By Lisa Paul Sierk, YWCA Vice President of Advancement – In June 2010, Cleveland’s own Connie Schultz wrote an article for her column in the Plain Dealer titled, “At 18, foster care is over, and it’s bon voyage, little girl” which continues to drive support to the YWCA’s Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) program; NIA offers a trauma-informed system of care for homeless young adults, most of whom come from foster care.
Fast forward four years, and we come to this past Spring where a high school sophomore from Shaker Heights read the Schultz article and then set out to create an event – an Ergathon. As a member of her school’s rowing team, this young philanthropist gathered her friends and held a row-a-thon at the work out facility. Each fundraiser asked for pledges that were collected and sent to help those youth in our NIA program.
From this Ergathon, YWCA met the mother of our energetic event planner and learned about an amazing group: Eastside Welcome Club (EWC). When mom shared the NIA story with the women in EWC, the group voted to adopt YWCA’s NIA as its philanthropy focus for the year. They have already provided gift cards and much needed pantry and household items for the 23 young men and women, and 7 children, who reside at Independence Place – a permanent supportive housing unit for the formerly homeless between the ages of 18 and 24.
YWeAct… to change the trajectory of the lives of the homeless in our community. This young woman and her mother are doing just that.
Now, maybe ergathons are not your thing (erga… what?!), but are you or do you know a young philanthropist? Are you a member of an amazing group that looks for great projects that make a difference in our community? Would you like to donate your time, talents or treasures?