The Voice
January 2019
Message from the Executive Director
When walking through the Thurman Brisben Center and experiencing the outstretched hands and open hearts of the Center’s devoted staff and volunteers, you will hear words that describe transformation. The place is alive and growing. Just look at these children and families, said a volunteer while watching children playing on the Brisben playground. A former resident asserted, after traveling from shelter to shelter for years, it was the Brisben Center and the caring staff that helped me to learn to live – to thrive – not just survive. And, a nationally recognized leader summed it up by saying, I had no idea the Brisben Center is doing so much to end homelessness. I am honored to provide the leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and focus on measurable outcomes that are transforming the Center and delivering on its mission of providing emergency housing and restorative supports to end homelessness. Importantly, ending homelessness and improving individual, family and community quality of life require resolving systems of poverty through housing, employment, nutrition, transportation, health care, and recreation. Together, we are achieving amazing results. I invite you to read on and join in. 
N. David Cooper
If you would prefer to receive paper newsletters, please send us an email at or call (540) 899-9853.
Bicycle Volunteer
Have you ever wondered how the Brisben Center is able to have enough bicycles to lend to residents going to work, and for children to ride in the back yard? This valuable service is largely carried out by Jay of Stafford County. What began as a donation of one bike to a man living in a tent quickly became a vigorous ministry. To date, he has donated 82 to area shelters. Equally important, they are all in perfect working order thanks to his skills and fondness for making repairs. Every month or so, he stops by to pick some up that need a bit of work. He tries to provide a lock with each one. Since word spread about his efforts, Jay has been inundated with bikes from scores of generous donors. He also acquires them at bargain prices from yard sales, and has had to find a lot of storage space to house his inventory. Bikes that come to him in poor condition are stripped for parts. His ministry is wholeheartedly supported by Christ Lutheran Church, which helps defray its costs. The church’s motto, Making a Loving Difference, is intrinsic to Jay’s work. The work is also fun. Jay will long remember witnessing a child at the Brisben Center thrilled at the prospect of riding the very bike Jay was delivering. Watching that youngster pedaling around the back yard was deeply moving. It’s a great reason to keep going, he says.
Yolanda’s Story
Living in a motel with five children and running out of options, Yolanda Brown was still reluctant to come to the Brisben Center. Her daughter had to talk her into it. Once here, however, she was able to save enough money so that three months later, she could afford a townhouse apartment. “It was like home,” she reflects. “They treated us like family, gave us clothes when we needed clothes. They have been helping us ever since.”
A big plus was that the children became stabilized and their behavior improved. The family took advantage of the many programmatic offerings that were available to the children. Tutoring was especially welcomed. Daughter Christina says that some of the friendships made with other children have continued to this day. Their case manager was exceedingly helpful, she says. They were in her office nearly every day. Explaining why her children had adjusted so well, Yolanda simply explains: The kids didn’t know they were homeless.
Yoga for Challenging Times
Every other Thursday evening, Brisben Center residents have the opportunity to enter a space of peace and calm through guided yoga sessions with instructor Janet Sullivan. By candlelight and tranquil music, Janet walks them through a series of gentle poses in harmony with their breath and the world around them. “I meet them where they are,” she says, and tailors the sessions to the energy of the group. A chatty gathering is encouraged to go inward. People with special needs gets poses uniquely their own. Usually 5 to 10 residents—mostly women—attend, and once they start coming, they tend to stick with it until exiting the Center. They are very grateful for the hour-long respite from their cares. Janet began teaching yoga to share its benefits with people who are going through difficult life transitions. An executive and leadership coach by day, she also teaches at the Yoga Foundation of Fredericksburg and Fly Fitness Inspiration Studio. She is clearly as inspired by her students as they are by her. Janet thanks the UMW students who donated 20 yoga mats to the Brisben Center, and (hint hint) would love to have some yoga blocks and bolsters, too.
Thank you Janet!

Alpha Media
Chris Newman
Cornerstone Church
Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors
Fredericksburg Savings Charitable Foundation
Huber Motor Cars
King George High School
Mary Ellen & Harry Reed
Massaponax High School DECA
Mildred Rollins Rentals
Mt. View High School and Serve Class
New City Fellowship
Potomac Baptist Church
River Club Church

Salem Fields Community Church Youth Group
The Estate of Diana Tansill
The Honeywell Charitable Fund of The Community Foundation
The Newburger-Schwartz Family Foundation
The Opp Shop
Union Bank
The Brisben Center is devoted to improving the lives of the homeless who hunger and thirst for health and well-being.
The Brisben Center | 540-899-9853 | |