Making a World of Difference!

Moms Sharing their Journeys at our 2016 Storytelling Summer Community Event. 

Moms Sharing their Journeys at our 2016 Storytelling Summer Community Event. 

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and it has us thinking of all of the amazing Partners that make Hearth Homes' mission of Transforming Lives possible. We are so grateful for the many partners that help us make a difference by contributing time, resources, and talent to our cause. Without our Financial Partners and Volunteers it would be impossible to serve the women at Hearth Homes and fulfill our mission.  In 2016, mountains were moved at Hearth Homes. From women breaking free of addiction, children reunifying with their mothers and families learning how to create stability--lives were transformed! 

                2016 Summer Volunteer Photo

                2016 Summer Volunteer Photo

At Hearth Homes we believe the power of relationships and community is imperative to transforming lives and that it 'Takes a Village'. We strive to follow Jesus' example for engaging in relationship with broken people and his example of Grace, Love, and Hope. 

                                  Youth Group Yard Clean Up Day! 

                                  Youth Group Yard Clean Up Day! 

 

 

Volunteering in Community is one of the most impactful ways to make a difference. When we engage with our neighbors and donate time and resources; we make a WORLD of difference, not only in the lives of those we are serving, but in our own lives as well. Without the generosity of others, women and children at Hearth Homes would have few options for safe, stable, and affordable housing, and would likely fall back into the dangerous cycles from which they desire to break free.  We are eternally grateful to those who partner with us to ensure these families have an opportunity at life to the full! 

In no specific order, we would like to give a special thanks to recognize a few of our Faithful Partners!

*Dishman Dodge *Liberty Lake & Spokane Valley Kiwanis *Modern Electric *City of Spokane Valley *Intellitect *Millwood Presbyterian Church *Spokane Valley United Methodist *Advent Lutheran Church *Opportunity Christian Church *Life Center Church *Valley Real Life *Hope Lutheran Church *BECU *Berean Bible Church *Crossover Church *Mutual of Enumclaw *Les Schwab *Thrivent Financial *Spokane United Way *Women Helping Women Fund *Eastern Washington University *Ironman Foundation *Peak 7 Adventures

                                                                                                       Thank you from Hearth Homes Families! 

                                                                                                       Thank you from Hearth Homes Families! 

A Year at Hearth Homes

For some a year goes by in the blink of an eye; for other's it seems an eternity. In the case of families at Hearth Homes a year is a big commitment. The single mothers we serve have chosen engagement in community,  accountability and daily participation in challenging classes and conversations, in an effort to break cycles of pain, addiction and abuse. A year of this commitment can be grueling. 

Recently we celebrated a very special birthday; Jackson turning one. His mother came to Hearth Homes with her two daughters just 3 days before she gave birth. In this year, Jackson has grown in a safe environment busy with other children, as his mother focused on developing her parenting, domestic and interpersonal skills. Her choice to commit to growth will benefit him all the years of his life. 

This weekend, we also celebrated AnnaMae's second birthday. Like Jackson, Hearth Homes is all she's ever known. Her mother is currently preparing to transition into an apartment of her own. This will be the first time she's ever lived on her own and, understandably, there is some trepidation. "I feel anxious, but I feel ready," she says. And we agree: We're anxious for her and her children, but we are excited and confident that the tremendous work she's done to build a healthy support network, and the skills she's learned and adopted at Hearth Homes, have readied her for this. And we are always her family. 

It is difficult to describe the impact a year, let alone two, can have on a family.  The mothers at Hearth Homes have experienced what authentic relationship is and learn how to say "no" to unhealthy influences. They've learned about their children's development and how to parent appropriately. They've even gained the skills needed to safely manage a household and facilitate hospitable meals. Jackson and AnnaMae have never experienced the trauma of living on the street. They have never seen their mother hit or humiliated. They have known big family dinners every evening, bedtime tuck-ins every night, and clean and sober households. For these things, it is difficult to attach a value. After all, a safe, loving home and family is priceless. 

Let's Get Dirty!

Water fights amidst gardening Fun! 

Water fights amidst gardening Fun! 

The sun is shining and birds are chirping, that must mean summer is on its way!  Once the weather starts to warm up there are countless activities we all enjoy, bike riding, swimming, fishing, camping, relaxing in a hammock, and maybe most importantly, gardening.  Isn’t it satisfying to plant flowers in those planters you have on your porch and watch them bloom all season long?  What about those vegetables in your garden and getting to eat the things you watered and tended to all spring and summer? Surprisingly, the most rewarding thing about gardening isn’t those award winning zucchinis and radishes; it is the benefits to your mental and physical wellness!

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins our body needs to make, it helps prevent things like osteoporosis, cancer, depression, heart attacks, and strokes.  While gardening, if your skin is exposed to sunlight for longer than 10-15 minutes at a time your body begins the process that will lead to the creation of the biologically active form of Vitamin D, resulting in you feeling more relaxed and happy, as well as fighting off physical illnesses and diseases (Harvard, 2010).

Winter months drive us inside for many reasons: too much snow to drive in, it is below freezing outside, our days are much shorter, etc. Not only does being inside four months of the year mean we are less exposed to sunlight, it also means we are probably watching movies and reading books on the couch instead of taking a walk or doing laps in the pool. This sedentary time can actually lead to isolation and depression.  Researchers in England found that not only will you be happier and more relaxed if you are exposed to sunlight, but you will also be even more happy and relaxed if you are exercising while enjoying that sunshine. Sunshine and exercise have such a huge impact on our mental health that just five minutes of exercising outside can improve our self-esteem and mood (Harvard, 2010). We see this every day at Hearth Homes, as moms and kids head outdoors to the garden or playground which they may have never had access to in their previous living arrangements which include under bridges, in cars, and in crowded low-income housing.  Playing outside in the dirt impacts our psychological states so much so that mental health professionals use horticulture therapy, a part of Eco therapy, as a practice used to treat people living with mental illnesses such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.  Things like being outside and letting your hands and bare feet touch soil, interacting with others in a calm environment such as a community garden, and growing your own healthy produce have proven to be extremely effective in treating patients with mild to moderate mental illnesses (Gardening & Mental Health Outcomes). 

Our mission at Hearth Homes is to heal women and children who have experienced emotional trauma, chronic stress, food instability, and more.  Not knowing where your next meal will come from, or being in an abusive relationship is so stressful that it alters your brain physically and chemically, and leads to developing PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance dependency, etc.  As such, we provide every opportunity to engage with nature, explore and play as a family to kick-start those healing endorphines and vitamins. These efforts include 10 raised garden beds, raspberry bushes, a brood of 3 chickens, large grassy areas, a huge playground, and outdoor adventures such as snowshoeing, rafting and camping. 

The majority of families we serve may have never had the privilege of a back yard, or going on an adventure and these very experiences contribute greatly to the transformation of their perception, mental health and well being. 

   

 

 

http://thepod.cfccanada.ca/sites/thepod.cfccanada.ca/files/Gardening%20%26%20Mental%20Health%20Outcomes.pdf

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Make Hay while the Sun shines?” Well I am pretty sure I met the person this saying was created after. This is a volunteer who is involved in everything from Kiwanis to Church renovations, Non Profit projects to gardening & landscaping plans. Ken is someone who exemplifies this phrase by spending his life pursuing opportunities and making things happen when able.  However, he goes far beyond making hay only when the sun is shining. He will do his best to ‘make hay’ when it’s snowing, foggy, or raining toads outside! 

Ken began volunteering at Hearth Homes nearly 3 years ago during our extreme makeover of the properties. However, Ken isn't a "one-and-done" kind of person. Once he has a project within his grasp there is very little, if anything, that will keep him from seeing it through, and he has done this time and again. From getting his church group involved to erect 10 garden beds, to installing flooring in our offices, or reaching out to partners to help us Burn the Mortgage, Ken is determined to see our mission fulfilled. Recently, Ken shared his vision for extending our building out back to allow us to house more families and we certainly hope we can make his vision come to fruition! Ken's ability to see the potential impact of a project and rally other's to join in the process has impacted every area of his life. 

One thing is clear when you meet Ken: he serves simply for the benefit of others. He champions the financial and project needs at Hearth Homes to benefit the homeless single mothers and children housed here, helps organize the roofing project at his church to ensure a safe environment for the attendees, and coordinates Spokane Valley Kiwanis Club's monthly service at the local food bank so our neighbors don't go without. This gentleman is truly a force to be reckoned with and one that is a force for good! 

Thank you Ken and Amaryllis Otteman for your tremendous service, championship and support of the Hearth Homes mission and team. You are truly leaving a legacy in Spokane Valley and beyond!

Go With the Flow

Written by Jessica Simmons-Volunteer Coordinator

Ever meet those people who seem to be able to tackle whatever life throws at them with a cool and composed demeanor? We often long for their calm manner and overall collected aura. In the nonprofit world these people are especially appreciated because  a typical day in the life of a nonprofit could be described as “organized chaos.” Not that the day isn’t productive mind you; simply what you thought was going to be getting from point A to point B turned into getting from point A to point C, minus point G, adding point E, and somehow grabbing point B before it turns upside down.

Amy House is one of those roll-with-the-punches types, who has been a constant, dedicated Childcare volunteer for Hearth Homes for more than a year now. In the midst of sick kiddos, short staff, and limited resources, she goes with the flow and ensures the time stays focused on the kids. She sees the need and states, " I want every family that comes through here to have a better future." She helps to ensure better futures by building relationship and providing a safe and fun environment during childcare. 

Many of the children who come to Hearth Homes have experienced various life traumas and time spent with loving and fun childcare volunteers are often a highlight of their week! They simply desire someone to admire their sparkly flip-flops, discover buried treasure in the raspberry bed, or race scooters to the finish line (I lost). The great thing about being a childcare volunteer is the opportunity to help these kids recapture and delight in their childhood. To provide a safe environment for them to learn, create, and imagine to their hearts content. And hey who doesn't want to feel like a kid again; even if its just for a few hours? :) 

Behind The Scenes

Written By Jessica Simmons- Volunteer Coordinator

Often when visitors walk through the doors of Hearth Homes they comment on how welcoming and homey it feels. The walls are painted, the picture frames are straight (usually), and the atmosphere is cozy. However, not many people get a look into the underbelly of maintaining homes that are over 65 years old and went through a foreclosure period. Enter our maintenance volunteers. These are the gentlemen who work diligently behind the scenes to ensure the homey environment that speaks so loudly to the families housed here and the visitors who pass through our doors. 

Nathan fixing the back door of the Atrium 

Nathan fixing the back door of the Atrium 

One gentleman we would like to thank in particular is Nathan Czech. He has been serving with Hearth Homes for more than a year now and is still showing up every Wednesday afternoon to tackle maintenance projects big and small. From installing custom-made, permanent baby gates in both houses to hanging wall calendar after calendar; he is committed to making these homes safe and functional for each family. Any task we hand him he goes above and beyond the expectation!

Handmade permanent gate Nathan made for our childcare room!

Handmade permanent gate Nathan made for our childcare room!

These homes have been transformed, I am talking extreme makeover transformed, step by step by detail-orientated and talented handymen. As I think about how these homes have been changed I can’t help but see the correlation with the families we serve. It may be slow sometimes, and it may take place behind the scenes, but there begins a shift in the atmosphere.  An ambiance of empowerment takes root. These families begin to dream for more, or different, than what they have known before because they are learning to recognize their identity as someone worthy of a safe and loving home. 

Corina's Journey: Part 3

On February 5th I moved out of Hearth Homes and into my first apartment, I have long-awaited this moment and worked so hard to get here. It feels good to have my own place and gives me a greater sense of fulfillment. The time I spent at Hearth Homes was all about preparing myself for this step. I have worked on routine, meal planning, budgeting, and time management. I also completed a responsible renter’s course in which I learned the fundamentals of apartment tenancy.

Now that I'm in my own apartment I am still engaged in services at Hearth Homes. I come for life skills class, case management, and goal setting. Most recently we have been doing parenting classes called the Circle of Security. In this class I learned how to be with my child in their times of need, and about organizing their feeling for them because they do not know how to do it on their own. I also learned that by being with my child and soothing them they are learning how to sooth themselves. 

The immediate goals I have been working on are school and completing my GED. I have taken and passed my GED Science test this past week and only have math left! This gives me a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose. I work with kind teachers and have found that when I have fun learning in a good environment I am more able to retain the information I receive. 

Although I have been doing well on my own, there have been some struggles, such as budgeting and time management. I pay all of my bills on time, but before I set aside money for laundry I seem to have already spent the money on other less important things. Bedtime and mornings are also a challenge because I do not have the same kind of accountability requirements as I did when I was at Hearth Homes.

When I get off track one week I simply work to get back on track the next and keep pushing through my laziness and periodic lags of ambition. Moving on to becoming an employable and productive member of society is the force the drives me. Writing this blog helps and talking about it helps. If you have any questions you would like answered please leave them below in the comments and I will be sure to answer them in my next segment. Thanks for reading!

Overcoming the Lasting Affects of Stress and Trauma

Written By Jordan Holler, Hearth Homes Volunteer

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” Maya Angelou

Single moms at Hearth Homes work together to prepare a Holiday dinner!

Single moms at Hearth Homes work together to prepare a Holiday dinner!

Change is a scary and difficult thing to embark upon. When you have only known one way of being it is hard to see another way of being as more beneficial or easier.  The decision to exercise more, read more books, or stay on a diet is daunting, so it’s easy to understand why the decision to change one's entire lifestyle would be very difficult.  Growing up in a household where dinner is put on the table every night and your whole family eats together shapes your view of meal time. Similarly, not having enough food, and always eating alone front of the TV, also shapes your view of meal time.  The environment that we live in during childhood can affect the way we view the world for the rest of our lives.  It can also dictate what type of relationships we form, what our health will look like, and whether or not we will be more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, or anxiety and depression.  When we look at the research that has been done on childhood adversity, it becomes apparent that drug abuse, teen pregnancy, low academic achievements, and higher risk for heart disease and cancer, are the symptoms of living in an impoverished and neglectful environment that does not support a child’s developmental growth.

Amber signs up for her GED classes, which is a challenging task as a single mother! "I want my children to know I never gave up!"

Amber signs up for her GED classes, which is a challenging task as a single mother! "I want my children to know I never gave up!"

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study found that someone with six or more adverse experiences is 4,600 percent more likely to become an intravenous drug user than someone who has experienced no adverse experiences—4,600 percent more likely!   (Education Week, 2012) Scientific research that has been conducted at Harvard has also found that your brain is chemically and physically altered by the environment you are exposed to.  It was once believed that our genes were fixed at birth but scientists now know that certain genes can be turned on or off by the environmental conditions of a person’s life.  The stress a baby is exposed to during pregnancy and right after birth can chemically modify certain genes and determine when and how often they are expressed. (Harvard, 2010)  Not only is it hard to overcome the emotional barriers that are set in place due to neglect, abuse, food instability, poverty, parent incarceration, etc. there are also psychological and physical barriers that are set in place at a genetic level due to adverse experiences.  

Volunteer groups help transform the house to Welcome new families.

Volunteer groups help transform the house to Welcome new families.

Research has also found that the brain’s way of coping with stress in a healthy or an unhealthy way can be passed down to our children, who can then pass it down to their children and so on.  Harvard found that not only does your environment shape your brains response to stress, but chemicals, nutrients, and drugs also modify the genetic makeup of your brain and how it responds to stress. (Harvard, 2010)  The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study found that unless people were exposed to long periods free of stress and trauma, the brains of most people do not change the way they respond to stress chemically.  For most people stress and trauma continue to occur and as a result the way they respond to stress and trauma remains chemically unchanged for the majority of that person’s life. (Education Week, 2012)  

The good news is that just like a negative and unhealthy environment affects your brain and the way your brain responds to stress, being exposed to a positive environment that is free of traumatic stress for a long period of time, plus intentional emotional work, can reverse the unhealthy way the brain responds to stress. Additionally the new healthy way your brain responds to stress will then be passed down genetically. 

Residents participate in a fun Snowshoeing adventure! 

Residents participate in a fun Snowshoeing adventure! 

When looking at those in our community who need our help this is very important to remember.  People who are suffering from unhealthy addictions, long term health risks, homelessness, or poverty, are those most in need of a helping hand.  We need to be encouraging and offer help in learning how to create safe and healthy environments to live in, cope with stressful situations in healthy and positive ways, eat healthy foods that promote brain growth and development, and other methods of counteracting stress and trauma.

Brianna meets with her case manager while her son naps to discuss her goals and progress.

Brianna meets with her case manager while her son naps to discuss her goals and progress.

At Hearth Homes we recognize the symptoms of poverty, homelessness, neglect, and abuse and we’re doing everything we can to promote healthy and positive ways of life.  The women at Hearth Homes engage in family dinners 5 nights of the week.  Family dinners include all residents, and put one mother in charge of preparing a healthy meal for all of her constituents.  Not only does this teach the mothers how to prepare nutritious meals for their children, it also teaches them how to engage in positive communication and how to effectively communicate the things they feel and think.  The women at Hearth Homes also meet with trained staff who help them develop goals and strategies to achieve them. These goals range from  reuniting with their children, maintaining their sobriety and recovery, or beginning school to further their education.  Hearth Homes connects single moms with staff and mentors who come alongside to teach critical life skills including how to positively and effectively communicate with others, overcome barriers set in place due to emotional trauma, impress future employers with interview skills, create budgets, spend money wisely, and much more.  At Hearth Homes we are engaging in conversations about how we are making a difference, and how we will continue to make a difference, in women’s lives that have been affected by adverse childhood experiences, and we encourage you to discuss with us, your family, and friends how you too will make a difference.

Sources

http://developingchild.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Early-Experiences-Can-Alter-Gene-Expression-and-Affect-Long-Term-Development.pdf

 

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/07/11poverty_ep.h32.html

 

Making a World of Difference

Partners and community members joined us last summer to hear the moms at Hearth Homes share their journeys as depicted through a mural. 

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day and it has us all thinking of our loved ones.  For Hearth Homes this holiday is a time to express our gratitude, love, and appreciation for those who make a huge impact in the lives of the mothers and children that we serve.  We are grateful for the many partners that help us make a difference by contributing time and resources to help aid our cause. Without our financial partners and volunteers it would be impossible to serve the women at Hearth Homes and fulfill our mission.  In 2015, mountains were moved at Hearth Homes. From women breaking free of addiction, children reunifying with their mothers and families learning how to create stability--lives were transformed!  In no specific order, we would like to give a special thanks to recognize a few of our faithful partners:

         * Dishman Dodge * Mutual of Enumclaw * Les Schwab * Kiwanis Foundation *                        * City of Spokane Valley * Intellitect Corp. * Millwood Presbyterian Church *                                     * Spokane Valley United Methodist * Advent Lutheran Church *                                  * Opportunity Christian Church * Life Center Church * Valley Real Life *             * Hope Lutheran Church * Berean Bible Church *


“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the needs of afflicted souls, then your light will rise in darkness, and your night will be like noonday.”  Isaiah 58:10

Kiwanis Foundation sponsored the cost of a new sprinkler system and Life Center "Serve Our City" volunteers helped install.

Kiwanis Foundation sponsored the cost of a new sprinkler system and Life Center "Serve Our City" volunteers helped install.

Advent Lutheran dedicates a day of service at Hearth Homes each year, along with tremendous sponsorship of children's school needs and Christmas "Tree of Sharing". 

Advent Lutheran dedicates a day of service at Hearth Homes each year, along with tremendous sponsorship of children's school needs and Christmas "Tree of Sharing". 


One of the many valuable lessons of the bible is that when someone needs our help, we lend a hand no matter where the person comes from or what hardship he or she is facing.  Jesus healed those who were broken and when we ask ourselves how to make the world a better place, we should begin by following His simple and excellent example.  Helping those in our community is the most impactful way to help make a difference.  When we go out into our communities and donate our time and resources we make a positive impact in not only the lives of those we are helping but in our own lives as well.  All whom we serve have experienced adversity that has left them overwhelmed and in need of our help.  Partnering with your time, finances, material, love, and guidance makes a world of difference in the lives of those we serve.   Without the generosity of others, the women and children at Hearth Homes would have nowhere else to go, and would likely fall back into the dangerous cycles from which they desire to break free.  We  eternally grateful to those who partner with to ensure these families have an opportunity at life to the full! Thank you!

 

Who is Referring Families to Hearth Homes?

...And where were they before? 

In 2015, over 50 women applied for housing at Hearth Homes, of which 19 entered the program and stayed with us for an average of 7 months each. Rarely is homelessness associated with Spokane Valley, but in that same year, over 800 children were identified in the Valley School Districts as homeless at some point throughout the school year. This makes for an uphill battle considering homeless services are extremely limited in Spokane Valley.

Fortunately, Spokane County service providers recognize the need to work together to fill gaps, serve needs and do so on VERY limited support. Hearth Homes strives to fill those needs by rallying an outstanding community to meet their needs with no State or Federal funding and runs solely by individual donors, businesses and small grants including a city grant.  This cohesion between providers means women quickly connect with Hearth Homes when their social service providers recognize their need for stable housing. 

Most frequently, women come to us from Union Gospel Mission's (UGM) Women and Children's Crisis Shelter and, at times, from Anna Ogden Hall (also a UGM ministry). These women tend to already have an idea of what it's like to stay in a Christ-Centered environment. One Hearth Home's resident cried when she saw her own room for her family: she spent the last 2 months sharing a motel-size room with 2 other families. Another exclaimed, "this is the first time in years that I've had a key to my home!" Several women come to Hearth Homes from substance abuse treatment programs like Isabella House or ABHS. Coming from these highly intensive programs with nowhere to go, often women will end up on the streets again and the temptation to use their drug of choice becomes to difficult to withstand. "I need the structure and accountability while I work my program and search for a job." 

DSC_0121.JPG

Other families are referred by the Department of Child and Family Services when a social worker identifies that homelessness is keeping their families at great risk and could be the only thing between having children reunified after staying in foster care.  One mother came to us just a day after giving birth in order to keep her baby and continue to get the counseling and parenting support she needed. 

Finally, women experiencing homelessness will often reach out to us after doing a search on the internet and coming across our website. "I can't stay with him, anymore, it's not safe for my children." These women choose to leave abusive relationships steeped in addiction in an effort to spare their children from the negative effects of this lifestyle and it is never an easy decision. 

The women we house are strong, smart, savvy, and highly motivated to care for their children and move beyond the unhealthy experiences they've battled since their own childhood. The hardest battle is against the many lies they were told growing up by the very people that were meant to keep them safe. Our prayer is that we might reveal God's truth to them of their immense value and the incredible freedom He offers. Thanks to your support and a community that cares, women at Hearth Homes experience safe, loving relationships and make tremendous gains for a brighter future. "Living at Hearth Homes gave me the tools I needed to build a foundation for my family." 

All quotes direct from current and graduated residents of Hearth Homes. 

Burning What!?

2016 has launched into full-effect Hearth Homes' campaign to Burn the Mortgage! We believe in staying debt-free as a non-profit business, stewarding our partners' giving responsibly and the critical need to sustain our mission long-term. 

The "West House" at Hearth Homes. With 5 bedrooms and a sizeable living and dining room, this home bustles with moms and children determined for brighter futures!

The "West House" at Hearth Homes. With 5 bedrooms and a sizeable living and dining room, this home bustles with moms and children determined for brighter futures!

Back in 2012, a generous partner donated our "West House" at 11214 E Broadway in it's entirety. This catapulted Hearth Homes' mission in Spokane Valley, where no other homeless housing options were/are available. As timing would have it, the house directly next to the recently donated home was up for sale and we jumped at the opportunity, thus establishing a $140,000 mortgage.  Since opening both houses in Spokane Valley, over 50 mothers and 75 children have been housed to transition from homelessness (and all that relates to it) to stability!

As we envision a future where we may equip other communities to adopt a Hearth Homes of their own as the community of Spokane Valley has, we recognize the elimination our mortgage debt as a priority. 

Burning the mortgage will:

  • Reduce annual expenses by over $10,000!
  • Increase overall program sustainability
  • Allow us to focus next on the retention of our Volunteer Coordinator Position which is currently only funded through November by the AmeriCorpsVISTA Program. This position coordinated over 7,000 hours of volunteer service in 2015-- The equivalent of over 4 full-time positions!

Thanks to our amazing community partners, we have raised $90k of the $130k, and we are excited to extend the opportunity to help us reach our goal of Burning the Mortgage!

  • Empire Health Foundation
  • Inland NW Community Foundation
  • Valley Real Life
  • City of Spokane Valley
  • Multiple Individual and Group Giving Partners

Making an impact doesn't mean you have to write a big check! Just $5 a month, over a year, can feed a family for a month at Hearth Homes. Many workplaces do a match-gift for volunteering or donating money, such as Avista or CarMax. If you're a Thrivent Financial member, you can allocate your "Choice Dollars" to Hearth Homes (just ask an agent). Are you getting your taxes done at H&R Block? They'll give $20 to Hearth Homes when you share that you know of us.

Purchase tickets online by clicking the image or contact us at info@hearth-homes.org

Purchase tickets online by clicking the image or contact us at info@hearth-homes.org

Finally, you can have a blast while helping us Burn the Mortgage! Our "Red Carpet Gala" on April 16th at Mirabeau Hotel is our capstone event for this goal. Enjoy a banquet-style dinner, auctions, live entertainment, and the frills of an elegant evening! Buy a ticket for you and a friend for a discount or ask your workplace to become a Table Sponsor. 

Simply sharing the meaningful work of Hearth Homes and sharing our blogs, newsletters and Facebook activity conveys to the community your support and champions the families we serve. Thank you for being a champion and driver of change in the lives of those we serve!


A Board Member's Perspective

Mark Michaelis, founder of Intellitect and Hearth Homes Board Member since 2012.

Mark Michaelis, founder of Intellitect and Hearth Homes Board Member since 2012.

I have the honor of being on the Hearth Homes board and have been in the role since the organization established a board.  It is such an amazing blessing as I have watched Hearth Homes change over the last three years - Wow! 

Today I was sitting in the board meeting and listening to Angie's Directors Report.  I sat overwhelmed with how God has used her and her team to make an organization that is doing so much more than just providing a place to live.  Hearth Homes' program focuses on encouraging women take responsibility for themselves and their children, and challenges them to interact positively in community. 

For instance, they have "family dinners" together and where a new question is always asked by the dinner hostess like, "What do you need to grow as a person?"   They also have Family Meetings each Saturday morning where they share how they are doing living in community, what their struggles are and how they are evaluating their choices.  These meetings spur meaningful conversations like recently, where one woman asked another, "Hey, how come you get to help lead activities and orientations?"  Residents were eager to explain how they demonstrated dependability by arriving on time and prepared to programming, and how they had shown responsibility in making choices in the best interest of their children and recovery.  "They [staff] know they can count on me to follow through if I make a commitment." 

Conversations like this catalyze change as newer or struggling women realize what they want and evaluate how past choices hindered them from reaching their goals. This particular example resulted in a resident stepping up to be more than just a participant of Hearth Homes, but an owner of the program.  By committing to follow-through on her goals, she gained greater privileges, but more importantly, she began to see the connection between her choices and the values that motivate her actions.

A Hearth Homes resident gives a tour to community members at our open house. 

A Hearth Homes resident gives a tour to community members

at our open house. 

It is amazing to hear about women's struggle of being motivated by external things such as privileges, to being motivated within, by their values. When women are no longer motivated by what they can acquire, but by what they believe to be most important and valuable...that's transformation. The Hearth Homes program challenges women to sincerely reflect on their values and take the time to develop a lifestyle motivated from within. This is why I continue to serve at Hearth Homes and take such pleasure in being part of the board. 

VISTA Year of Service

Hello Friends! To those of you who do not know me my name is Jess and I serve as an AmeriCorps Vista at Hearth Homes. The Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program places individuals in nonprofit organizations and public agencies to support efforts to fight poverty. I have been so blessed by the opportunity to serve at Hearth Homes as their Volunteer Coordinator this past year.

It is crazy to think that I have already completed my first year at Hearth Homes. This year has been full of diving into the unknown, stepping out-or rather leaping out- of my comfort zone, and having my heart melted by the love for the people I serve. As a volunteer coordinator I have gotten the opportunity to wear many hats and gain new skill-sets I never imagined pursuing. I get to see firsthand the power of community and the selfless service of countless volunteers. In this busy world of ours it is often a struggle to make time for hobbies, friends, and family; let alone volunteering. Yet, somehow there is always a steady stream of people willing and excited to bless our mission that is focused on providing safe and supportive housing to homeless women and their children.

 This year I have met awesome volunteers with various skill sets including maintenance, décor, event planning, childcare, mentoring and so much more! In these twelve months volunteers have served over 5,000 hours at Hearth Homes; which is equal to 115,000 dollars of essentially donated time and expertise! However, it is so much more than time and skill volunteers selflessly give. It is their hearts. Their presence here states to these families that they are worthy of support and love. They are worthy of a safe home away from the shackles of abuse and addiction. Often volunteers will state, “I take so much more from volunteering than I give.” Whether through lessons learned, love received, or self confidence gained; volunteering is an awesome way to challenge yourself and give back.

I am thrilled to work alongside some amazing staff who are striving to better the community by breaking cycles of abuse, homelessness and addiction, in a Faith based environment. Staff is always brainstorming new and innovative ways of raising awareness, fundraising, and providing life skills to the families we serve. A few of the key elements to our program are authenticity and grace. Our goal is to break down the masks that people hide behind and get to what is truly weighing on the heart. In other words, instead of focusing on the surface of the iceberg, our hope is to transform what is underneath and encourage lasting change. As staff we work to model this authenticity through removing our own masks and entering the sometimes difficult and scary world of vulnerability. Though it may be uncomfortable for a little while, when you live life in the light and speak truth in love it starts breaking the chains of darkness.

I just want to close by saying a sincere thank you to Hearth Homes donors, board members, community partners, and all volunteers who are daring to reach out a hand into the darkness to pull others into the light. You are true life changers and make this world a brighter place! 

Corina's Hearth Homes Journey: Part 2 "New Year New ME"

This same time last year I was living in a transitional home for women with children, however unlike Hearth Homes it had no spiritual Christian aspect. I was not provided weekly case management as I am at Hearth Homes. Here I feel nearer to God and can see clearly the work he is doing in my life.  My family and friends have also spoken to me of the difference they have seen in my attitude, resilience, and efficiency. I credit this life change directly to my case management and weekly life skills class here at Hearth Homes. 

I appreciate the staffs’ willingness to help and lend an ear, or even prayer support when needed. Just last year at this time I was discouraged and broken despite having a year clean from substance abuse. What I was lacking then I have found now along with grace. I have overcome clinical depression and have gained a new lease on life.

The difference between the Corina of today and the Corina of a year ago is goal orientation and one on one support. “New Year New Me” goals include working hard to complete my outpatient counseling requirements and Moral Reconation Therapy. I also have money management goals and will be taking a financial access course in the near future to help me in my quest towards financial independence. I will also be taking my GED test this year and working to identify the right career path for me. 

Going into 2016 I hope to embrace this new lease on life and apply it towards continued mothering skills. I am taking a parenting class through, Parents as Teachers, in which I hope to excel at by putting into practice what I am learning. Also, some of you may know that I have a son who is not with me. There has never been a parenting plan in place and he is in California with his father. I do not have open communication with him because his father has chosen to keep him from me completely. I am taking another stab at finding his whereabouts and reestablishing communication. This includes finding legal help, an attorney, and a job to pay for legal action. As always I am willing to answer any questions in my next upcoming blog.

Thank you for reading! 

 

My Name is Jessica, & I am Dreaming of a Holiday with my Daughter

 

How has your life changed since coming to Hearth Homes?

“My life has changed a lot. I am no longer on the streets and being here has helped keep me sober. Since being here I have been able to have my first overnight visit with my child in two years.

How has Hearth Homes helped your family?

“It's made me and my daughter closer. We have been able to see each other more and it has also helped me build a stronger relationship with my mom because she knows I am safe and no longer has to worry about me.”

What is your favorite memory here?

"My first overnight visit with my daughter."

Do you as an individual feel more confident now than you did before coming to Hearth Homes?

"Yes I feel like I'm getting more confident in my decision making and support system."

What do you want for Christmas this year ?

"Just to spend time with my daughter and to have one more Christmas with my grandpa."





My Name is Amber & I am Dreaming of a Christmas with my Whole Family

Do you as an individual feel more confident now than you did before coming to Hearth Homes?

“Yes, when I first came here I didn't have the ability to say no to unhealthy people and they helped me to break that habit and begin to build safer and healthier bonds with the people I should. They helped me be a stronger and healthier parent.”
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Volunteer-of-all Trades

Daniel is motivated to volunteer out of a desire to do his part to help others and knowing that there are many people in need. He stated, “I want to show the families here that they do not need to accept less than they deserve.” He believes that a little bit of effort goes a long way and works to empower the families here by improving their quality of life."

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