They make fleece blankets for Seasonal Shelter guests. They put together welcome bags for children staying in the Haven shelter… Who are these Haven superheroes?
Last month, after 3 years of homelessness, Ethan moved into his new apartment. Renee Weeks, the Haven’s Director of Shelter & Clinical Services, drove him there and helped unload a few belongings that he brought with him.
This month we sat down with Director of Shelter & Clinical Services Renee Weeks to learn more about her role at The Upper Valley Haven.
“I was really struggling when Nancy at the Haven told me a bed had opened up in the Hixon House Adult Shelter. This was my chance to finally get the help I needed and get my life back.”
At age 3, Wesley Stocken became involved in volunteer service when his family made peppermint ice cream for cancer patients. The Stocken family wanted something they could do together (with boys ages 3, 8, and 9) that would make a difference.
For the past three years during the holidays, Laura Di Piazza has donated her expertise as a calligrapher and created special ornaments for guests living in the Haven’s shelters.
Overlook the Label
“It takes time to go from a lifetime of living in fear and uncertainty to a stable, safe environment. There’s a lot more to ‘adjusting’ than people think. It’s a process. This is a whole new world for us.”
On October 16, 2015, Elizabeth and her eleven-year-old daughter, Violet, will celebrate their one-year anniversary of living in their own apartment. It has been a long road to get where they are today, but Elizabeth is proud of their progress.
“Creating a community where people find hope and discover possibility…”
Much of our work at the Haven focuses on opening doors—that is, welcoming people warmly and without judgment, and helping them eliminate barriers in their lives so they can move forward on a clearer, less encumbered path.
“I’m really not sure where we would be without the Haven. We were out of options and had nowhere to go. The Byrne House Family Shelter gave us a temporary place to call home while we figured out what we were going to do next.
Larch Miller, who celebrated her 85th birthday last month, volunteers at the Food Shelf desk every Friday. She is well known and loved at the Haven, having volunteered in different capacities over the last 13 years. In her role at the Food Shelf, Larch greets visitors, answers the phone, and in between, she knits.
In “The Story of the Day”, Service Coordinator Tara Mullen describes her meeting earlier this week with a homeless adult seeking assistance. She captures some of the struggles he faces, how the Haven has been able to help, and shares some personal insight into what it is like to do her job.