The Calvary Connection
June 2021
Poetry Nights at Calvary
Thank you to our corporate partner Deloitte who sponsored and participated in our third Summer Poetry Series, Not a Small Voice. Held via Zoom on the last two Thursdays in May, Deloitte staff and Calvary residents connected to cheer on poets Teri Ellen Cross Davis and her husband Hayes Davis, along with past winners of Deloitte's Staff Talent Competition and women currently taking poetry in Calvary Women's Services' Life Skills, Education, and Art Program (LEAP).

Teri's work centers around "the experience of living and mothering while Black in contemporary America" and has the gift of raising up her passion for album covers and Now and Laters candy that the women enjoyed. Hayes read a series of poems in the voice of his stutter that opened a discussion the next day about the experience and frustrations that the poems described. There were also poems about being a child of divorce that resonated deeply with the audience.

The women from Calvary read next in the program and were heartily supported by their fellow residents. Both nights, the Calvary readers brought the house down with their original works. The women in the audience exploded with pride and an appreciation for poets' voices, very much like themselves, writing about experiences very much like their own.

The Deloitte poets were both bursting with energy and were a fantastic way to end the evening. Both came through the zoom screens with more heart than one could imagine rounding out the evenings in a beautiful way.

The women are still talking about how great this series was and look forward to more nights like this in the future.
Hope Awards Wrap-Up
On May 19th, Calvary Women’s Services celebrated the achievements of women who overcome homelessness and are empowered to reach their goals during the Hope Awards. With the support of our sponsors, including presenting sponsor MGAC, and the host committee, this event raised over $300,000 to benefit Calvary’s housing, health, education, and employment programs. The program included special appearances by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Muriel Bowser, and videos from current clients and graduates of Calvary’s programs.

During the event, Kris Thompson, Chief Executive Officer at Calvary, reflected on the past year, noting that “Because we came together, Calvary never closed our doors. We never turned down any woman for a service she needed. When life is so challenging, hope can be the hardest thing to come by. But our community provided that to all of us.”

Melissa Bradley, this year’s Hope Award Honoree, spoke about the need for a holistic approach to problem-solving, saying, “Calvary’s programs represent to me what the world needs. A holistic support center to manage our physical, emotional, and financial needs. A place to help individuals find equilibrium and community, and to find hope within and amongst themselves.” During the event, Calvary also recognized DAVIS Construction as Partner of the Year.

Volunteer Highlight: Jessica Ilich and Waterfront Church
Since 2016, Waterfront Church has provided breakfast at Calvary on the fourth Saturday of each month. In 2018, they expanded their volunteer efforts at Calvary and now provide breakfast twice a month on the first Saturday and fourth Saturday. In honor of their fifth anniversary of serving breakfast for the women at Calvary, we decided to check in with Jessica Ilich, who leads this volunteer effort.

When reflecting on what Jessica enjoys most about volunteering at Calvary, she said, "I realize that this opportunity is to serve them, and not about how it makes us feel, but the women have always made us feel so welcome and appreciated. Seeing, speaking with, and getting to know some of them has been truly life-giving."
Thank You Hardy Middle School 8th Graders!
Shout out to some fantastic 8th graders from Ms. Punwani's homeroom class at Hardy Middle School who decided to raise money for Calvary as a class project. These students created a video to help educate others about women's homelessness in DC and how Calvary's programs work to address these issues. 

The students concluded on their fundraising page, "During this pandemic, many of us have felt helpless, but we're not. We can make a difference by standing together to help uplift each other. Let's start by supporting the women who use Calvary Women's Services."

These students' commitment to uplifting others is inspiring. 
Garden Update
We recently received these seed kits as part of a donation drive hosted by Duke DC, and the women are enjoying watching the seeds sprout. The garden at Calvary provides women a space to relax while tending to the herbs, flowers, vegetables, and strawberries currently growing.
Meal Donations Needed
Do YOU love to cook and share meals with others? You can make a difference by volunteering to provide meals for the women at Calvary! We welcome you to make or deliver any type of food you would like, but we encourage healthy options to support women's good health.

Current available dates include breakfast and dinner shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout July.

To sign up to donate a meal, please contact Stacia Frederick at
Calvary Women's Services