DOUBLE YOUR DONATION IN DECEMBER!

This December, you can double your donation to the work of the Next Step. A generous donor made a Challenge Grant. They will match your donations up to $20,000! Let’s make sure we don’t leave any of those dollars unclaimed!

We do important work in our community. Your gift this December will make you a part of great stories like Jake and Matt’s*.

Jake is a young man with autism. It’s often difficult for him to control his emotions. Sometimes his anger gets the best of him. His family told him to leave home when he turned 18. Jake was homeless and hungry; trying to finish high school.

Can you imagine being homeless and going to school cold, wet, and unwashed?

Jake was living behind a car dealership. We met Jake when he came to the Cold Weather Shelter, looking for a safe, warm place to spend a freezing night. A volunteer suggested he visit our Drop-In Center where we connect people to resources.

 

Matt is a veteran. He was a firefighter and had a successful painting and wallpapering business. His wife left him, taking everything. Matt came to Seattle with the promise of a job - his boss never paid him. Matt became homeless and eventually found his way to Monroe.

It’s almost impossible to find or keep a job if you’re homeless...you have no address.

We’ve known Matt for almost five years. He comes to our Drop-In Center nearly every day we’re open...we are his community. Matt desperately wants to work - to be productive. He has a lot of skills but being homeless is a huge barrier. 

Jake and Matt met at our Community Dinner. Matt has experience caring for a disabled young man. He understood what Jake was going through and they became friends.

Our Drop-In Center Director, Janos, had an idea.  Could Matt and Jake be roommates in the motel while we worked to find more permanent housing for Jake?  Matt could make sure that Jake got up and went to school. He’d look out for Jake, help him make good decisions, and keep him from being taken advantage of by his “friends”.

That was a great idea and good things began to happen in Jake’s and Matt’s lives because of our hugely generous community. You’re part of it! 

Your donations deliver friendship, help, and hope to our neighbors in need.

Janos and a dedicated volunteer worked with a total of 14 organizations, agencies, churches, and even a home owners’ organization that all came together in support of Jake and Matt.

With a safe, warm place to stay, and food to eat, Jake was able to graduate high school!  That one volunteer and our staff helped Jake to be evaluated, process applications, and qualify for disability assistance that provides for safe and stable housing and training.

Jake is in a residential program, learning how to live on his own and new skills for life.

 

Matt found a sense of purpose in his life. He came alive. That’s what happens when we give of ourselves to help others. Matt was noticeably more confident and frequently offers to help out in the Drop-In Center and for our Community Dinners.
 

Matt reconnected with his family. They’re encouraging and supporting him in his own next steps.

We can’t change what’s gone on in the lives of people like Jake and Matt.

But it is your gift that will give them, and many others like them, a hope for the future as they struggle to escape homelessness and poverty.

For us it’s real and personal...and there is a lot to do.

  • This year we will have more than 8,000 visits to our Community Resource Drop-In Center. One-third of those visitors will be homeless, including 800 children.
  • We will serve more than 12,000 meals - all prepared and served by volunteers.
  • We’ll teach 1,200 hours of life skills classes to homeless and low income friends.
  • Nearly 100 elementary aged children who live in poverty will come to Kidz Club, our after school program. There, they find help with homework, improve reading and math skills, and learn skills for life. Their teachers say we help them get ready to really learn.
  • Teen moms meet regularly in a support group and with their individual mentors and a licensed counselor - they are Growing Together.
  • Every week we see 30 - 40 homeless and street-involved teens. Our Youth Advocate meets with them to help them discover how to overcome barriers and addictions, find safe housing, go back to school, get jobs, and make big, positive changes in their lives.

Your donations make all that possible and more.

We take seriously our responsibility to you. We are passionate about keeping our overhead low so that we can deliver more services to our neighbors in need. With only five part time staff, we rely on the help of 250 volunteers and generous donors and their gifts of food, clothing, and services in addition to cash donations.

In 2013, we multiplied every dollar donated to the Next Step into $6.77 of service to our community.  Take the Next Step is a great place to invest your charitable giving.

Please join us in offering friendship, help, and hope to our neighbors in need like Jake and Matt. They were able to take their own next steps toward a more fulfilling and productive life because of your gifts.

Your gift will be put to work making a real difference in many lives!

With gratitude and best wishes for a wonderful Christmastime,

Donna Olson

Executive Director

P.S.  Please don’t let this Challenge Grant slip through our fingers. Doubling your gift this December is so important to our work and our community. Please use the enclosed card and envelope to make your gift, or donate online. You gift will make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need who are working hard to take their own next steps.

Thank you!