jubilee garden grows thanks to microsoft volunteers
Monday, 14 September 2009 10:48
At the end of each month, after all the rent and other costs of living have been accounted for, many of our low-income residents find themselves with very little to cover the cost of their groceries. While donations of non-perishable food items are greatly appreciated and help bridge the gap each month, fresh and nutritious produce items are simply harder to come by.
For these reasons, we are delighted to thank our friends at Microsoft, led by Theresa Haynie, for their efforts on September 11, which has been designated a National Day of Service. In one day the group of 13 volunteers pulled up turf and installed two new large vegetable garden beds which will produce a sustainable array of fresh fruits and vegetables for our residents. Longtime volunteer and gardener extraordinaire Lauren Zimmerman headed up the project for Jubilee.
During this Fall season, the garden grows lettuce, spinach, kale, beans, and tomatoes. The installation also included “cloches” to protect the new plants and allow for winter gardening. Volunteers have taught and will continue to teach residents how to plant and maintain their garden throughout the year.
“The garden will be a welcome addition and provide fresh, healthy produce. Thanks to all the volunteers for their hard work and to Microsoft for donating all the plants,” says E., a current Jubilee resident.
Thanks to Microsoft, Swanson’s Nursery, Squak Mountain Stone, Home Grown Organics, and Lauren Zimmerman for their support of this project. You can help support our vegetable garden, too! Jubilee needs additional donations of seeds and gardening supplies; please contact Bryn at (206) 957-5512 to help our garden continue to grow.
the health care gap
Monday, 14 September 2009 10:23
Health care, health care, health care. Swine flu, swine flu, swine flu.
Right now, you can’t turn on your car radio without hearing something about the health care debate, or about how the swine flu is expected to affect 40-50% of people as schools get back into swing.
Oddly, when I hear this, lately the image that’s been sticking in my mind is of three different women, one with a medication in hand, showering a naturopathic doctor with questions as she eased for the door. She was already leaving a half hour late, but the residents had more needs than could possibly be met in such a short time. The office was closing. She had to go. This happened two Thursdays ago and I was struck by how great our residents’ need was.
Health care is a huge gap for the low-income and homeless in Seattle. In July of this year, a report was released concluding that the average age of death for a homeless person in Seattle was only 48 years old. Per Wikipedia, the average age of death in the U.S. is currently 77.5 - 80 years old.
48 for the homeless, can you believe that? That’s something to think about the next time you see a homeless person sitting on the street. How old is she?
Our residents certainly personify this statistic. By the time many get here, their health care or dental care has been neglected for years thanks to poverty. Some accept daily, untreated pain as a simple reality of life. They don’t even bring up the constant soreness of a missing tooth, the left foot that smarts from a broken bone that didn’t heal correctly, the throbbing of undiagnosed arthritis. They’re just used to it. Luckily, our care managers (social workers) ultimately intervene by connecting them with health care, dental care, and more to change the standard of life and the outcomes for these women.
But what will the swine flu boil down to for the other homeless people around town? They’re especially vulnerable because many of them already have compromised immune systems from those years of untreated medical conditions. What kind of care will they receive? What kind of health care is available to them?
I will be crossing my fingers and hoping that whatever happens with these health care reforms we’re discussing, we will be changing the homeless person’s life expectancy from 48 to something closer to 77.5 – 80 like everyone else.
Let’s keep talking about health care. It’s time we did. To learn more about President Obama's plans, check this link from WhiteHouse.gov.
Monday, 31 August 2009 08:54
- to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one's name; to change one's opinion; to change the course of history.
- to transform or convert (usually fol. by into): The witch changed the prince into a toad.
- to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind: She changed her shoes when she got home from the office.
Symbols of Change
"Change your thoughts and you change the world."
-Norman Vincent Peale
But, really, what is change all about?
Since coming to Jubilee, I have seen enormous changes. Changes in the residents, the staff, volunteers, the board, and the organization. I have changed. Change can be scary. Change can be good. Change can be mysterious. Change can be daunting. Change can be freeing.
In fact, resiliency becomes very personal, very quickly. It is the grandest outcome of a change reaction. Resilience is the process of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences. Resilient people overcome adversity, bounce back from setbacks, and can thrive under extreme, on-going pressure without acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways. The most resilient people recover from traumatic experiences stronger, better, and wiser.
Jubilee’s residents have gone through enormous change in order to walk through our doors – both coming in, and leaving. Women from all walks of life have felt the sting of change – which is why they reached out to Jubilee. And I have been a witness to the amazing transformations taking place among the residents we serve. Change has become a lightening rod of hope – our residents have readjusted and taken out a new compass to guide them on their way. There is very little bemoaning the fact that change exists – rather, I have seen delight in the possibility of a better, brighter future when change has met many of our women in dark places. It humbles me to know the changes that our women have had to move through.
Jubilee staff and board are also witness to change as we create new goals, are faced with new challenges, and move forward as an organization.
How do we continue to deal with change?
If I were to share my new held convictions about dealing with change, I’d include the following key elements:
- Communication - It should be no surprise that the first thing "the experts" recommend to help other's embrace change is communication.
- Involve & Engage - As a member of the Jubilee community, we are all part of a larger team. A team that has unique, diverse, and needed skill sets. We’re all in it together at Jubilee.
- Positivity begets Positivity - Change is inevitable. But, stepping into a new situation doesn’t have to be daunting. A joyful approach to change is better any day than an unhappy and negative one.
- See the Big Picture - Change is different for everyone. We don’t all respond the same. Look at the big picture and remember, it could be a different big picture for someone else.
- Be Open - Be open with others and empathize with them. Let them know you understand their frustrations and validate them. Be open to the amazing transformation change may hold.
At Jubilee I have seen that the best result of a change reaction is resiliency. Two possible definitions of resilience are:
- the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
- ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Resilience is the capacity to not only survive life's challenges and major changes, but to learn and grow from them, to become stronger as a result.
I think Jubilee is a resilient organization, and through my connection with it – and the women we care for – I have come to witness change as a pathway to excellence. I see Jubilee, its residents, staff, and volunteers moving through change – and all of us, together, flexing the muscle of resiliency stronger and stronger.
Change is a new tool to play with, ponder, and respect, not fear.
Shannon Thomas, MNPL
these ARE extraordinary women
Thursday, 20 August 2009 18:33
As the Executive Director of Jubilee, the best part of my job is welcoming the new residents.
Recently I had the opportunity to give one of them a ride to an appointment. This woman (without giving away details) who prior to Jubilee had been gainfully employed as a drug and alcohol counselor has fallen hard due to her own addiction. When I say “fallen hard” I am referring to the shame and stigma that surrounds homelessness. She had grown up in a very well to do family – as I had before my own “fall” and I can attest to the huge hurdle it is to ask for help. And I would venture that no matter what your background or class status, rich or poor or middle class, the fall is hard. Mostly because of our pride.
What was most validating for me about our conversation is what she said to me about how she is being treated at Jubilee – not like a “second class citizen” but more honored for herself as a woman. She said she felt like the way she was treated (so unexpectedly) gave her the space and breath to be able to actually move forward with her goals, as opposed to being treated as she had imagined she would be treated given her “status” in society. She expected to be treated in a way that you “hear” about on the street, in the news – that these people (homeless) are lazy, slothful, using the system, con artists and the like.
My, what a difference a day at Jubilee makes! When you walk in the door here the space immediately says, “you are worthy.” With the brightness, the slate floors, the comfortable living room, the granite countertops (all donated) in the model kitchen, you can’t help but think that this is extraordinary. And that is exactly how we meant it to be. These ARE extraordinary women. For anyone who has to look to their “dark” side and find that it is truly the “light” side and how we nurture and flame that light, they are the few, the rare and the precious.
I am so honored to be in their presence.
Susan Fox, MSW, CSJP-A
it’s so hard to say goodbye (to nic hage)
Thursday, 13 August 2009 12:25
An integral part of our program is maintaining a state of the art learning and technology center so the residents of Jubilee can move on to living wage jobs with confidence and skills.
Last week we learned that our NPower technical support consultant, Nic, has accepted a new position. Nic has supported Jubilee for the last six years with his knowledge, talent, patience and understanding.
A few of Nic’s contributions to Jubilee include:
- Upgrading our learning and technology center
- Upgrading all our staff computers
- Integral in the creation of our data and information setup during the renovation
- Continually planning for the future of technology for our staff and residents
- Helped stabilize our technology infrastructure
- Helped move us to Immaculate Conception and 612 and back again!
- Added servers and completed server upgrades
Nic has helped bring Jubilee to a whole new level of technology, both with our learning and technology center and the staff computers. Nic did all this (and more) will a smile on his face, a great attitude and a clear dedication to Jubilee.
Thank you for everything, we will miss you, Nic!
Nic helping us set up our technology at Immaculate Conception during the renovation
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