donations will make it possible.

I will collect the items at home & work, or make arrangements to pick them up from you. We are also doing a couple of drop off locations. If you are interested in donating, email me and I’ll send you the drop-off information. We will even take care of the dry cleaning so you don’t have to do that! The collection dates are throughout the month of April. Thank you so much for your consideration- this is one of those times where your donation will make a big impact on a young woman’s life.

(JLS members can get shift credit- see DC for more details)!

Clothing Donation Suggestions:

  • Youthful, work-appropriate clothing and accessories in ALL sizes (including petite + plus size):
  • Button-down shirts Tops/blouses
  • Cardigans
  • Skirts
  • Blazers
  • cardigans
  • Pants
  • Trousers
  • Shoes (sizes 5.5-12)
  • Accessories:
  • Portfolios Shoulder/handbags
  • Jewelry
  • Pantyhose

Thank you so much for thinking of us and these young women.

We are taking collections at the office through April 30th. Bins and Racks will be set up in the next few days. The contacts for this project are Kim Aber, DIAD Member, kimberlyaber@gmail.com, KJ Johnson, DIAD member, kellyannaj@gmail.com , and Farrah Zemke, farrahmotley@hotmail.com

Donors who want credit should inform us of their donations by signing up for the shifts posted below.  If they decide to drop off their donations at the JLS office instead of during a shift, they still need to sign up on one of the shifts but inform us that their donation is at the JLS office and properly bagged/labeled so we know who to assign credit to once their donation is approved.

Sat Apr 14th 2012 10:00am-2:00pm DIAD: YWCA: Styles to Shine Clothing Drive (Donor Drop off)
Tue Apr 17th 2012 5:30am-6:30pm DIAD: YWCA: Styles to Shine Clothing Drive (Donor Drop off)
Wed Apr 25th 2012 6:00pm-8:00pm DIAD: YWCA: Styles to Shine Clothing Drive (Donor Drop off)

Mother’s Day Baskets – Please donate!

CALLING ALL MEMBERS TO DONATE ITEMS FOR THE MOTHER’S DAY PROJECT!

The Mother’s Day Project is a provisional project that assembles and delivers a bag of goodies to women in shelters throughout the Seattle area. Our goal is to assemble 800 bags this year, with 10-12 items per bag. We would appreciate it if you could donate the following items:

  • Deodorant (travel size)
  • Fun items such as perfume samples
  • Razors
  • Nail polish
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Combs
  • Make-up
  • Hair scrunchies/bands

Please keep in mind that due to the bags’ size restrictions, these items should be sample or travel size.  How You Can Help:  Bring the above items to the April GM for collection. You may also drop off the items at the JLS Office.

JLS Contact: Hallie Desautel: 425-770-5824 or hdilloway@gmail.com

Life Skills For Women Collaboration Luncheon Celebrates, Looks Forward

WRITER: Gretchen Griffith

On January 25th, the Project Development committee hosted a Collaboration Luncheon for three of the League’s newest community partners: YWCA Young Parent Program, New Beginnings, and Mary’s Place.

Junior League Director Jeanette James led a lively discussion among key League members and partner representatives about their collaborative efforts to provide adult women with a variety of practical skills and education. Focusing on the League’s newly formed Life Skills for Women committee (LFW), the League specifically sought to evaluate its relationships with these partners by looking at current project collaborations and exploring potential areas of expansion and opportunities for advocacy.

Community partners praised their interaction with the League, citing the passion, consideration and professionalism of its members. “Junior League of Seattle volunteers listen and incorporate the actual needs of participants,” remarked Liz McDaniel of Mary’s Place. “Other non-profits come in and say, ‘Here’s what we want to do.’”

Recognizing the LSW committee’s early success, the Project Development committee will offer feedback and make recommendations, likely including:

  • Develop a set of best practices for working with new community partners.
  • Continue to address the high demand by partner clientele for job skills training and financial literacy. Partners enthusiastically responded to a proposed League-branded curriculum that could be implemented with multiple organizations, thus reaching more women.
  • Consider expanding LSW committee offerings via mentorships.
  • Share relevant areas of opportunity with the Done in a Day, ENERGY, and Kids in the Kitchen committees.
  • Continue exploring advocacy opportunities by further understanding the community partner’s needs and issues facing its clientele.

“It’s clear that the Life Skills for Women committee and its community partnerships are off to a great start,” says Charlotte Comer, Project Development chair. “Susan Evani, Allie Switaj, and their team have done a tremendous job laying the foundation for success. We are thrilled to see these relationships thrive and benefit women in need.”

DIAD Hula Hoop Games

The Done-in-a-Day committee is working with the Ballard Boys and Girls club to bring fun activities and programing to children in our community as part of supporting the Combatting Childhood Obesity focus area.

Ballard Boys & Girls Club
1767 NW 64th St
Seattle, WA 98107

The Done in a Day committee partnered with professional instructors “Betty Hoop” and “Miss Birdy” to provide a fun afternoon of yoga and hula hoop games for the Ballard Boys and Girls Club.  Early arrivals had the opportunity to go on a tour of the facility and hear about the programs that the Boys and Girls club specializes in.

Our first session started with a group of 16 “Monkeys” and “Geckos” (kindergarten & 1st grade).  The instructors lead the class in a great yoga warm-up to get the kids focused and stretched for the hoops. Then it was on to the main event, hula-hoop games!  Nine of our enthusiastic JLS ladies were on hand to jump in on the hooping fun, which included: running the tunnel, musical hoops and learning some hoop basics.  The young ones definitely showed us a thing or two about flexibility and boundless energy.

Following our initial session with the little ones, the classroom leads brought a new group of 25 kids from the “Tigers” and “Lions” groups which were as old as 12.  While the boys seemed a bit too cool when they first came in, the challenge and competition spirit got them quickly and they jumped right in to show us their skills.  With this group the instructors were able to do some great choreographed dances with the hoops.

The instructors did an amazing job of keeping everyone involved and adjusting to the levels of the different age groups as they came through.  It seemed like a fun event for all involved and was a great way to get involved directly with the community while driving a strong connection to our combatting childhood obesity pillar.  Our JLS ladies and the instructors all mentioned what a good time they had and how much they enjoyed being able to interact with the kids in such a positive and fun environment.  The Boys and Girls Club coordinator was very happy with the event and looks forward to partnering on another hoop games class soon.

The Boys and Girls Club coordinator said, “The kids really love it when new people/groups come in to lead them through new activities for them to participate in.” The Junior League of Seattle looks forward to going back for more fun with the wonderful staff and children at the Boys and Girls Club.

The Kashi/Kids in the Kitchen Success Story: $75,000 to distribute to Leagues for local KITK initiatives!

As many of you know, The Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen (KITK) initiative to fight childhood obesity and promote good nutrition got its start in 2006 with inspiration from The Junior League of Calgary’s Junior Chefs program. To date, more than 200 Leagues across the Association have implemented programs in partnership with local community organizations, chefs, and nutritionists.

In order to build out the next phase of this successful initiative, AJLI aligned itself with Kashi, the maker of nutritious, all-natural foods, which provided funding for a planning grant and also agreed to make $75,000 available in grants to individual Junior Leagues if the Leagues collectively demonstrated their support for the program through a “Like” button promotion on Facebook.

The exciting news is that we did it! We put our money where our mouths (or our mouses) are. We showed enough love to qualify for the full $75,000 the company allotted to us. This means that AJLI has $75,000 to distribute to Leagues in grants of $2,500 or $5,000 to support their local KITK initiatives. As of our grant application deadline earlier this week, we had received more than 100 applications, which will be vetted by Kashi before Annual Conference where the winning Leagues will be announced. Congratulations on this tremendous effort to mobilize; we have truly demonstrated the power we can bring to bear upon a cause we believe in!