A Message from our Day Center Manager 
Carla Walp
I started working at The Sophia Way Day Center in November of 2016 right as "the busy season" was in full swing. 
As the summer months approached, everyone warned me that warm weather would bring lower numbers and slower days. Although the weather has now warmed up, the laughter, smiles, conversation, and number of women served has not decreased. Going into August, we are still serving anywhere from 30-45 women on a given day, have provided over 200 referrals, and we have served well over 1,700 lunches since June 1st.  Our day center community continues to grow as we have on average 5 new clients per week, whom are referred to us by their friends, 211, or other organizations. We have been able to help 18 day center clients obtain housing since January 2017 and 8 women who are very close to finalizing their housing with our help. The staff, volunteers, and other participants of the day center celebrate the accomplishments of these women.
One of our clients recently wrote a letter about her experience at The Sophia Way.  I believe this letter accurately demonstrates how we want every woman to feel about their experience while utilizing our services: "Sophia Way's day center is truly a blessing. I am working and living in my car because I cannot afford even a studio in Bellevue. Having a safe, friendly place to go for a hot meal, shower, laundry, and a friendly face has been a lifesaver. This is a wonderful program and the staff is so professional and kind. I actually look forward to stopping by on my day off. Carla, Gretchen, and Muna are very good at what they do and I believe they genuinely care about us. The day center is like home, which means a lot when you technically don't have one."
As the day center manager, I feel that our program creates an empowering and welcoming environment for the women individually and as a community. Our team receives constant positive feedback, compliments, and thank you cards from our ladies. We feel validated that our efforts to make every woman who walks through the door feel cared about, supported, and worthy is effective and impactful.
I would like to thank all of our donors, volunteers, and individuals who support The Sophia Way and our mission. Our day center community is thriving because of your contributions and efforts. Without your kind hearts, time, and support we would not be able to serve the amazing women that we do or serve them as effectively as we do.

- Carla Walp, Day Center Manager 
Welcoming our New Board Members 
Gary Helling
Gary Helling 
Prior to directing his focus exclusively toward the nonprofit sector, Gary led a successful career in Management Consulting. As a co-founder and partner of XD Consulting in San Diego, he had a 15 year career providing strategic consulting services for a wide variety of successful commercial organizations. During this time, Gary worked directly with a significant number of the west coast independent Medical Research Institutes and many other large nonprofit organizations.
 
In 2006, Gary left the management consulting profession when he and his wife moved to overseas to work with an organization they helped found to assist the disadvantaged communities in Paarl, South Africa. After a successful six years helping build a significant community development organization, they moved back to the Seattle area. Since that time, Gary has been working with local nonprofit organizations providing interim leadership, strategic direction and change management as a Senior Consultant with Loveall Price Associates. Gary lives in Bellevue, Washington with his wife Marnelle and enjoys travel, biking, golf and supporting his beloved Washington Husky sports teams.
Madelynn Brown
Madelynn  Brown 

Madelynn has joined The Sophia Way in support of her passion for encouraging the independence & success of women. She is passionate about community service and is actively involved in mentoring & volunteering. Madelynn has worked with numerous non-profits and enjoys working on events & fundraising.

"As a Bellevue resident, it's important to me to support & make an impact in my community. I look forward to being able to use my experience in fundraising and marketing for a greater good, and am thankful for the opportunity to work with The Sophia Way" - Madee 

When not working, Madee enjoys traveling, playing tennis & spending time with family.

A client's Home
Story behind the numbers  
In 2017, you have helped us place 55 women into stable and permanent housing. 
Here is the detailed breakdown: 
27 from Sophia's Place
24 from Day Center, Emergency Winter Shelter, and Outreach programs, (separately or in collaboration)
4 from Sophia's Home

We partnered with other programs (Cascade Women's Program through Compass Housing Alliance) to collaborate on stable placements for both their clients and ours. We've also worked closely with The Salvation Army, who also runs a 6 month shelter program. By staying in communication about wait-list  lengths and mutual clients, we've been able to enroll women in our program after they've had a full 6 months of specialized case management.  
We've had a lot of movement in our Housing / Holly House (Transitional Housing) programs which creates a domino effect for our numbers. A woman moving from Holly House means another woman from our shelter gets to take her place, meaning that two women get housed.
We have also got a lot of support from Tom Miles from Congregations for the Homeless, who manages  United Way's Streets to Home funding. Our outreach program ensures we are able to connect more women to resources and ultimately housing. 
As we work towards a "housing first" model, we have been even more focused on helping clients in our Day Center and EWS programs secure housing. While we still offer assistance with obtaining food stamps, healthcare coverage, mental health care, etc., we recognize that all these things and more come much easier when someone has a place to call home.

Thank you for your support in making this happen! 

Volunteers - Robin and Sue
Volunteer Appreciation Picnic 
 
On July 15th, we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Crossroads Park in Bellevue. About 25 people came to enjoy the food, sunshine, and company of their fellow volunteers. We all had an extra special treat this year, because two of our Day Center volunteers and meal donors, Sue and Robin, offered to supply the food, and it was delicious! Sue and Robin pulled out all the stops, bringing several different dishes, including barbecue ribs, black bean burgers, a variety of different salads, and fresh watermelon for dessert. Our Day Center and office volunteers, as well as our Companions, all got certificates to thank them for their commitment of service, and a few very special volunteers received "Excellence in Volunteering Awards." 

While this picnic is an annual event, we are so grateful to all of our volunteers all year round, and we truly could not do what we do without your help! From donating meals to serving meals, from cleaning and organizing the shelter to data entry at the office, from helping plan events to walking alongside a client as a Companion, your service is so vital to our mission.

Thank you to all who came out, and to all of you who make what we do possible!

Our movie being played at the park 
Bellevue Downtown Movie in the Park  
 
The Sophia Way was chosen to be featured at the first of this year's Downtown Movies in the Park on July 11th. This was also the first movie showing in the newly renovated Bellevue Downtown Park. It was a beautiful night for a movie, and hundreds of families came out to enjoy it! 
Staff and volunteers from The Sophia Way were put in charge of popping and serving popcorn to the guests, and also got the opportunity to talk to people about who we are and our mission. We collected donations, and best of all, our short video was shown before the movie, so everyone there got to learn about the importance of what we do. 
Click here to view the video that was played. 

Thanks to all who came, and to the City of Bellevue for having us!

Eastside Community Aid Thrift shop 
 
Thank you to the team at Eastside Community Aid (ECA) Thrift shop for their generous donation of $10,000! These funds will be utilized for our Day Center Program. 
Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop, an all-volunteer run shop in Kirkland, has been a long time supporter of our work. They also honor our clients by giving them vouchers. Because of the voucher program, the clients, who are often not able to afford even second-hand clothing, get an experience of shopping for their own items. They can go around and pick out items in their size and can try everything on to make sure it fits and they are happy with their choices. 
In 2016, ECA served 80 clients for a donated value totaling $5,889. That was an average of $73 per client. 
Volunteers at ECA are happy to help these women. They  feel good about helping the clients find clothes and other needed items. They feel that is one way they can help make a difference in a person's life. 

Thank you for all that you do for the community and The Sophia Way. 

Summer Activities at the shelter 
 
Michelle Carr, Evening Shelter Supervisor at Sophia's Place shares a few wonderful stories of summertime activities at the shelter.

Click here to know more.