The holidays provided a wonderful ending to a great year at Sheffield Place. Foundations, corporations, civic groups, sororities, professional associations, congregations, and individuals provided financial support, gifts for the families, supplies, and a wonderful sense of caring for the homeless mothers and families we serve. One mother – let’s call her Cora – expressed her appreciation to the organization that adopted her family through a letter:
“I would like to thank you for adopting us. I have been clean and sober for almost 7 years. Before that, I was homeless and addicted to crack for 13 years. I lost three children to the State. My mom and dad were both alcoholics. I went into the (foster care) system at age 11 and stayed there until I turned 18. I have made many poor choices. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I turned my life around. I lived at Sheffield Place for nearly 2 years. Sheffield Place taught me how to live my life. I’ve been in my own apartment for almost 2 years. I have a part-time job and am trying to obtain a GED. I am involved in the alumni group at Sheffield Place. Thank you so much.”
This mother clearly has experienced a new beginning. Her success in overcoming addiction, gaining employment, bringing up her child, and improving her education inspires the other alumni moms and the current residents to keep working toward their goals. Her example of a new beginning also encourages volunteers and members of the staff in their daily work.
As an agency, Sheffield Place has also experienced a new beginning this year by substantially expanding the number of people we serve and the depth and breadth of the services we offer. For example:
- The number homeless mothers and children we served in 2011 (50 families) was 150% more than the 20 families the agency served in 2010.
- The hours of service (individual therapy, group therapy, educational groups) the residents are required to receive expanded to 10 hours per week.
- The expanded programming includes work readiness and personal financial management, a community garden to teach good nutrition, pet and music therapy, and a mentoring group in which the mothers share and teach their particular skills such as cooking, knitting, or first aid.
- A new outpatient case management program provides continuing support to 20 families that have transitioned to permanent housing and case management for up to 75 homeless women and their children who need non-residential services case management and other supportive services.
- The Missouri Department of Mental Health granted provision certification with full certification expected in 2012.
The New Year will bring a host of new beginnings for the families at Sheffield Place. Fifty homeless families will receive the residential, treatment, and supportive services they need to follow in Cora’s footsteps on the path to self-sufficiency. Dozens of other families will receive the outpatient services they need to remain or become self-sufficient.
For all of this, Sheffield Place is deeply grateful to our many friends and supporters in Kansas City and well beyond. To each of you, I wish a very Happy New Year!