Altrusa Annual April Shower
Eight years ago we invited Bill and Joanne Cala of Joining Hearts and Hands to present an update on their work building schools in Kenya. We have partnered with them to both build an entire classroom and fund two scholarships for girls to attend high school. The idea to invite guests beyond the club membership spurred the search for a large enough facility and a means of serving a simple catered supper. Thus was our first April Shower born.
The second year we were aware of the need of families who must raise children whose parents have been incarcerated or killed. The Catholic Family Charities group sponsored support for them, known as Kinship Care and were in desperate need of all those wonderful items that any baby shower bestows on an expectant mother. Members and guests filled the Christ Church community room once again, this time with blankets, diapers, outfits and so much more.
Our third year we invited our guests to bring pampering toiletry items and such which we all assembled into shower caddy baskets to be presented to women arriving at Jennifer House, a post-prison outreach ministry of Spiritus Christi.
Year four was focused on the libraries at both School 42 and the Rochester International Academy. At RIA immigrant children from grades two to twelve arrive in hopes of learning English while simultaneously learning New York State Regents curriculum for their age level, whether they could read at that level or not. Many wonderful books were purchased and donated to both libraries.
Year five we were thrilled to partner with Maggie Harris of the Community Lutheran Ministry on Joseph Avenue. Maggie runs after-school programs and summer camps, helping keep up to 200 children off the streets and engaged in safe learning situations. We filled the room with aproximately 50 invited guests and members who brought many items on Maggie's Summer Camp Wish List.
Our sixth shower beneficiary was The Women's Place, a program of the Catholic Family Center. The Women's Place is a 19 bedroom temporary shelter for single women and women with children awaiting permanent housing. The Women's Place goal is to provide homeless families and individuals with shelter while helping to move them into permanent housing.
Our seventh shower beneficiary was Cameron Community Ministries After School Program. The after school program is for elementary school children who attend School #54. The primary emphasis is on homework completion, tutoring, positive behavior and conflict resolution.
Our April 2017 Shower beneficiary was the Open Door Mission's Residential Home for Women and Children. This program will provide transitional housing and support services for homeless students and their moms. It is designed to be flexible so that, based on the needs of the family, the families may stay there for 3 months to a year. Referrals to this program will be coming from the school districts for the homeless students program. During their stay, they will have 24-7 staff, case management, job training, family counseling, and spiritual discipleship. This program is contracted with RTS to provide transportation and are also contracted with the daycare next to the facility to provide additional childcare. Upon completion of the program, families will be supported with case management for 1 year to ensure their care plans are maintained.
Our speaker for the evening was Anna Valeria-Iseman, Director of Development at the Open Door Mission. Anna is a graduate of Roberts Weseleyan College with a degree in Religion and Philospophy. She was a case worker for several years for various social sevice providers and agencies, until being asked to create and start up a new program for the Open Door Mission to serve and house women and children.
A portion of the proceeds from the Gift Basket raffle was donated to Open Door Mission's Residential Home for Women and Children. Our guests were asked to bring an item or two from the "Open Door Mission Residential Home Wish List".