Raphael House Newsletter Spring 2013
There’s a word you hear a lot in the rooms and hallways of Raphael House: it’s partner. For some of us the word means a spouse or loved one. We might think of a best friend as our “partner in crime.” Maybe your daughter just made partner at the firm. Whatever imagery it conjures up, for us at Raphael House it’s more than a noun or a greeting. It’s a philosophy.
Partnership is one of Raphael House’s five core beliefs and it’s a principal that guides everything we do: from the way we engage the families we serve to leveraging professional relationships within our community in order to help grow our services. This collaborative approach has enabled Raphael House to build a robust network of donors, businesses, community leaders, and allied non-profits that share our vision of teamwork and help drive our success.
One of those success stories is about Susan, who came to Raphael House in the fall of 2011 after she lost her house. A single mom to two young girls, she lost her job as a caretaker and was struggling to establish stability for her family. Susan was incredibly nervous about looking for work and felt unprepared to face the current job market; she’d never even had an e-mail address and lacked the most basic computer skills.
Right away Susan began attending our weekly computer courses offered through our partnership with Community Technology Network. She also met regularly with Marcus, our financial literacy volunteer from Coming of Age—a non-profit that pairs the talents of people aged 50+ with community based volunteer opportunities—and worked with him on repairing her credit, reestablishing her bank accounts and saving up for future housing. A year and a half later, Susan and her daughters are doing great and remain connected to Raphael House via AfterCare. She continues to meet with our Workforce Development Specialist to focus on increasing her income and work opportunities.
Our community partners are a tremendous asset organizationally, but at the end of the day, it’s our families who reap the greatest benefit. Raphael House’s partnerships equip the families we serve with the tools and skills they need to have successful lives outside the four walls of shelter. As the saying goes, “it takes a village”, and we are fortunate to live in a village that shares our ethos of partnership like so many in San Francisco do.
On behalf of Susan and the families just like hers, thanks for being one of our partners in the fight against family homelessness.
On any given evening during the week, you might find the kids at Raphael House exploring a painting technique they’ve learned as they visually express their feelings around meaningful subjects such as their hopes and dreams for the future. On family activity night, you will find parents and children working on such projects together.
The creative arts have a long-standing tradition at Raphael House. We believe in the healing power of the arts to help kids build self-confidence and to strengthen family bonds. Art-making is a key component of our Children’s Evening Program. We also incorporate creative arts activities into our Academic Enrichment Program to complement the learning process in traditional subject areas, for both our younger kids and teens.
Our children and parents receive most of their instruction and encouragement in the arts from our Children’s Program Coordinator, Kate Corliss, who has professional degrees in both art and counseling. The art-making done in our Children’s Evening Program culminates with an annual Art Show that is a source of pride and accomplishment for our families.
Becoming a monthly donor is a great way to maximize your support for Raphael House while investing in the long-term sustainability of our programs. The support we receive from our monthly donors is a critical source of continuous, dependable revenue and helps ensure our programs remain unaffected by giving trends or seasonal fluctuations in charitable giving. When you become a monthly donor we will enroll you in Families First!, a unique recognition club that offers special volunteer opportunities and acknowledgement in our Annual Report.
As Nancy O’Brien, an inaugural member of Families First! recently told us, “those big checks at the end of the year are always nice, but this is a great way for me to support Raphael House all throughout the year.”
For more information, contact Jenna Ervice at 415.345.7266.