Never Liked – Always Liked

A few weeks ago during the Write to Heal and Have Fun group, leader Julie Gardner gave the prompt, I Have Never Liked. The women wrote for five minutes. At the end she asked them to write the words, I’ve Always Liked and complete the sentence with one thing.

Julie said, “I was touched by the deep things and simple things the women wrote. The last lines were strong. All showed gratitude for big and little things.” She liked that the pieces shared some of the hardships of homeless and formerly homeless women which invites understanding and compassion from readers. And she added, “We had fun.”

Never Liked, Always Liked
Diana Balgaard

I never liked junk mail, paperwork,

cooking, stone faced people,

narcissism, authority figures, men

with large egos.

Football, baseball,

canned laughter.

Muddy walks, dirty water, loud

obnoxious people,

people who

talk constantly about nothing.

On the bus, seeing elders without seats.

Uphill climbs,

crowds

of people marching toward me.

But I’ve always liked

heart to heart conversations

 

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

December is a very busy month at Mary’s Place and we are starting to plan for holiday meals, Santa’s visit, and lots of shopping and wrapping! We need lots and lots of volunteers – individuals and groups to make it all happen. If you can help, email erin@marysplaceseattle.org.

Saturday, December 13 – Holiday Meal and the Santa Stor  This year our holiday celebration dinner and Santa Store for kids to shop for moms, dads, and grandmas will be held at the Seattle Center. New this year, young ladies can pick out a new Christmas dress at the Dress Corner! We need volunteers to help as greeters, holiday meal servers, personal shoppers at the Santa Store, help kids shop and wrap the presents they pick our for their families, and dress fitters.

December 15-17  The Santa Store at the Mary’s Place Day Center is where moms, dads, and grandmas shop for gifts for their children. We need volunteers to help lead crafts for the kids while they wait for their parents to shop and to help with lunch prep and serving.

Monday, December 22 – Pictures with Santa  Santa will visit the Mary’s Place Day Center from 10am-1pm for pictures! We need a photographer to take pictures of kids, women and families with Santa, people to lead game and crafts to keep the kids busy while they’re waiting to see Santa, carolers, and help preparing and serving lunch.

Tuesday, December 23 – Bon Mary’s Holiday Sale  It’s the last shopping day of the year and an all-day shopping extravaganza at the Mary’s Place Day Center! There will be a Bon Mary’s for the adults and Bon Jr.’s for the kids. We nee personal shoppers, volunteers to set up and restock the store shelves, gift wrappers, and help preparing and serving lunch.

Thursday, December 25 – Christmas Day  Mary’s Place Day Center is closed on Christmas Day, but all of our family night shelters will be open all day. We need volunteers to bring in a special holiday lunch for our families at one of the three locations: Julia’s Place in Madrona (22 people), Emergency Family Shelter in Belltown (48 people), and Bianca’s Place in South Lake Union (80 people); and there are lots of opportunities to host games, decorate cookies, and help our families celebrate the day.

We need you to help make the holidays special for our women, children and families! Contact Erin@marysplaceseattle.org for more information or to sign up.

Julia’s Place Celebrates Two Years in Madrona

Two years ago this month, Pastor Mark Zimmerly from Madrona Grace heard that Mary’s Place was offering night shelter for families that rotated between several area congregations. He wanted to help, and offered the use of the Madrona Grace basement to help homeless families year round. The Presbyterian Network to End Homelessness volunteered to help renovate the space and the Pritt family donated funds to the endeavor. The shelter, that now houses 25 family members each night, became Julia’s Place, named after Julia Pritt, a long-standing member of the Madrona Grace congregation.

The Madrona community has supported the families at Julia’s Place by bringing in meals each night, groceries, blankets, love and community. This year, the Julia’s Place staff, Jocelyn, had some wonderful stories of her time at Julia’s Place. She recalled a six-year old African girl, Hana, who developed a deep sister-friendship with another family’s daughter, two-year-old Ilse. Every evening the two played together, and even though they spoke different languages their hearts sung! Ilse looked up to Hana and followed her around wherever she went. When Hana’s family was suddenly offered a home, they packed up their things to move out of Julia’s Place. Hana said goodbye and hugged all the families, but she spent time saying a special goodbye to Ilse’s family. It was a bittersweet moment for everyone at Julia’s Place.

Jocelyn was touched by a mother who had been a Christian singer in Mexico and had a CD of beautiful songs. She remained artistically inspired and drew beautiful scenes each day and hung them up in Julia’s Place to brighten the space.

In 2013, Julia’s Place provided over 6,000 bed nights families who would otherwise be on the streets. The need continues to grow and this year already Julia’s Place has provided 4,800 bed nights.

You can learn more about Julia’s Place and how you can get more involved at an Open House on October 14th from 6pm to 8pm at Madrona Grace Presbyterian Chuch, 832 32nd Ave. Seattle. RSVP to Abbey@marysplaceseattle.org. More at www.Juliasplace.org.