Congratulations B.E.S.T. Class 20!

Our 20th Class of Building Employment Success Training (B.E.S.T.) students graduated on January 22nd after months of hard work and training! These students have inspired us with their determination, hard work, and passion for learning. We are so proud of their accomplishments and look forward to watching them continue to shine!

A special thank you to Kirkland J. Murray, President & CEO of Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation for being our keynote speaker, to St. Mary’s Parish & School, Annapolis for providing a beautiful venue, and to Senator Sarah Elfreth for joining us in supporting our students. We are also continually grateful for all those who volunteer and donate to The Light House. Together we are rebuilding lives!

Light House Bistro chosen for the 2019 REDF Accelerator program

Light House Bistro, a social enterprise developed by The Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center, was one of 18 organizations from across the country chosen to participate in the 2019 REDF Accelerator program. One fellow from each of these 18 employment-focused social enterprises was selected to participate in a 7-month training that advances their learning and deepens their peer connections.

General Manager, Beth Rocca, was chosen as the Accelerator fellow for Light House Bistro. In November, she attended the first Accelerator program training module in Chicago, IL. While at the training, Rocca began building powerful peer networks and participated in a specialized curriculum focused on strengthening social enterprises. “Being a part of REDF is an exciting new step for Light House Bistro,” shared Rocca. “In order for our social enterprise business to continue to change lives in our community, we need to thrive among other for-profit businesses. The Accelerator program will not just give us the opportunity to learn more about how social missions are changing lives across the country, but will also give us valuable insight into the unique best practices and challenges that a social enterprise business like ours must navigate.”

Light House Bistro is Annapolis and Anne Arundel County’s only social enterprise restaurant, and has been providing training and employment to people struggling with homeless since it opened in February of 2017.

Read the full press release here.

Light House Bistro General Manager, Chef Beth Rocca (far right), with the other 2019 REDF Accelerator fellows at their first training workshop in Chicago, IL.

Client Spotlight: Faith and Cody

What would you do if you were struggling to make ends meet and staring down eviction? That’s exactly the situation Faith and Cody found themselves in last winter: unable to make rent despite both working full time jobs, caring for two small children, and living in a hotel with money quickly running out.

Thankfully, The Light House was there to provide them with food, shelter, case management, and hope. They moved in and quickly began working with a client advocate, workforce development staff, and dedicated volunteers. They were able to apply for healthcare, save money, find better paying jobs, participate in financial management and parenting programs, and find an affordable apartment. We are excited to report that with the help of The Light House, Faith, Cody, and the children are now living happily in their own home.

Anti-hunger programs like The Light House are expanding to meet growing demand

Earlier this year, The Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center in Annapolis was seeing about 200 pickups from its food pantry per month. So far this month, it’s averaging 900.

The Light House Pays Tribute to Carol Brantley

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend, Carol Brantley. Carol was a shining star at The Light House – a vibrant leader who devoted many years of service to our mission. Through her Board leadership, volunteer work, and friendships, Carol had a profound impact on the countless lives at The Light House. Her dedication and energy were instrumental in moving The Light House to 10 Hudson Street, lovingly organizing and filling our library room with books, and making Light House Bistro a success. She leaves a lasting legacy and will be terribly missed. Our entire Light House community holds Carol’s family, friends, and loved ones in our hearts.

Photo: Carol Brantley (right), First Lady of Maryland, Yumi Hogan (left), and Light House Board Member, Sue Podolin (center), attending the graduation ceremony of our 18th class of employment training students .

A Community of Support Through The Light House and Open Table

Last year, The Light House provided emergency and transitional housing to 187 individuals and 18 families, including 34 children. Each person or family in our Residential Program is unique and brings individual strengths and challenges with them. During their time at The Light House, residents are provided with food, clothing, a safe space to live, a wide variety of programs, and integrated case management through their Client Advocate. Our Residential Program enables residents to rebuild their lives, address their barriers, and begin a path towards self-sufficiency. But what happens when they leave The Light House? The first year of independence can be extremely challenging, but our hope is that they continue to grow and become more self-reliant each day.

With this hope in mind, The Light House began the Open Table model to support our residents transitioning out of the shelter. Open Table is about offering transformational relationships to build a supportive community, called a “Table”, for one of our individual or family residents. Tables consist of 6-12 volunteers who make a one-year commitment to serve as life specialists, encouragers, and advocates for the individual being served (referred to as a “Brother” or “Sister”). Tables are made up of regular people – not experts – who have a desire to serve their Brothers and Sisters by being open, non-judgmental, giving and receiving friendship, and building trust that creates positive outcomes. The Table experience is life-changing for all who participate, and actively transforms communities through mutual relationships.

One of our congregations which has been paired with a former resident, shared the following letter about their experience working with Light House and Open Table.

My name is Fred and I’m a Mission Leader for Open Table through The Light House. Our “table” is formed out of Revolution Church in Annapolis with 9 people. We were matched with a “Sister” who has recently gone through the Emergency Residential Program at The Light House and is currently in transitional housing. We’ve been meeting with her as a Table since May of this year. Her stated goals include financial security, physical health, and general support in her life situations. We have assisted her in practical matters such as transportation and support regarding her job.

Open Table is a relationship-centered program and even though we have offered some practical suggestions over the last 4 months, our primary success has been building a sense of family and spiritual community with her. She is not our project. She is a person with unique assets and challenges and personality – as are the members of our Table. Trust and friendship have been our focus. Starting this month, we will be shifting to have our Sister set the agenda and lead the meetings, and we will also have new group-building and teaching times.

Through this process, we as a Table have grown as individuals, committed to love and respect, guarding simplistic solutions and “fixing.” We each have learned a lot about ourselves in this process.

Grateful and growing,

Fred

For additional information about the program please visit www.theopentable.org.

To learn how your group or congregation can support individuals or families as they transition out of The Light House, please contact Kris McNally, Director of Programs, at kmcnally@annapolislighthouse.org or (443) 569-4212.

Volunteer Spotlight: Walter

Walter has been volunteering at The Light House for over 9 years, and for the last 7 years has been volunteering in our kitchen 5 days a week, every week, helping serve lunch to residents and community clients.

Many of us know Walter as a life-long Annapolitan, retired basketball coach, and dedicated Light House volunteer…but what most may not know is that he was a resident at The Light House many years ago. Walter had been working the same job for 25 years, and was close to retirement when circumstances derailed his plans and he ended up homeless. At The Light House he was given food, shelter, and case management. His client advocate was able to place him in sustainable housing, resolve issues with his retirement benefits, and soon he was back on track.

With determination to make the most of his retirement years, Walter has been paying it forward. He has volunteered a total of almost 2,000 days, and has served over 118,000 meals to the community! Walter is proof that being homeless is a condition, not someones identity.

Announcement: Three Ways To Help Us Fill Our Pantry!

Our food pantry is low on certain items and we need your help to ensure that we can continue to provide food to those struggling with homelessness and poverty.

To help, you can:

Donate online through our Amazon Wish List: https://bit.ly/2KDiVMf

Hold a food drive and download the flyer: https://bit.ly/2Ns201x

Purchase and drop off the following items:

  • Cases of Bottled Water (16oz bottles)
  • Fruit Juice (100% fruit)
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Pancake Mix
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Hamburger Helper

Donate anything in the list above, 24/7 by dropping them off at 10 Hudson Street in Annapolis. Thank you for your support!

Announcement: Free Yoga Sessions at The Light House

Our staff, volunteers, and clients have been loving these healthy and healing sessions. Thank you to instructor Leslie Gibbons, founder of Root To Rise Yoga, and to Nature Sacred for making this possible by generously sponsoring two yoga sessions per month!

Upcoming Dates:

September 12th at 12 PM
September 26th at 7 PM

October 10th at 12 PM
October 24th at 7 PM

RSVP to Kait Dawson at kdawson@annapolislighthouse.org, and be sure to bring your own yoga mat and water bottle. All are welcome!

Client Spotlight: Rebecca

“In 2013 I had moved to Maryland with desperation for a much-needed change in my life. Unwilling to fully surrender to my addiction I was lost and hopeless. My husband had just died resulting from a fatal overdose and with devastation in my heart I used drugs to cope. My life had become unmanageable to the point where I felt rock bottom had a basement. After successfully entering and completing treatment, I contacted The Light House and was accepted into the B.E.S.T. Culinary Program. I finally had career goals and my path made sense. Contacting The Light House was one of the best decisions I had made in a long time. I had the opportunity to learn and give back to others in need at the same time. That feeling was priceless…

“Thank you to The Light House for being a foundation to build on, to the volunteers for providing their time to a place of hope, and to the residents for showing me that no matter what obstacles you may be faced with, there’s always something to be grateful for…The Light House and B.E.S.T. Program have shown me that anything is possible if you are open minded and willing to learn. It can be done, I just did it!” – Rebecca, B.E.S.T. Culinary Graduate