Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Announcing: Online Residents Week! June 6-12

Starting next Monday (June 6th) Guest House is going to do something a little different on the blog. We want to celebrate our clients, the women of Guest House, so we are having an online “Residents Week.” Each day during the week of June 6-12, we are going to post a story written by one of our clients and urge you to respond with some positive feedback.

When trying to transition and make positive changes in your life, even the simplest complement can brighten someone’s day. We are urging our clients to share their stories in a way that is comfortable and safe. We hope that you could help support them during this exciting and stressful period in their lives by posting comments of encouragement. Thank you in advance for your participation!

PLTI Jazz Concert

On Thursday, May 19, 2011, four Guest House residents and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the Parent Leadership Training Institutes (PLTI) benefit dinner and jazz concert!!

The event was to celebrate the fifth anniversary of PLTI Alexandria. PLTI offers free educational services to help parents learn how to navigate the system and advocate for their children, as well as their community. They believe that “democracy includes everyone” and individuals should be informed and active in their decision making.

The event was held at Convergence, a beautiful church off N. Quaker Lane in Alexandria. When we walked in Convergence, we were all blown away by the chic layout of a room, aptly called “The Sanctuary.” The “walls” of the room were almost entirely windows that looked out over the small green field outside. The Sanctuary was already filled with people socializing and eating together when we arrived, but it easy to find a place to sit and even easier to meet and mingle with a wide variety of people.

After about an hour of eating delicious finger-food and socializing, it was time to make our way into the adjacent room, the nave, where we would be treated to a performance by The W.E.S. Group. The W.E.S. Group is an awesome three man jazz band out of South Carolina. The nave, or as they called it “The Lab,” was almost entirely stained glass and when we entered the sun was setting, coloring the entire room.

As the band came on stage, we were all really anxious to hear some relaxing jazz. The saxophonist in the band, Will Smith, PhD, took the time to explained important concepts and techniques of jazz, helping the audience to feel involved in the music. Each song they performed was better than the last!

When the band was done and it was time to leave, the ladies and I were all smiles. We spent the rest of the evening talking about how much we truly enjoyed the entire experience. Just being able to sit with good company and listen to great music helped to relieve the daily stress of life and work.

We want to thank PLTI, namely Fay Slotnick, for inviting us and putting on such a fabulous event. It was really a perfect evening! THANK YOU!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Yesterday two Guest House residents, a member of our aftercare program, Kari (Executive Director), and myself went to speak with a group of middle school aged girls as part of the Guest House Speakers Bureau program. These girls were all participants in the SOHO (Space Of Her Own) program and are considered “at-risk youth.”
I was immediately amazed by the intelligence and energy these girls brought to the discussion! Before we arrived, the two Guest House residents that came were incredibly nervous to speak to a group about their experiences. They didn't know how they would be received and didn't know if the girls would be interested in what they had to say. Their fears were quelled about a minute after we walked in the building. All the girls were anticipating our arrival, and when we walked in they ran over to greet us.
The SOHO girls has so many questions and listened carefully to every response. After one speaker finished, at least 5 little hands shot up! It only took a couple of minutes for all of our speakers to loosen up and feel really comfortable in the space. After we finished speaking, the SOHO girls invited us to stay for a light dinner – which we were happy to agree to!
We went across the street to a park and enjoyed our meal by the water. The girls talked about what they wanted to be when they were older; one wanted to be a lawyer, another a police officer, and another wanted to be a model. We really encouraged them to always keep dreaming and to remember that education is the way to a successful life.
When it was time for us to leave, every single girl hugged and thanked us for coming to talk with them, They even invited us to their graduation on June 2nd! Which we plan on attending!
When we left, both of our residents (the ones who were terrified about speaking to a group mere hours before) asked when the next speakers engagement was – because they were going! Those girls at SOHO managed to eliminate fear and uncertainty with their beautiful smiles and heartwarming laughter. Truly amazing!
Thank you to everyone in the SOHO program for having us come in! We really enjoyed every moment of it.

If you want to volunteer and be a mentor for a girl in the SOHO program, check out their website

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Issues that are Important to a Guest House Resident..

"My most important issue now is family. Through my addiction I was never there to support my children. I missed out on going to basketball games, family outings, and my daughter doesn't even know who I am. My life is changed now. I want to be successful. I WILL be successful. I want to be respected, to be honest, and true to the people I love. My long term goal is to have a home and rebuild my relationship with my family. I want to have a traditional Christmas, something I've never been able to have. I want to grow spiritually - I trust in God and he will help me go in the right direction."
- D.H. (Resident at Guest House)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Be an Action "She-ro"

Today is the LAST day of the Spring2ACTion fundraising event. Guest House needs your donations to help us meet our goal of raising $2,000. If we are able to reach our goal, we have a matching grant to DOUBLE our earnings! That means Guest House would receive $4,000! Image all of the wonderful services we would be able to provide for our residents!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring2ACTion Fundraising Event May 5, 6, and 7

Exciting news! Friends of Guest House has received TWO $1,000 matching grants for the Spring2ACTion fundraising event on May 5, 6, and 7. What does it mean to have TWO matching $1,000 grants? It means if we raise $2,000 in donations during those three days, we will receive $2,000 EXTRA – totaling $4,000 in donations to Guest House!!

We need your help to reach the $2,000 goal! Please visit and make a donation on May 5-7. The more money we raise, the more likely we are to win additional prizes and grants!

When you donate to Friends of Guest House your donation goes to women who are sincere in their recovery and dedicated to living a positive life. Make a lasting impact and donate!

Your donations are incredibly important! Here is a break down of how your contributions are used to help our clients:

$25 – Can pay for one month of public transportation for one resident

$50 – Can pay for one resident to get the tools she needs to attain her GED (GED practice book, calculator, pencils/pens, etc)

$75 – Can pay for one month of hygiene products for 10residents(paper towels, toilet paper, feminine products, etc.)

$100 – Can pay for one resident to go to the eye doctor and get a proper pair of glasses.

You can follow the live Leaderboard and track our progress throughout the 3 days. PLEASE forward this to your networks and help us win! The nonprofit with the most number of unique donors will win an additional $5,000!

Learn more about Spring2ACTion at and

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Guest House

-Jelaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.