March 2019
Embracing Change
Embracing change and adapting to the new can be exciting, and very rewarding.

As we bid farewell, with sadness and gratitude, to our executive director Angela Murray for her tremendous stewardship of steering the organization through the last four years, we also welcome the opportunities that new leadership will bring to The Sophia Way.

Under Angela's leadership, the organization grew its programs and expanded its services more than 100% to serve the rapidly increasing number of women in greater need of support, shelter, and housing. Our empathetic and caring staff, supported by our growing community of donors, volunteers, faith organizations, cities, have helped house an average of 90 women/year in the past two years and provided shelter and support to more than 1000 women. 

We have exciting things to look forward to, in particular, the new 24/7/365 emergency shelter in Kirkland for women and families with children (the groundbreaking is coming up on April 10). 

We are pleased to report that at our annual meeting in February, new board leaders were elected to serve this year - please welcome Board Chair Maya Subramanian; Vice Chair Shelley Benson; Treasurer Danielle Porter; and Secretary Angela Weber. We would also like to acknowledge and thank two board members, Aaron Hager and Gary Helling, who are stepping down after years of service and contributions to our mission.

Our Board has also instituted the search for an interim executive director, who will assist in developing the strategic role and qualities of our next leader with the vision to lead The Sophia Way to a new and expanded level.

Until the interim executive director is in place, the day-to-day administration will be managed by a strong leadership team – Linda Benson, Director of Community Development, and Cynthia Brown, Director of Emergency Services. Linda will be overseeing the administrative responsibilities, and Cynthia will be managing the programs.

In this time of transition, the spirit and vision of our founder, Helen Leuzzi, continues to drive our work - to serve women experiencing homelessness in King County and move them into housing as soon as possible.

We thank The Sophia Way community for their support and guidance in helping us support the women to have happier and healthier lives.
Grateful Thanks to Grace Lutheran Church
Grace Lutheran Church of Bellevue has been a compassionate and committed supporter of The Sophia Way since we started in 2008. They’ve hosted our weekend shelter, and our Support Network meetings. They’ve donated quilts, meals, financial gifts, and more.  

On March 2, they gave us one more gift – a major farewell gift – 12.5% of the proceeds from the sale of their assets will be donated to The Sophia Way. The sale price is expected to be between $7 and $8 million.

Grace Lutheran Church, after 70 years of worship and service, held its final worship service on Sunday, March 3, 2019. They are selling their property and have identified more than 25 churches, communities, and nonprofit organizations as beneficiaries.  

There are not enough words to thank the Grace Lutheran Church and its congregation. They have been there for us and with us from the beginning. Congregation members Gail D'Alessio and Merrilee Kipfer have been our champions. We are immensely grateful for their support in helping us better serve women experiencing homelessness.

Their service to the community can be best summed from a quote in their brochure from Pastor Olson that was printed in the bulletin of his first service: “What makes a Church beautiful. It surely isn’t walls or the paint. It is the beauty of our hearts expressed in goodwill to others”

Thank you, Grace Lutheran Church for your beautiful heart! 
Register for RiSE Together
This work is hard, really hard.
Angela Murray joined The Sophia Way as Executive Director in April 2015. She played a critical role in stabilizing the organization, growing its programs and outreach, building a strong, empowered team and instituting a caring work culture that enabled the organization to better support the increasing number of women experiencing homelessness. In an interview with Sujata Agrawal, Angela reflects on her journey at The Sophia Way and shares some highlights. Excerpts:
  • The organization’s greatest strengths are definitely, the staff and volunteers.
  • This work is hard, really hard. Transparency, honesty, and clear communication about the challenges of this work to our stakeholders is paramount to the success of sustaining this work and to the well-being of the leadership trying to accomplish the impossible.  
  • The question we must constantly ask ourselves is: How can we as homeless service providers, provide better-individualized care and access to resources?
  • I firmly believe that The Sophia Way will continue to step up as an advocate for our women.

Shelter To Housing
On Wednesday of last week, Jason Korneliussen, one of our case managers had the joyful task of helping a client move into her apartment.

"She was able to move into her new apartment, located in a tax credit senior community right here in Bellevue! Moreover, her church will be providing furniture for the unit free of charge! "M" began accessing our services when she entered our Night Shelter Program in December 2018. Thanks to RAP (Rental Assistance Program), we were able to find her stable, permanent housing in less than three months."

Gifts of Warmth
Mylene Dunphy and her daughter Victoria are part of a mother/daughter organization called National Charity League-Emerald City with the mission to help serve the community by giving their girls the opportunity to lead the process. They belong to the class of 2020, which includes a group of 21 girls. Recently they put together 50 winter kits for the women served by The Sophia Way.

Pause. Reflect. Progress.
Cynthia Brown, Director of Emergency Services shares a late night email that she sent to the staff at The Sophia Way

Yes, I am emailing well after midnight. As I decompress from a day where I have spoken and witnessed some very charged but necessary words, I stumbled upon this quotation: "Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble." ~ Yehuda Berg

Thank you for supporting our mission to help single adult women experiencing homelessness in King County move into housing.
Our Office
The Sophia Way
11061 NE 2nd Street, Suite 223
Bellevue, WA 98004
Ph: 425-463-6285
Our Shelter
Sophia’s Place
3032 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Ph: 425-896-7385
Bus Route: 249