January 2018 


Vanessa Godshalk, Shelter House Chair, Board of Directors

Happy Holidays and welcome to 2018!  I hope you were able to enjoy the season filled with loved ones, peace, joy, and the comforts of home - blessings that I know are extremely precious and unfortunately, not enjoyed by everyone in our community.  Through my work with Shelter House, I have come to appreciate these blessings even more and I am compelled to find ways to help those in our community in need of basic essentials in life that we sometimes take for granted - a roof over our heads and food on the table and a safe home, free from violence. In 2017, Shelter House was able to help 1,613 individuals with these essential needs. Every day, Shelter House is making a difference in the lives of so many families, and we are a better community because of it.

As we turn the clock on another year, I know many think about making resolutions and how the start of the year is like a new beginning, filled with promise.  Shelter House enables a new beginning for each individual and household they serve through various programs.  I know many of you are already involved in supporting Shelter House in some way through volunteering or donating, and for that, I sincerely thank you.  As we begin this new year and you think about your goals for 2018, I encourage you to find additional ways of helping create new beginnings for those in need in our community.  

There are so many ways to get involved with Shelter House and make a difference - with your time, talent, or treasure.  Maybe you started your involvement with a donation, but now want to get closer to the mission of the organization through volunteering.  Or perhaps you started as a volunteer and now want to see how a donation can help expand the services that Shelter House is able to provide.  No matter how you contribute, please know that your support is so important to creating a bright new beginning for families in need.  What I've found through the years is that the more ways in which you give, the richer your experience will be and the greater your impact.  

So in the year ahead, I encourage you to continue your support of Shelter House and maybe even find a new way of getting involved. Let's come together to create new beginnings for others and make this an even stronger community.  Here's to an amazing 2018! 

As we look back on 2017, we are so thankful for you, our supporters, who helped make this year so special for those we serve each and every day. A huge thanks to those who donated to our Year-End Appeal. Due to your generous contributions, we nearly doubled our goal and raised $19,982! 

On behalf of everyone at Shelter House, and the families, individuals and children we serve, thank you!

Pictured above: Business Benefits Goup (BBG) donating their holiday 
gifts for  12 Shelter House families. To view more holiday donation pictures, click here .

Thank you to everyone who made this year's Holiday Season extra special for the families at our shelters. Shelter House would like to acknowledge the following organizations who have made this year's holiday extra bright for our families in need. 

Business Benefits Group (BBG) was thrilled to have the opportunity to adopt 12 families for Artemis House. BBG worked together to collect donations and shop for toys, warm clothes/coats, gift cards and other household items! 

Dr. Tom Roselle, specializing in health and wellness, came to our Katherine Hanley Family Shelter and brought a special guest - Santa! The children were so appreciative for his generosity and cheer. 

John Nash, of Fairfax Photo Club, is a retired county photographer/videographer and took photos of families at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. John took photos of each family and gifted framed prints to all families! 

Johnny Apple Seed Association, Inc. made their bi-annual trip to Shelter House extra exciting with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a 1919 Model T Hot Rod to deliver presents to all the children! 

Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Chapter 77  and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) National  donated canned foods, diapers, pajamas, bed linens, kitchen supplies, toiletries and a bicycle in honor of the holiday! 

Southview Community Church   donated nearly $2,000 in gift cards to assist our families with their immediate needs. 

Taffy Presents and Reston Chamber Resourceful Women's Group held a holiday celebration for the women at Artemis House and provided great donations as well!

A huge thanks to everyone else who contributed this holiday season. We appreciate all of the community support and could not serve the families at Shelter House without all of your generosity!

To view the entire office renovation, click here .

Over the holidays, Shelter House's Administrative Office closed its doors for a minor renovation generously provided by Daniel Whitt, President of  TWC Contracting

TWC Contracting, a  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 partner with such a highly reputable company to elevate the look of our offices.

TWC Contracting, along with Subcontractors and Suppliers: Celtic Flooring, Chapin Painting, Nunez Drywall LLC and Source One Flooring, provided our offices with a bright fresh coat of paint, new flooring and carpeting. Additionally, we would like to give a huge thank you to Interstate Moving I Relocation I Logistics for helping our team clear out the office space in preparation for the renovation. We could not have done it without your efforts!

We want to thank you all for making our offices look so wonderful as we enter a new year!  

John Wood of 29 Diner, Joe Meyer of Shelter House and Fairfax County Sheriff's  Department attend 29 Diner's Season of Giving Holiday Celebration Benefiting Shelter House! 

Shelter House was honored to partner with John Wood, owner of 29 Diner, for their Season of Giving Holiday Dinner Celebration in benefit of all Shelter House families. 

29 Diner made a goal to provide each family member a gift to match their wish list this season and reached out to the community to ensure this goal was met. In addition to toys being at the top of the wish list for children, the community was asked to donate gift cards for grocery and transportation needs, cookware, such as pots and pans, linens and more to assist the adults in their long-lasting needs. Individuals in the community have also been generous enough to make monetary donations to sponsor families, to provide each family member with a gift and meal throughout the holiday season.
Fairfax County Sheriff's Department, Stacey Kincaid and deputies, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), also were sponsors and attended the event to make the celebration extra special with their additional efforts.    
"The generosity received from 29 Diner, John Wood and the community is remarkable," said Shelter House Executive Director and CEO, Joe Meyer. "I am always so overwhelmed when we receive this amount of community support to make sure our families have a special holiday while they are not in the warmth and comfort of their own home this year. To come together with other community partners and have a shared passion with organizations like the 29 Diner, Fairfax County's Sheriff Department and SEIU, truly make our vision of ending homelessness and domestic violence that much more achievable."
"29 Diner's 'Season of Giving' centered around our ability to collectively put our arms around every family at Shelter House", said 29 Diner Owner, John Wood. "We wanted to stand against homelessness and domestic violence and celebrate the heroic families and their journey to independence for the holiday season."

Because of 29 Diner and the event's community sponsors, (Fairfax County Sheriff's Department and SEIU), in addition to the entire community, our families had a wonderful holiday celebration! 

In addition to providing crisis intervention, safe housing and supportive services to those experiencing homelessness and domestic violence, Shelter House also values serving victims of human trafficking. In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, meet Angela. 

Angela entered Artemis House with the assistance of the Tahirih Justice Center Forced Marriage Initiative. As a child, Angela was often physically and emotionally abused by her father, who later forced her into marriage with an abusive male that held her captive overseas.  Angela had minimal interactions with other people and her abuser was constantly emotionally and physically violent toward her and would often force her to have physical relations. During this time, Angela would assume a fake identity on social media sites and message her school peers and friends to explain that she was in crisis. 

After seven years of being held captive in a forced abusive marriage, Angela and her son were rescued by International Law Enforcement and Non-Government Partners. Upon arrival at Artemis House, Angela began rebuilding relationships with her school peers and friends. She then chose to exit the Artemis House program to reunite with a male in Nevada that she identified as a caring adult during her youth who was also supportive to her while she was held captive. Shortly after her exit from the program, Angela returned due to disclosing that the person who she identified as a caring adult became verbally aggressive and violent toward her and her son. 

Immediately upon her return to the program, Angela and her son became involved in counseling services to process the multiple severe traumas that have occurred in their lives. Hilda was able to transition from Artemis House with the assistance of her case manager to a long-term supportive program in Fairfax County. Angela maintains a professional counseling relationship with the Senior Trauma Counselor to therapeutically support her transition into self-sufficiency, safety and a life of freedom! 

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact Artemis House's emergency hotline at 703-435-4940.

Acumen Solutions is a valued donor of Shelter House. They have consistently supported Shelter House since 2012. In addition, one of their team members, Jason LaTourette, serves as a Board Member to Shelter House. Over the years, Acumen Solutions has dedicated their time, funds and service to the organization and we are proud to highlight them! 

What is Acumen Solutions passionate about and what inspires the company to give to charity? 
Social Responsibility is a Core Value at Acumen Solutions and one that we have made an integral part of our unique culture from inception. Our strategy is to provide opportunities for our employees to make a measurable impact within the community through our innovative efforts. We believe that we have a responsibility to give back to the communities where we do business and our employees live. It is about creating positive partnerships that benefit those in need.

What interests you most about Shelter House and our mission? Why does this cause matter to you? 
While Acumen Solutions gives back to many non-profit organizations, Shelter House is especially important, as it supports both local families impacted by homelessness as well as victims of domestic violence. With domestic violence affecting 1 in 4 homes in our community, nearly everyone is impacted in some fashion. Making a difference for these victims and families is what inspired Jason LaTourette to join this Board, and continues to be a driver for Acumen Solutions to support Shelter House. 

What do you want your gifts to accomplish and why is that important to Acumen Solutions? 

Acumen Solutions has been engaged in several activities to support Shelter House over the year. For three years, we have sponsored Shelter House in our annual Holiday Giving Tree, in which 40-50 families are provided with holiday gifts for the children. Employees select children's wishes and purchase requested items to ensure they have a festive holiday. In addition, Shelter House has been the recipient of Pro Bono Projects, which are professional service initiatives to address a critical business need that the organization might not be able to afford otherwise. These efforts are typically 3-month long projects in which talented consultants donate their skills and time to address the business need. Lastly, Shelter House has been included in other service activities as well as fundraising efforts through our Signature 10k "Race for a Cause" and Signature "Concert for a Cause".  All of these efforts are meant to support the organization's mission and objectives to provide the necessary services to the community. 


Officer Twombly was an integral part of Shelter House's holiday season of giving initiative and has continued to volunteer his time over the past 5 years to our families to make their spirits bright. As a Crime Prevention Officer, he spends his career and volunteerism making a difference in the community and we appreciate his efforts! 

What are you passionate about and what inspires you to volunteer? 
Being able to help others has always been special to me. To help others that are less fortunate in our community is very rewarding to my heart.

How and why did you initially  become involved with Shelter House? 
Initially, I teamed up with a teacher at Chantilly High School to get students more involved within the community. We knew that it would be an important activity for all of us to give back to help families experiencing homelessness at Shelter House. Each holiday season, I dress as Santa for children and the students dress as elves. The looks on the children's faces makes this experience extremely memorable for everyone who participates! 

What motivates you to stay involved with Shelter House? 
Until Shelter House achieves its vision of a community free of homelessness and domestic violence, I will continue to stay involved to help the children and families in need in our community! 

The Changing Lives Annual Benefit Breakfast is the premier event that brings businesses and individuals in the community together to raise awareness about family homelessness and domestic violence. If you are hoping to interact with some of the most prominent and influential companies and individuals in Northern Virginia, while at the same time supporting a charitable cause, register today !
Proceeds from the event help support the programs and people served by Shelter House - a community-based, non-profit organization that has been providing crisis intervention, safe housing, and supportive services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence for over 36 years.
Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Please contact Jennifer Dalessio, Director of Development, at j ennifer.dalessio@shelterhouse.org.

Still in the giving spirit? As you are making room for your new holiday gifts, we encourage you to think of Shelter House. We are still accepting donations that will assist our families move onto self-sufficiency and independence. 

Donations Requested: 
  • Diapers - sizes 4,5,6
  • Gift Cards - grocery stores, Target, Walmart, gas/metro/uber
  • Kitchenware - cooking utensils, dish sets, flatware, glasses, pots/pans
Your donations to Shelter House will help provide critical support to our families and end their homelessness as they transition onto permanent housing for a successful future! Thank you in advance for making a huge difference in the lives we are serving!
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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