News and Musings:
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
In Leah's Words: A New Chapter in Our Lives Has Begun
We don't have to explain the change participants experience at BHA when people as articulate as Leah are doing it, here during the 20/20 Vision Campaign Celebration on October 29.
Leah came to BHA’s Transitions program this summer without a lot of options in her life. She needed a fresh start and housing for her and Julien, her 4 year-old son. I got to know Leah while teaching our inaugural Jobs for Life course this fall. Jobs for Life is an intensive career training program, but Leah can tell it better than I can.
Donate to help BHA enable life changes for more moms like Leah.
Leah is a communications major at HACC. After graduating from the Jobs for Life course, she agreed to speak about her class experience at our 20/20 Vision Campaign Celebration on October 29. With her classmates by her side, Leah stood in front of over 250 BHA supporters and community leaders and shared the following remarks:
First off, the women and families at BHA would like to thank everyone who makes this program possible. Each donation be it monetary, material, hour of work, hour of volunteer time, and kind word of advice or encouragement means the world to us participants and our families. You are truly doing God’s work, inspiring and strengthening lives.
From Steve Schwartz:
I was holding back tears as Leah closed. (Her long-term goal is to work in radio, and I learned she is up to the task!)
It is said that true strength and wisdom comes from experiencing adversity in life. Seeing that we are participating in this program we have all had our fair share of struggle and strife.
In the past few months we’ve had the opportunity to complete career training called Jobs for Life. To be honest, for many of us in the beginning the only thing we enjoyed about this class were the meals provided. Most of us—worn out by this time in the evening and having undesirable involvements with government required job search programs—questioned the idea of using precious family time to hear and do more of the same. We had a negative, one-sided view of what the work world was like and would have pretty much settled for any job that was offered to support our families.
Needless to say, we were wrong.
The meals were still nice, but two or three sessions into it we realized that Jobs for Life was something extraordinary. The concept of using Christian principles to excel in the work world was completely foreign to us. We started to open up about the damaging experiences we’ve had in previous jobs and learn that we were not alone. As Bethe, one participant, said “We developed a relationship between staff and participants that began to enhance the experience.”
Jasmin states that by the third or fourth class she became excited and it was very clear to her the benefits of attending this class. The instructors taught us to identify our physical and emotional roadblocks and turn those negatives into positives. We learned the five P’s of being successful during an interview. Mock interviews were conducted so that we could apply these skills in a realistic situation. Through employer panels we got inside views of what employers look for, and we were given the opportunity to ask pressing and sometimes personal questions that everyone wants to know.
More over, we learned that some of these highly successful people started in positions similar to ours. As students, we developed our interests into a career plan using a career key. By doing this we gained insight and we were able to set realistic short and long-term goals. We gained confidence in our abilities, and also courage. Most importantly we learned that God is with us in everything we do, even professionally. Having the faith to overcome rejection, and turn roadblocks into mere speed bumps rings true for every human being on earth.
Jesus says in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
A new chapter in our lives has begun. Our attitudes have shifted greatly. We are powerful, positive, dedicated, courageous, professional women. Again, we thank you for your part in this.
Why was I so emotional? Because I’m proud of Leah? Of course. Because she was impacted by our Jobs for Life course? Yes. But I’m also moved because I realized how privileged I was to walk alongside Leah and the other moms in this class…and learn together.
I’ve been leading BHA almost 10 years now and teaching this class was just about the most fulfilling thing I have done. The job isn’t getting old. It keeps getting more exciting! I see first-hand how our work remains vital, thanks to a strong staff team and a generous community of support.
In September we cut the ribbon on the Ray Diener House, a former crack house masterfully rehabilitated. In October the first family moved in. Once again homeless families are blessed because the BHA family cares deeply.
September 30 marked the end of the $2.25 million 20/20 Vision organizational expansion campaign, and I was excited to share at our celebration event that we surpassed our goal by raising $2.54 million! That success is thanks to you and more than 1,000 contributing supporters making sacrifices so that people like Leah and Julien could have a new start. $2.54 million has been invested in the lives of more women, youth and a restored neighborhood thanks to your generosity.
Now we can look out on the horizon and see even more life-changing potential than we’d envisioned:
Volunteer Service House: Our new volunteer coordinator, Chris Epp, is readying plans for the launch of a VS House on Hummel Street: housing four to six full-time volunteers living in community, working with the families at BHA, and being good neighbors.
Children and Youth Partnership: This month we are launching a partnership with Dauphin County Children and Youth to jointly serve four new families in a newly purchased building. These families have struggled with parenting and are at risk of losing housing and custody of their children. Our joint goal is help them find stability, gainful employment and housing.
Hummel Street Townhouses: In partnership with PinnacleHealth System, BHA is acquiring and demolishing five severely blighted buildings at a strategic location on Hummel Street, replacing them with a new townhouse community for homeless families. Stay tuned for more details!
We are rising to meet new challenges. Even before the Hummel Street Townhouses are built, we anticipate being able to expand our housing program capacity from 24 to 32 families, an increase of 33%! But we can’t do it without your continued support.
As we move out of the 20/20 Vision Campaign, we are excited to be helping many more families and improving our neighborhood impact. To accomplish this, we will count on more than $550,000 from all charitable sources. The recent Campaign Celebration event was a big success toward this goal, raising over $49,000. As of November 15, we still must raise $225,000 through the end of our fiscal year (3/31/14).
Can you help us move beyond the 20/20 Vision Campaign and contribute to our expanding success?
Click here to help us us go beyond the Vision.
I hope you will consider how you can help BHA’s work move forward with Leah and dozens of other mothers and their children. Here are just a few examples of the impact your investment is making:
- $5,000: Provides housing for three families for three months
- $2,500: Supports Youth Program activities for BHA youth for two months
- $1,000: Funds job training for two women
- $500: Funds job training for one women
- $100: Provides food for one fellowship meal for all BHA moms, kids and their mentors
Every dollar counts. Will you join us?
Click here to make a contribution to BHA and open new chapters for more moms like Leah.
Thanks for considering this invitation to again be part of our community of support.
Grace and peace,
P.S. I thought you’d like to know the outcome of our Jobs for Life class. Of the five graduating moms, three have already obtained well-paying jobs with benefits. Another is temping as she seeks stable employment. Leah is a full-time college student and just got an internship with a local radio station. Your giving makes this all possible. Thank you!
The official registration and financial information of Brethren Housing Association
may be obtained from the PA Dept of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania, 1.800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
Posted by Steve Schwartz (12/3/2013 3:24:47 PM | link)
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The Passing of a Dear Friend
It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Becky Kenderdine (Obituary), a dear friend of BHA. As a retired fundraiser, Becky took an interest in helping us with our promotional efforts.
This led her to volunteer many hours helping us plan and prepare events, improve our donation tracking database, and get to know people who could support our work. In many ways her volunteering with us culminated when she coordinated the hosting of our 2010 Concert of Hope featuring Ken Medema, including a lovely dessert reception, at her home church, Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren.
She was a dear friend of our staff and a true believer in our work. She and her late husband Hank cared deeply about the needs of women and children who had faced harsh circumstances in their lives. They invested in many efforts to help these families find stability and hope.
BHA was proud to be one of the organizations Becky and Hank blessed, and Becky's legacy at BHA continues on as she has listed our ministry as a place to make memorial gifts in her honor. If you would like to make a gift in memory of Becky, you can do so here (please enter "Becky Kenderdine Memorial" in the "Notes or special instructions for your gift" field):
Posted by Steve Schwartz (11/21/2013 1:39:40 PM | link)
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Looking Beyond the 20/20 Vision
The 20/20 Vision Campaign was a great success! In programs expanded. In neighborhood investment. In impact to the next generation. In funds raised.
Now we look beyond the 20/20 Vision Campaign, and several exciting projects are on the horizon. In the next 12-24 months we will undertake the following projects:
- Project A: Launching a Volunteer Service House on Hummel Street to house long-term volunteers serving Harrisburg and the Allison Hill neighborhood;
- Project B: Launching a partnership with Dauphin County Children and Youth to serve families in danger of losing their home and custody of their children;
- Project C: Renovating a new apartment building to house three homeless families in transitional housing;
- Project D: Demolishing several blighted properties and building the Hummel Street Townhouses on the corner of Hummel and Haehnlen streets.
PHASE 1: THE NEXT 12 MONTHS
Project A: Volunteer Service House on Hummel Street
To increase our presence on Hummel Street as well as provide for expanded programming in a cost effective manner, we are launching a Volunteer Service House. Our plan is for the building to house 4-6 full-time long-term volunteers living in community, working with the families at BHA, and seeking to be good neighbors in the community. Most of the staff will serve full-time at BHA, though we will also explore providing housing for volunteers or staff members of other local organizations.
Projects B & C: Partnership with Dauphin County Children and Youth; Renovation of New Apartment Building
After working with Dauphin County Children and Youth (DCCY) staff in assisting several families, DCCY approached us about developing an official partnership. BHA will expand to provide 3 newly acquired apartments (see building to right), as well as using one existing apartment, to serve a total of 4 DCCY client families. These families have each lost their children or are in danger of losing their children. Our joint goal is to provide housing stability and the intensive case management and mentoring necessary to help these families achieve housing and family stability.
Through the combined efforts of the Volunteer Service House and DCCY Partnership, we anticipate being able to grow our housing program capacity from 24 families to 32 families, an increase of 33% in one year.
PHASE 2: MONTHS 12-24
Project D: Hummel Street Townhouses
The properties at the corner of Hummel and Haehnlen streets (See right) have long been an eyesore in the Allison Hill neighborhood. Now BHA--in partnership with PinnacleHealth System--is planning to tear down the condemned and collapsing structures and erect the Hummel Street Townhouses. BHA and PinnacleHealth are actively recruiting contractors and material suppliers to donate or discount their services to complete this "extreme home makeover" of blighted properties at 222-224 Hummel Street and 1214-1218 Haehnlen Streets. Demolition is slated to take place by the end of the year, with new construction beginning in the Spring of 2014.
This project will literally transform the 200 block of Hummel Street and the South Allison Hill community in general. Upon completion, BHA's Transitions program for homeless women and children will add five families and housing units within 12-24 months.
If you'd like to make a gift to this exciting expansion, just click here to donate online.
Posted by Steve Schwartz (11/6/2013 12:08:02 AM | link)
Monday, November 04, 2013
250+ Supporters Take BHA Beyond the Vision
The audience sat in rapt attention as first Marsha Banks, a BHA graduate, then Leah Miller, a BHA participant, took the stage and told their story. They were poignant moments, but not the only highlights in a gathering that where many of the 250+ supporters left with smiles...and not a few auction items in hand.
Leah (right, top), a communications major at HACC stood to give a testimony of her struggle with sacrifice and resistance to BHA's Jobs for Life program, realizing part-way through how valuable it really was. Speaking at times for her classmates and fellow BHA moms, she recounted how new it was to consider herself a professional woman and honor God's call for her vocation and self-respecting choices.
Marsha (right, bottom), a graduate of BHA more than ten years ago, recounted her struggle with being a mother of eight children, being addicted to drugs and a dead-end lifestyle. She is now helping moms coming out of prison, not unlike herself, to get on their own feet in a nonprofit organization she founded.
Amidst these stories were myriad other praises. State Representative Patty Kim, United Way Volunteer Coordinator Heidi Neuhaus and Susquehanna Bank executive Jewel Cooper all offered praise for the work they've also supported at Brethren Housing Association.
The evening was much more than enthused speakers. It was also a lively reception and auction, raising money for BHA's work. And in it, Executive Director Steve Schwartz announced some big news, how BHA is already going beyond the 20/20 Vision Campaign it began in 2010. Three new projects are already in the pipeline, taking BHA's work across Hummel Street and expanding our capacity to roll back homeless and blight in Harrisburg. Stay tuned for more details.
Stories of renewal. New projects announced. And so far, over $46,000 raised from sponsors, auction purchases and generous supporters. A lot happened at the October 29 Campaign Celebration. And we have many to be thankful for including our Celebration Committee and Sponsors!
If you want your support to be counted toward BHA and the Campaign Celebration, just click here to donate online.
CAMPAIGN CELEBRATION COMMITTEE
Cyndi Tolsma and Heather Kelly (co-chairs)
Lisa Aumiller, Chris Fitz, Tia Francis, Ann Moyer, Lori Clark Robinson, Janice Ruhl, Edith Sauder, Steve Schwartz and Brent Smith
The Hess Agency
Mette Evans & Woodside
Highmark Health Services
Housing Partner Sponsors
Saul Ewing LLP
Rhoads and Sinon LLP
Patty Kim Family
Ellen and Judd Mellinger-Blouch
St. Jude's Tree Farm
Josh and Linda Stroup
Dave and Cyndi Tolsma
Conrad Siegel Actuaries
RH Getz Construction
Hollinger Services Inc.
Alex and Monika Groff
Steve and Elizabeth Schwartz
And many other generous supporters and patrons.
More than $46,000 was raised from sponsors, donors and attendees, and checks are still coming in. Will we hit $50,000? You can still contribute to BHA and the Campaign Celebration, just click here to make a donation.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EVENING
Executive Director Steve Schwartz shared the exciting news that we surpassed our $2.25 Million 20/20 Vision Campaign goal by over $287,000!
The Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey provided a delicious spread of food
A great time was had by all
BHA supporters donated a lovely array of auction items
Bidding was fiercely generous, thank you supporters!
Alex Groff, Randy Estep and Harvey Kuntz are having a good time
Jewel Cooper from Susquehanna Bank gave an impassioned introduction to the evening, naming the many connections that brought her into the BHA family
PA State Representative Patty Kim attested to why she personally invests in BHA, based on the need she sees every day in her field offices
BHA Graduate Marsha Banks shared her own inspirational story, proceeded by a show-stopping song about gratitude and grace
Program Participant Leah shared "what we learned at the Jobs for Life program" on behalf of the other students in the class
Clarke Witman of Witman Auctioneers helps display a beautiful quilt
The Live Auction generated a lot of fun...and support for BHA's programs for homeless women and children
Heather Kelly (left) and Janice Ruhl were honored and celebrated for their efforts chairing the 20/20 Vision Campaign
Participants, alumni and staff of BHA pose for an evening ending photograph
(See more 20/20 Vision Campaign Celebration pictures on BHA's Facebook page.)
Posted by Chris Fitz (11/4/2013 5:26:24 PM | link)
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Join The Celebration!
Join us for an hors d'oeuvres reception and festive raising of funds through live and silent auctions. We'll celebrate the success of the 20/20 Vision Campaign and go "Beyond the Vision" together.
Doors open at 5:30pm. First silent auction tables close at 6:30pm. Auction services by Witman Auctioneers. Concludes with a dessert social.
Click Here to Register Your Party and Join Us on October 29!
Look what we have to auction!:
Log Cabin Posies Quilt, donated by George and Lois Beck of Messiah College
A Weekend in Ocean City, Maryland thanks to Don and Cathy Martin!
This beautiful set of handmade coffee and end tables was donated (and crafted) by BHA board member Jeff Eisenbise
24 inch by 28 inch framed Mickey Mantle collage: original signed Mickey Mantle photo is accompanied by a set of his cards (reproduced), donated by Michael Phillips
Through the Year Card Basket: blank greeting card set donated by Doneen Dourte
A very colorful "Faith, Hope, and Love," a handmade wall quilt featuring batik fabric on a cream quilted background by Barbara Myers of Ridgeway Community Church of the Brethren
Want a new vision of Central PA? How about this airplane ride out of the Palmyra Airport from Donald Martin
Four books on Amish life and culture signed by the authors--all friends of BHA--from Messiah College and Elizabethtown College, donated by author and BHA Board Member David Weaver-Zercher
(See more auction item pictures on BHA's Facebook page.)
Posted by Steve Schwartz (10/15/2013 12:42:40 PM | link)
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Diener House Ribbon Cut!
What a beautiful day at BHA! The Ray Diener House is finished and we celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Diener Family, community leaders, local media and the many, many volunteers and supporters who made this day possible joined in the celebration.
Here are some highlights:
Almost 100 people joined us in the celebration!
Executive Director Steve Schwartz served as our Master of Ceremonies.
Barb Diener and her family bask in the celebration...and sunshine.
Harrisburg City Council Member Eugenia Smith (who lived in this house in the 1970's!) shares words of appreciation for our efforts to restore the neighborhood.
State Representative Patty Kim offers her congratulations as a long-time friend of BHA.
John Campbell of the Kline Foundation and Gail D'Angelo of the M&T Bank Charitable Foundation share why they invest in projects like this.
Josh Stroup offered words of appreciation on behalf of the Board of Directors, especially thanking long-time Board Member Alex Groff who served as Project Manager for the Diener House renovation.
Time for the ribbon cutting! Barb Diener officially opens the Ray Diener House with her family at her side.
We were aiming for the biggest ribbon cutting line ever...funders, program families, volunteers, community leaders, staff and others who supported the project join in the special moment (continued below)
Pam Reist, Pastor at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren, led us in a closing prayer and blessing of the Ray Diener House
Posted by Steve Schwartz (9/10/2013 8:35:17 PM | link)
Friday, July 26, 2013
YOU'RE INVITED! Diener House Ribbon Cutting Tues, Sept.10
Tuesday, September 10th
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Join BHA, the Diener Family, community leaders and many others who made the complete renovation of this home possible for homeless families.
Take a tour of the new house and the community courtyard adjoining other properties of the BHA campus. Join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Ray Diener's legacy of service lives on in the Diener House, about to be unveiled as a two-unit restored row home for families transitioning out of homelessness. Tragically killed in 2007, Diener, an Elizabethtown-area businessman, inspired hundreds of others in his life. Many of his friends, family and colleagues gave their sweat and earnings to turn this once-blighted building into a beacon of redemption on Harrisburg's South Allison Hill neighborhood.
Light refreshments will be served.
RSVP to Chris Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 233-6016 (ext 22).
LOCATION: The Diener House, 203 1/2 Hummel Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104
Posted by Chris Fitz (7/26/2013 8:22:21 AM | link)
Friday, July 26, 2013
Help Us Launch Jobs for Life
ACTION ITEM: Connect Us With a Small Group of 6-8 People to Provide One Meal AND One Night of Childcare
This August through October we are launching an intensive, life changing job training/Christian discipleship program called Jobs for Life (JfL). We need help providing a meal for 30-40 people each night of the class, and childcare for approx. 20 children while their parents take the course. Can you find a small group from your church, place of employment, or civic group of 6-8 people to commit to ONE NIGHT on the following list of class nights to provide dinner and childcare? Dinner should be ready by 5:30pm and will be served in the Fellowship Hall of Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren. The class is from 6-8pm.
This is a great opportunity for you to make a tangible difference in the lives of the families at BHA! Contact Chris Epp, Volunteer Coordinator, at (717) 233-6016 or email@example.com for more information or to confirm your night of service.
- Mon. Aug. 26
- Thurs. Aug. 29
- Mon. Sept. 2 LABOR DAY – No Class
- Thurs. Sept. 5
- Thurs. Sept. 12
- Mon. Sept. 16
- Thurs. Sept. 19
- Mon. Sept. 30
- Thurs. Oct. 3
BHA Program Participants along with several Bagwashi Circle mentors are taking part in the course
Posted by Steve Schwartz (7/26/2013 8:07:28 AM | link)
Thursday, July 25, 2013
WANTED! Auction Contacts
Can you help recruit donated good, services and gift certificates for our October 29 Beyond The Vision Event? On this evening we'll celebrate the completion of the 20/20 Vision Campaign with an hors d'oeuvres reception with live and silent auctions. We’ll also have some exciting news about upcoming projects!
You can help make the evening extra special by donating or helping to solicit items for our live and silent auctions. Specifically, we are looking for representatives from local churches who can serve as a contact for auction promotional materials and gather donations from their fellow church goers.
Can you help?
If so contact Chris Fitz at (717) 233-6016 ext. 21 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know:
- Your Name
- Your Congregation
- Your Mailing Address, E-mail and Phone Number
Thanks for your consideration!
Posted by Chris Fitz (7/25/2013 3:01:31 PM | link)
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