This year, as I begin my second year as President of Micah House, I share with you my gratitude to the Micah House Board members with whom I serve. Our Board members primarily hail from the Temple Micah community as has been the case over the years. And, we reflect the diversity of the Temple Micah community. We range in age from our late twenties to mid-seventies. Many of us are parents, and some of us have grandchildren. We include lawyers, a PhD candidate, a retired foreign service officer and retired financial executive, and a middle school guidance counselor and others in varied fields.
Board members Amy Berman and Stacy Cloyd have graciously agreed to serve as the First Vice President and Second Vice President, respectively, so that we may plan for an orderly leadership transition over the next few years. Suzanne Griffith, who has been our terrific treasurer since 2008, will be leaving the Board at the end of 2015. David Adler, who recently served as the Temple Micah Treasurer, has agreed to become the Micah House Treasurer in 2016.
Our 25th year serving women was an exciting one, with a special Temple Micah/Micah House service this past fall. Another highlight of the year was the establishment of the Orwin Scholarship Fund, established through the generosity of Board Member, Rob Orwin. This year we again invited the Marines to join us at our annual Micah House holiday party to present them with the toys that the Micah House Board and Micah House residents were donating to Toys for Tots which is sponsored by the Marines. And we even got a few pictures of us receiving a certificate from the Marines as a thank you for our donation.
Three of our four residents will be leaving this year. Cynthia, our case manager, will take the lead in contacting appropriate agencies and programs to publicize the availability of places in our program; interviewing prospective residents; and, introducing the final candidates to the Micah House Board and current Micah House residents for approvals.
This spring, the Micah House Walk will take place on April 26th. For the first time this year, thanks to Micah House Board member, Amy Berman, and Rabbi Josh Beraha, the fifth grade Micah Mahon class is taking an active role in publicizing this event, as you will learn more about further on. We hope you will all join us either on the walk or as virtual walker.
-- Ann Sablosky
Save the Date for the Micah House Walk!
Block off April 26 from 11:45-12:45 on your calendars and make sure your walking shoes are in good order--it's time for Micah House's biggest fundraising event of the year. You can sign up to walk here. Virtual walkers, who are unable to attend but wish to donate to Micah House, are also welcome to register.
The walk will be leaving from Temple Micah (with refreshments to follow). Present for the walk will be residents of the house and the case manager. Additionally, this is the inaugural year that the 5th grade Machon Micah class is actively working to lead efforts surrounding the walk. This began in March with the 5th graders participating in a discussion with a current Micah House resident and the case manager. Cynthia, the case manager, shared the mission of the house and the role the House and she plays in assisting the women on a path of recovery. The resident shared the story of her addiction, her journey to the house, what she has gained from being in the house, and her hopes for the future. The 5th graders asked important and relevant discussion and then everyone engaged in a text study.
The walk is short and on sidewalks in the neighborhood near Temple Micah. After the walk, participants can enjoy light refreshments in the Social Hall. We hope for a great turnout in support of Micah House!
Honoring Our Residents' Successes
Lajuanna is employed at Forman Mills as a sales associate. She celebrated a birthday in January and spent time with family and friends. Lajuanna continues to maintain her sobriety. Although she has been at Micah House for a few months shy of the typical two-year stay, she will depart Micah House in early April for a wonderful reason: to enter permanently affordable housing.
F.S. continues to be employed at Home Depot and maintain her sobriety. She celebrated her birthday in February with friends and family.
Candice continues to work full-time as a security guard. She is in the process of taking classes to be certified to work Homeland Security. Candice has acquired a car, drives for Uber and works part-time at the Convention Center. She is maintaining her sobriety and often visits with friends and family.
Holiday Potluck Helps Others
A potluck dinner in December allowed Micah House residents, alumnae, board members, and families to enjoy a night of food and friendship. Attendees also donated toys; since Toys for Tots is run by the Marine Corps, we were visited by two Marines who collected the gifts and thanked us for our contributions!
New Fund Furthers Education
The Orwin Scholarship Fund for Micah House Residents (Scholarship Fund for short) is now live! With initial funding through a contribution from board member Rob Orwin, the Scholarship Fund aims to expand economic opportunity for Micah House residents and alumnae through grants for educational activities. Qualifying programs include those leading to a bachelor's or associate's degree, technical certifications and other vocational training, GED preparation and fees, and potentially other programs and expenses on a case-by-case basis.
We are excited to announce that the Scholarship Fund has just made its first award! One of our current residents, an employee at a protective services company, is receiving a grant for $1,200 to cover the cost of several professional development courses with Federal Protective Services. These courses will qualify her as a Protective Security Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, which in turn will allow her to provide security for any federal government building.
A Very Special Micah House Service
Micah House's 25th anniversary was a time to celebrate. It was also an opportunity to ponder the societal issues that necessitated the organization's beginnings, and that make its continued existence so valuable.
The Micah House service included a beautiful tribute from Rabbi Danny Zemel to those who have supported Micah House through the years. It also featured a speech by current resident Candice, who has used her time at Micah House to advance her career as a security guard and take on a second job as an Uber driver. Candice has maintained sobriety, deepened her connections to family, and started planning for her life after Micah House. Her speech was extremely moving and served as a wonderful reminder of how two years of transitional housing at Micah House can be a critical support during a vulnerable time in women's lives.
After the service, Micah House supporters gathered in Temple Micah's social hall for a delicious dinner and a thought-provoking panel discussion. Kristyn Carrillo of N Street Village; Ed Lazere of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Temple Micah board, who is also a former president of the Micah House board; and Charles Thornton of the DC Office of Returning Citizens Affairs shared their time and expertise. They talked about the intersection between substance use and homelessness, the criminal justice system, and mental health--and also focused on what governments and nonprofits can do to help people encountering these challenges.
Thank You to Our Helpers!
The four current residents of Micah House all now have smartphones, thanks to the generosity of several donors. Smartphones help Micah House residents stay in touch with family, friends, employers, and sponsors. They allow residents to look up when the next bus or train is coming, check the weather, and do lots of other tasks that make their lives easier.
Several "handypeople" continue to improve Micah House and the lives of its residents, too! Teddy Klaus fixed a doorknob and a toilet, and assembled a new dresser. Ed Lazere bled the radiators. Board member Arlyn Riskind arranged for the house's gutters to be cleaned and inspected, and board members Ann Sablosky and Bev Yett coordinated the replacement of several mattresses that were past their prime. These maintenance activities helped Micah House residents stay warm, safe, and comfortable this winter.
Micah House was pleased to welcome David Adler to the board for a three-year term. David and his wife Martha are long-time supporters of Micah House and he has already provided good ideas and a willingness to pitch in for a variety of matters.
At the February board meeting, 2015 officers were elected. Ann Sablosky will continue as board president. Amy Berman and Stacy Cloyd are the first and second vice presidents, respectively. Ben Moss will continue as secretary and Suzanne Griffith as treasurer.