Nicole Macri - 
Our Keynote Speaker 

Housing First - A cultural shift 
Annual Benefit Luncheon 

A Message from our Executive Director 
Angela Murray
August was anything but a sleepy, summer month.  From the white supremacist marches in Charlottsville to the record breaking rainfall and devastation of Hurricane Harvey, we have seen a lot of ugliness in these times of crises. During particularly trying moments, I'm reminded and comforted by Mr. Roger's quote  that  when he was boy and would see awful things in the news, his mother would say "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." Over these past few weeks of unfolding national trauma we have seen a lot of "helpers", from the brave University of Virginia students standing up against a torch wielding, white supremacist crowd, to Houston neighbors rescuing neighbors from drowning.  
How we respond to a crisis reflects our humanity. Our own community is going through a crisis and now is the time we can step up and become "helpers". The homelessness crisis in King County is getting worse. We know from the one night count, in the early morning hours, on January 27th, 2017 that 11,643 men, women and children were experiencing homelessness right here in our own community.  
So how can we be one of the "helpers"? Some of the answers might surprise you -- they are not obvious and perhaps not as popular because it may not evoke that immediate warm, fuzzy feeling that we get when we help. But these 3 very simple actions are extremely helpful, and can be even more impactful when we share them with our friends.
  1. Email or call the Burien City Council and tell them to consider protecting its residents by prohibiting discrimination in housing based on source of income. These protections would apply not only to Section 8 voucher holders (people with low incomes who have vouchers to help them rent at the market rate), but also to people who receive other forms of income such as Social Security and VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing.) 
  2. Similarly, ask your own city council what protections are in place to prevent source of income discrimination in housing in your city.  If there aren't any protections share your concerns. If there is a ban on source of income discrimination, THANK THEM.
  3. Consider voting YES, on Prop 1--the Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy  that will be on the ballot this fall. The continuation and expansion of this levy will fund critical housing and human services and is needed now more than ever at a time when federal funding for homelessness is decreasing.
And thank you, for being a helper.
Spectacular Summer Reading Challenge  

As J.K. Rowling once wrote, "I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book" With this as inspiration, the residents of out 21-bed Night Shelter program  kicked-off their first annual Summer Reading Challenge.

In early July, the Night Shelter participants set out to read, as a team, a total of 25 books in 50 days. Our kick-off was a bit slow. However, as more books were being read, individuals were engaging in new and vibrant conversations with each other. They were learning from one another and fostering a more tight knit community.

As our Summer Reading challenge is coming to a close, we're proud to share that we've already reached our goal! However, we're still counting to see how many more books we can add to our  long and diverse list. While it certainly feels good to have hit our target number, the most rewarding aspect of our Summer Reading Challenge is seeing how everyone as come together.  After all, inviting participation within the entire community is one of the fundamental values of The Sophia Way.

We look forward to sharing our final Summer Reading Challenge numbers with you next month!

Natalie Minas
Natalie's experience as a Case Manager   

Natalie Minas, our Housing Case Manager worked with us for the last 2 years. This is her note from her heart: 
"Never worked with this age group of women (the elderly population) but found out that I LOVED it.  It's made me relate to my own mom better (who's about the same age) and I feel like I can relate to the women's stories from hearing so much from her. I've discussed more conspiracy theories on the JFK assassination than I ever thought I would, all thanks to her!!

This was also my first job with adult homelessness (I've previously worked with homeless youth). It was eye-opening. I've seen myself and my future in so many of the women I work with, and it's made me realize more than ever that I'm one pay-check, one break-up, one family-fight away from homelessness.
The concept of relational poverty has really stuck with me as well.  This job has also made me value and nourish my friendships more. 

There's been a LOT of crying, even more laughter, and many secrets told. It's been the experience of my life to be a part of so many other people's lives. I've never added up how many women I've helped house, or even spoken with, but sometimes I think about the fact that I'll be a memory in so many people's lives during what I'm sure is a very very dark time. Also...I know I'm not that important in everyone's life, but I think back to when I've had the kindness of a service provider and it really has stuck with me to this day. I hope I've done the same for someone else. 

This job also helped me out of a pretty long depressive episode I was going through.  My previous job had been mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining.The first holiday season here made me realize how thankful/lucky/blessed I am to even have these problems in the first place (so many women can't find work!) and that even the worst of my problems don't compare to the first Christmas you have after your husband has died.  It put my life in perspective that I previously would not have been able to gain had I not been privileged enough to be present for these women." 

Thank you for everything you did for women at The Sophia Way. 

Microsoft Giving Tree
We are thrilled to have been invited to participate in the Microsoft Giving Tree this year!
Microsoft has given us 1000 Gift tags that we will fill with items requested by our clients and staff.   Items selected and purchased for us by Microsoft employees will be given as part of the holiday gift bags we provide for women in all of our programs, or will be given as needed throughout the year. Better, yet, employees will also have the opportunity for the monetary value of their gift to be matched by Microsoft, doubling their impact! This is win-win for the community, the women in our shelter, and Microsoft employees who want to make a positive impact in their community. 

Please help us spread the word by asking your friends and family who work at Microsoft to pick up The Sophia Way gift tags from their Giving Tree!

We are honored to be a part of this fantastic initiative. 

Sue Fazio 
Volunteer Spotlight 
- Sue Fazio  
This coming January will be Sue's 4th  year volunteering with The Sophia Way.  To name just a few of the many things she does for us, she answers the phone at our office, keeps our office clean and organized, creates all of the thank you and appreciation notes, cards and letters for our donors, and is always there to assist with event planning and other special projects. She even came up with a system to track the number of calls for shelter requests. 

She decided to volunteer because, "You never know when something like becoming homeless could happen to you. Working with the Sophia Way staff is incredible as they are total team and truly support each other with genuine kindness and concern for others."  

Sue works two 9 to 5 shift at our office every week -  Wednesday  and Thursday.  She originally hails from Whitefish Montana and now lives in Bellevue. Her favorite activities are skiing, waterskiing, swimming, aquarobics, calligraphy, cartooning, hiking and talking with the women who come to our office for Case Management with Natalie. She said every one of these women is a phenomenal, and unique individual and it is always a real treat to talk with them. "It makes my week!"

Thank you Sue for your time, talent and treasure.