Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Charity Tuesday: Covenant House

Hello Everyone,

As we all know, spotlighting charities and worthwhile causes is important to SR.

As a group, Elli, Coco, Sere and I are also dedicated to promoting these endeavors. Therefore, we are happy to post a weekly series in order to take a more in-depth look at the various charitable organizations highlighted by SR. You can find a complete list of these charities on our blog by clicking on the "About the Charities" header.

Today's charity spotlight was submitted by one of our readers, Terry, who wanted to share her experiences with all of us.

We hope you will find the information in these posts informative and educational. If you have a particular cause that is close to your heart or you have personal experiences with any of the charities we spotlight, please feel free to contact us about it.

Take Care,

PS Today is the final day of our fundraising campaign to aid those affected by the tragedies in Boston and West, Texas earlier this month. To date, we have raised $2,660.00.  Thank you, Everyone for your efforts in making this endeavor such a success.

If you donate a minimum of $5.00 to either the American Red Cross, your local chapter of the Red Cross or to The One Fund Boston, simply email a copy of your receipt to me at jenn@argyleempire.com. Then enter the giveaway posted at the top of our homepage.

The fundraiser concludes at midnight Pacific Time this evening. Winners will be randomly selected on May 1st and notified by May 3.

I was very fortunate to be raised by my single mom who was a fervent believer in the Jewish concept of Tikkun olam, or, “heal the world.” We were not observant by any means, but that phrase and the sentiment behind it has guided me since childhood and is the most active element of my faith. The idea that no matter how little you may have, you can help those who have even less is something that motivates me to try to be an active helper.  Both my nursing and teaching careers are rooted in my desire to heal – the mind, the body, the soul.  I wasn’t raised to sit on the sidelines by a mom who was a dedicated volunteer herself.

My charitable involvement with Covenant House Philadelphia is relatively recent, however, and is directly related to a storm and an author, both converging at the same time.  Hurricane Sandy blew through Philadelphia in late Fall 2012 and luckily left us relatively unscathed, but the tri-state area was devastated. Grass roots groups cropped up to deliver food and clothing, and I volunteered to join them.  Like in most disasters, the spirit of volunteerism surfaced with a ferocious energy, and I spent several days helping to deliver food and clothing to those affected in upstate Pennsylvania.  As the Red Cross moved in and opened shelters, less of the grass roots efforts were necessary. 

At just about the same time, something SR posted on his website about the effects of the storm caught my attention (as most things SR writes. Well, all things. )

Covenant House.  I'm including them because their house in Atlantic City, New Jersey had to be evacuated. Covenant House provides a safe place for teens in crisis, many of whom are running from abusive households. If you can, please consider giving to the Atlantic City Covenant House to help them continue to provide a home for their youth. (SR)

Living in Philadelphia, of course I had heard of Covenant House- -the local facility is not far from where I work. But SR’s posting grabbed my attention. Kids in crisis.  If I was frightened of Sandy as an adult (who sustained relatively little damage), what about the trauma to kids who were right in the middle of the superstorm’s flooding, darkness, and devastation and had who lost everything? What must they be experiencing? What could I do to help in the long-term?

I pulled together my staff at work who also felt the need to help. Together we purchased and packed up the necessities – cleaning supplies, clothes, toiletries, blankets.  When I dropped them off at Covenant House Atlantic City, I was inspired to see how ready these kids were to rebuild.  These are not just “teenagers.” They are teens who have seen  and experienced too much of the abhorrent side of life and are getting the help Covenant House provides in order to help them move away from the danger of the streets.  They are so wounded, yet so brave. I wanted to get involved in some way, but 120 miles is a long way to drive to routinely volunteer.

I did the next best thing. I called Covenant House- Philadelphia and asked how I could help our local facility.  Winter can be exceptionally cold here on the East Coast, so I was asked to collect as many coats and blankets as I could. Philadelphia may be full of history, but is also a gritty city, full of poverty and desperation for far too many. I see homeless kids every day warming up in the lobby of the hospital, or sitting on the subway steps.  Kids.  Homeless runaways, hungry, exceptionally vulnerable, and very scared. Now, at least, I could help Covenant House keep them warm.


I am fortunate to work at Temple University Hospital, a medical center whose mission is to care for the underserved and poverty-stricken.  Because the nurses there are so sensitive to the needs of the immediate community, before I knew it, my office was filled with donated coats, sweaters, and blankets. So much was donated, in fact, that I needed my nurse- colleagues to help me deliver it. And the smiles when we dropped off our donations could light up a room. I know it lit up our hearts. From that time, I was committed to providing blankets and coats to as many teens as I could.

While I would love to work as a nurse directly with the kids, CH requires a full time commitment to do so. Instead, I work my network of friends, colleagues, family, neighbors, and nurses to help collect the needed items that CH provides to both the kids on the street and those who are now residential. When a social service agency such as Covenant House serves over 5000 kids per year through outreach, a crisis center, and transitional living programs, their needs are significant, and sadly, endless. Every two weeks, I pack up my car with donated and/or purchased items and off I go.  The staff has come to expect me, and that makes my heart very, very happy.  I’ve tried not to let my chemo treatments slow me down with my deliveries, and so far, I’ve been able to stay on schedule.

If there’s a message in any of my experience, it is that to do Tikkun olam is something everyone can do, regardless of faith. We are responsible for one another, especially the most vulnerable among us. And thanks to SR’s post and his own dedication to Covenant House Toronto, I have been given the opportunity to aid an organization that heals, if not the world, but many of the defenseless in it.

If you live in or near one of the areas listed below, please consider calling your local Covenant House to see how you too can help. I know they will be grateful to hear from you.


Covenant House is dedicated to serving all God's children with absolute respect and unconditional love ... to help suffering homeless kids ... and to protect and safeguard all children in need.

Anchorage, AK
Los Angeles, CA
Oakland, CA
Washington, D.C.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Orlando, FL
Atlanta, GA
New Orleans, LA

Detroit, MI
St. Louis, MO
Atlantic City, NJ
Newark, NJ
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Houston, TX
Vancouver, British Coumbia
Mexico City, Mexico

Web site: http://www.covenanthouse.org/
Twitter: @CovenantHouse
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CovenantHouse



MHS Bibliofiles said...

Terry, this was so moving. I cried. I know how hard it is to see kids suffer. I admire you.

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