February 2018 


In recognition of all that you have helped us achieve, we are very pleased to present Shelter House's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2017. Inside, you will learn more about our programs and the impact we made within the community, read stories from individuals who we have served, and recognize the donors, volunteers, and community partners who have made all of these accomplishments possible. 

Whether you raised funds for our campaigns, volunteered your time, or donated items, your continued support and involvement with Shelter House helps us change the landscape of homelessness and domestic violence in our community! Thank you for your continued commitment and support to Shelter House, where together, we are Changing Lives!


Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. It is also known that 3 out of 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. In light of these alarming facts, let's join together during February to raise awareness about dating violence, highlight promising practices, and encourage our community to do the same. 

Teen Dating Violence is defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenage dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital. Although the dynamics of Teen Dating Violence are similar to adult domestic violence, the forms and experience of Teen Dating Violence, as well as the challenges in seeking and providing services, make the problem of this issue in our nation unique. 

There are many resources available to provide information and support to victims and assist service providers and communities to decrease the prevalence of dating violence among young people. Anyone can make this happen by raising awareness about the issue, saying something about abuse when you see it and organizing your community to make a difference. Take Action! 
  1. It's Time to Talk - Start talking to generate conversations with teens about healthy relationships to further prevent teen dating violence and abuse. 
  2. Respect Week - From February 8 to February 12, wear something orange to commemorate Teen Dating Violence Month to promote healthy relationships.
  3. Help Your Teen Stay Safe - Circle of 6 app is designed for college-aged students and their friends to stay close, safe and prevent violence before it happens. It takes two touches to get help and they use icons to represent actions. The design ensures safety, speed, and privacy.
  4. Utilize National Resources - If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, anyone, anywhere can call toll-free: 1-866-331-9474 or text "loveis" to 22522 and receive immediate, confidential assistance. 

Are you interested in becoming a sponsor for our upcoming 5th Annual Changing Lives Benefit Breakfast?  We are expecting this premier event to bring over 300 businesses and individuals together who share our vision of a community free of homelessness and domestic violence. 

Shelter House relies on the generosity of corporate sponsors to help us grant more housing solutions to those we serve every year.  Your organization, large or small, can make a big difference in the lives we serve. We offer various levels of event sponsorship  allowing you and your organization to customize your level of support. Each level provides unique opportunities for employees to get involved with philanthropy and the community by becoming involved in a meaningful and inspirational event. 

In addition, corporate partnerships are one of the most powerful marketing tools today and delivers many benefits to your company, employees and the community. By becoming a sponsor, in turn, you and your organization will receive community recognition of your support in the fight against family homelessness and domestic violence! 

We are grateful for each prospective sponsor's passion for our mission and desire to work on behalf of families experiencing homelessness and victims of domestic violence in our community. 

Interested in learning more about our event  sponsorship opportunities ? Please contact Jennifer Dalessio, Director of Development, at j ennifer.dalessio@shelterhouse.org.

Unable to attend? Please consider making a contribution today!


As part of Shelter House's core values comprised of "Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Empowerment", our culture is encompassed of uniting and celebrating throughout the year. Every January, Shelter House holds an Annual Staff Meeting for its employees to celebrate the year ahead, past successes and a day to come together and have fun overall as an organization. Hosted by  PJ Skidoos , staff enjoyed a delicious buffet-style luncheonIn addition to the wonderful food, Shelter House employees played collaborative games (including karaoke) and enjoyed the day filled with fabulous giveaways and several staff recognition awards concluded the day. To top it off, everyone was thrilled to receive newly designed Shelter House branded tote bags,  t-shirts and journals as they enter a new year!  

Have you thought about what you would say to your children if they asked you about homelessness? With our community being one of the largest homeless populations in the country, the question from your children surrounding homelessness is almost inevitable. 

The conversation may arise if your child is baking cookies for a church's hypothermia prevention shelter, or collecting food/clothing as part of a scouting program, or they may see someone sleeping on a bench or they may even know a classmate who lives in an emergency shelter. It can often be a difficult conversation, but we can offer resources to help you to be prepared for when the questions come up or if you want to start the conversation. 

Books: Here are a few suggestions that can properly speak to homelessness that are also age appropriate for children.
  • The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner
  • Taking Action Against Homelessness by Kaye Stearman
  • Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
  • Maddi's Fridge by Lois Brandt
Be Informed : On one designated night every January, local jurisdictions, including our county, count the number of people who are homeless. Called the Point in Time Count , it provides us with a good understanding of our neighbors who are homeless. This year, the Point in Time Count was on January 25, 2018. 
  • There were 964 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community.
  • 30% of all persons who were homeless were children under the age of 18.
  • 57% of adults in homeless families were employed. 
We hope you feel more prepared for this conversation with your children. As a reminder, if you or someone you know is in need of shelter, please call the Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) number: 703-222-0880.

Brenda met her abusive husband 9 years ago. Their relationship seemed fine until her husband moved the family to Saudi Arabia. Shortly after, her husband began physically abusing Brenda, which began to occur on a daily basis, even in front of her two young children. Brenda began to make a plan for weeks to safely flee from her husband. With very little, Brenda convinced a random driver to take her and her children to the airport where they were able to fly to the United States. When Brenda arrived, she and her children checked into a nearby hotel by the airport. While she was staying at the hotel, her husband realized where she was and called the hotel to speak with her threatening if she did not return to Saudi Arabia, he would kill her. Brenda was terrified and notified the hotel staff who then assisted her in calling the police to coordinate entry into Artemis House. Upon entering shelter, Brenda was  presented as visibly fearful. She would speak with her head down, tremble in fear, and cower away from staff. 

During her stay in Artemis House, Brenda worked on improving her English speaking skills by attending a free class at the local library and even began practicing with the Artemis House staff daily until she could fluently speak English properly. She was able to clearly identify her basic needs, report about her day, and share her concerns.  Throughout Brenda's stay at Artemis House, she actively participated in all volunteer groups and once led a belly dancing class that increased her confidence in herself and allowed other shelter residents to build relationships with each other. On the day of Brenda's exit from the program, she expressed her gratitude for shelter staff, and expressed intention in returning to volunteer to help other victims of domestic violence. Due to supporters like you and the assistance of Artemis House staff, Brenda and her two children are now living a safe and self-sufficient life! 

Jason LaTourette has been on Shelter House's Board of Directors for the past 6 years. Jason is a Managing Director at Acumen Solutions, where he manages a portfolio of Public Sector Accounts. He is a seasoned business leader with extensive experience managing large teams and leading large organizations through Technology Transformation. He also focuses on Business Development, including building and maintaining executive relationships across the Federal Government. We value Jason's expertise and he brings great insight to Shelter House! 

What interests you most about Shelter House and our mission? Why does this cause matter to you? 
Shelter House makes a tangible impact across the community, by assisting so many people affected by homelessness and domestic violence. The scale of this impact initially attracted me to Shelter House and continues to drive my desire to stay involved with the organization. 

Why did you choose to become involved in the Board of Directors? 
By being a Board Member, my time and contributions have been able to continue to shape and steer Shelter House on a continued path for success, providing important services for those in need in our community. 

Board members bring experience, wisdom and strategic thinking. Can you tell us about yours? 
My 20 years experience as an IT Executive, allows me to bring a unique and diverse perspective to the Board of Directors. I've assisted with moving strategic Shelter House business applications to next generation platforms, allowing for more donations, and ultimately, allowing for more assistance to those in need. In addition, I've leveraged by business background to assist Shelter House in key growth and expansion opportunities, furthering the overall mission and vision of the organization. 

What are your dreams for the community? 
My dreams for the community would include a cohesive, aware, and giving environment, where social issues, such as homelessness and domestic violence, were addressed with necessary support and services not neglected.

TWC Contracting client driven construction management and general contracting services company,  focuses on the core values of honesty, integrity, accountability and responsible management. The company's mission is to provide a better kind of contracting through thoughtful analysis, client collaboration, and proactive management Shelter House was honored to recently partner with such a highly reputable company in correlation with their generous renovation to our Administrative Office, equaling over $18,000 in goods and services. 

What interests TWC Contracting most about Shelter House and our mission? 
We appreciate the safe haven that Shelter House provides for those who need help in our community. All of us have known someone in need of help. Organizations that can provide that help during times of crisis are imperative to the strength of our community.

What are TWC Contracting's top three priorities when giving? 
  1. The mission and goals of the organization. 
  2. The impact the organization has on our community. 
  3. Our ability to help, or provide services that will further the organization's mission.
What motivates TWC Contracting to stay involved? 
We want to continually make strides in improving our community. We most typically are able to achieve that goal through our construction projects. Our getting involved with Shelter House aligns with our construction team's expertise, and helps an organization that works toward this goal every day! 

What are TWC Contracting's dreams for the community? 
We would like for everyone to have a safe and beautiful space to live, work and play.

Founded in 2002,  Excella Consulting is a local D.C. firm which uses  technology to help organizations solve today's problems and prepare for what's next by elevating their digital expertise and infuse their culture with a future-forward mindset. R ecently, Excella employees volunteered at our Patrick Henry Family Shelter on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in correlation with their Annual Day of Service by painting throughout the shelter. Thank you, Excella, for making our (oldest) shelter look young again! In addition, Excella, in partnership with Homestretch, created an indoor carnival, filled with fun for everyone in the families we serve. They provided transportation to make the carnival as accessible to everyone, and provided lunch. There were carnival games, crafts, face painting, photo booths, and even opportunities for families to participate in the MLK Day of Service by creating move-out baskets for families entering permanent housing and creating meal kits for all families in need. 

What is Excella passionate about and what inspires the organization to volunteer?
We are technologists. Problem solvers, collaborators, teachers, leaders, with creative minds and analytical thinkers. We share a passion for solving the unsolvable and making people's lives easier. 

What interests Excella most about Shelter House and our mission? 
Excella has been working to help homeless families move toward self-sufficiency since for 10 years. We are a growing company and we are interested in making a positive impact in our community. While there are a lot of causes, we are all interested as individuals, as a company we have chosen to target a single multi-dimensional challenge: ending family homelessness. This choice to focus harnesses our abilities to build lasting relationships, tackle complex problems and help others in our community.

Why does Excella enjoy volunteering? 
We volunteer all throughout the year, doing a variety of projects. Some use our professional skills, and some let us exercise different muscles (literally!) by painting, raking leaves, organizing food banks, and running around playing with kids. We find that volunteering helps us build our skills and strengthen our relationships with each other and our community.

What would Excella tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at Shelter House?
Shelter House is providing a much-needed service to members of our community who are in a tough place in their lives. And like many charitable organizations, it is run by a kind and generous staff that is so appreciative of any outside support that is available. The staff has been wonderful in helping out team get to work quickly and helped us understand how our volunteer support would aid their overall mission as an organization.

Rise Run Shine Running Festival - March 31, 2018 
Rise, Run and Shine Running Festival is not a single race, but an all-day running celebration, promoting healthy living and solidarity. The event starts at 8AM and lasts until 2PM and gives people a chance to participate at one or more events. The Festival offers two 5K races, 6-hour and 3-hour run, and Kids Fun Run for the youngest. All proceeds from the Rise Run Shine Running Festival benefit Shelter House. For more information, click here

5th Annual Changing Lives Benefit Breakfast - April 12, 2018  
This premier event will be a great opportunity to learn more about Shelter House and the critical services we provide to families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence in our community. You will hear directly from individuals who we have served, the impact Shelter House and the community has had on helping them transition to a life of self-sufficiency, as well as from other guest speakers who will share their experiences on the impact of homelessness and domestic violence in our community. We are expecting this year's event to bring over 300 businesses and individuals together who share Shelter House's vision: a community free of homelessness and domestic violence. By registering today, your attendance will bring us one step closer to making our vision become a reality! 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month - April 1 to April 30, 2018
Every two minutes, a person in the U.S. is assaulted, with over half of those assaults going unreported to law enforcement. About 44% of victims are under the age of 18, many of whom already know their attacker. It's estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men in the U.S. will have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Supporters of sexual assault awareness seek to educate people about the resources available to them if an assault occurs as well as information on how to reduce the risk of an attack. 

Do More 24 - May 17 to May 18, 2018
Do More 24 brings together nonprofit organizations, partners and donors committed to creating impact in our community.  Do More 24 is the DMV's largest 24-hour online fundraiser powered by United Way of the National Capital Area. Donors can contribute to any of the more than 700 participating nonprofits to fund programs and services right here in our own community.  Last year, Do More 24 raised more than $1.55 million, which allowed nonprofit organizations to fill holes in their budget, buy desperately needed new equipment and serve more people in need across our region.

Volunteer Appreciation Reception - June 28, 2018
Save-the-date! As a community-based organization, volunteers are the life force and backbone of our work. Often, the good deeds of dedicated volunteers go unnoticed. Be a part of recognizing the incredible volunteers who have worked countless hours to help others and make our community a better place.  Join us for an evening of food, fun and fabulous prizes as we celebrate and honor the effort of our volunteers throughout the year!
Shelter House is a community-based, non-profit 501(c)3 organization and your gifts directly support our mission and programs. 

Please consider making a recurring donation to help support our work within the community. Thank you in advance! 



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