Category Archives: News

Board Presentation at Webster Groves Christian Church

“The generosity of Room’s night site congregations was a wonderful blessing to me,” says Lesly Jackson.

Lesly found herself homeless in November 2005 when the death of two of her grandchildren overwhelmed her family’s emotional and financial resources. She stayed at Room at the Inn for four months where she received the support and resources she needed to get back on her feet. Today, Lesly is fully independent and works for the Salvation Army in the field of substance abuse. She serving her second term on the board of directors of Room at the Inn.

Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore, the senior pastor at Webster Groves Christian Church, invited Lesly to share her story during the August 14 service.

“It was a mission-themed service and I believe both Lesly’s story and her willingness to share it are great examples of God’s presence in this world,” says Rev. Jeff, who also serves on Room at the Inn’s board of directors. “I’ve gotten to know Lesly through our time working together and she’s an amazing woman. I can’t thank her enough for helping remind everyone here at Webster Groves Christian about the difference they make in this world when they step forward to volunteer.”

Webster Groves Christian has been a Room at the Inn night site since 1992, and with the help of two other congregations, hosts Room guests for two evenings a month. John Pahl is the mission team leader for the church and a coordinator for the church’s Room at the Inn program.

“Lesly gave an insightful and touching presentation,” John says. “You could see that it was very much appreciated by the congregation and I think it will bring even more of our church members forward to volunteer.”

Shoe Shopping with Sharon

“There is nothing greater than seeing a kid pick out exactly what they want!” says Sharon Blount, the site coordinator with Room at the Inn.

And Sharon would know. She recently took Room at the Inn clients on a special shopping trip – to buy shoes for the upcoming school year.

The school shoes are funded by a grant from The Suburban Journals Old Newsboys Day fund. The fund assists over 100,000 local children at risk annually through organizations like Room at the Inn.  The grant award must provide a direct benefit for needy children and requests should be for clothing, medicine, equipment, financial aid, services and other items that have a direct impact. Gil Weyhaupt, grant writer for Room at the Inn, explains the importance of this grant and Old Newsboys Day.

“About half of Room at the Inn’s clients are children. Many, literally, wouldn’t have a decent pair of shoes to wear to school without help from the Old Newsboys Day. Homeless children can’t do much to help the situation they are in, they just deal with it as best they can,” says Gil. “It’s great for the children to know that so many people in the community care about their well-being and are willing to help. When the Old Newsboys sell papers in the fall, buy one, and remember the children you are helping.”

Sharon enjoyed seeing the children’s smiles as they put on their new shoes and showed them off.

“Just to see the happiness on their faces makes it all worthwhile!” says Sharon, with a big smile of her own. “This is my favorite time of year because it’s just like playing Santa Claus, only I’m playing it earlier!”

For more information about Old Newsboys Day, a charitable project of the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, please visit their website at http://www.oldnewsboysday.org.

Small Communities Making a Big Difference

Room at the Inn will be hosting a panel presentation and discussion, “Small Communities Making a Big Difference” on September 8, 2011 at Central Reform Congregation, one of our night sites.

Every fall for the past few years, Room at the Inn has hosted a large Meet & Greet to extend fellowship among the night sites and to exchange best practices. This year, we are doing something different. We are hosting an event that not only promotes fellowship among the night sites, but also contains a strong educational component led by experts in the field of homelessness prevention. The intent is to engage and energize our night site volunteers and congregation leaders.

It promises to be a special evening of learning, sharing, celebrating, and planning for the future. The program will feature presentations by a panel of experts who will discuss the current state of homelessness in our area and address these vital questions:  What needs are most crucial? What helps? How does Room at the Inn fit in? How does homelessness affect children? And, how do mental health and homelessness interrelate? 

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panel, brainstorm, and share with other volunteers. Most importantly, we will be celebrating the unique success of Room at the Inn and the powerful difference community volunteers make in the fight against homelessness.

Young Rembrandts Visit Room at the Inn

It’s Christmas in June at Room at the Inn!

Brenda Pritchett, Young Rembrandts program director for St. Louis Metro Northwest, visited Room at the Inn this week to teach drawing to our younger clients. Their project was to create a Christmas artwork, which we will use for our holiday cards this year.

A commercial illustrator by trade, Brenda was a frustrated artist living in a computer world. She heard about Young Rembrandts through a friend and immediately fell in love with the program. She worked for the franchise in Elgin, Ill., before starting her own here in St. Louis, Mo.

“The program teaches children that anyone can draw. It takes the left brain, non-verbal act of drawing and breaks it down into a right brain understanding of shapes and order sequencing through verbal communication,” Brenda explains. “The kids start by seeing the finished drawing, then follow step-by-step instructions on how to draw the shapes and details to create it.”

Young Rembrandts is a parent-funded program, but not all parents can afford it. Brenda gives scholarships and funding when needed but she also wanted to give something back to the community. This is what brought her to Room at the Inn. Providing enrichment activities such as drawing are beneficial to the children at the shelter.

“Art can be helpful in gaining a sense of pride and accomplishment in children,” says Kira Williams, the therapist at Room at the Inn. “It can also be used as a tool to foster relaxation and help children process things that happen to them.”

“It’s a real confidence booster,” Brenda adds. “Children really love learning to draw.”

To learn more about the Young Rembrandts program, please contact Brenda at 636-236-2095 or brendapritchett@youngrembrandts.com. If you would like to share your artistic or craft talents like Brenda with our clients, please contact us!

The Giving Legacy of Christ Memorial Baptist Church

Christ Memorial Baptist Church has ceased to meet, but they are still giving to Room at the Inn.

In November, 1993, a group of friends from Christ Memorial Baptist Church in Cool Valley welcomed several homeless people to their church for dinner and a night out of the cold. Little did they know that they would host new friends for the next 17 years – exactly 200 opportunities to show their love for their neighbor, and they never – not once – missed a night. Because Christ Memorial closed its doors, the congregation hosted their last overnight in July 2010.

“They did such a good job of welcoming our clients,” said Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Turck, CDP. “And they were so faithful to it!”

When Christ Memorial Baptist Church first began hosting 17 years ago, they were a larger, younger congregation and had many volunteers for each of the services, explained Rose Heinz, night site coordinator. “Now, even though we’ve become a small, older congregation, we still have devoted volunteers, but each one usually does double or triple duty.”

Rose mentioned that it was easy for volunteers to continue with their support of the program because the program is well organized and because the clients were appreciative of the love and care they were given. “And, of course, volunteers are blessed because they are helping those in need. And that is motivation enough for followers of Christ.” She added that the opportunity to share with others was “good for the church members and good for the clients.”

Today, their giving legacy continues. On May 27, 2011, Betty Allen and Pat Moeller, presented Room at the Inn with a $48,000 check. The check represents proceeds from the sale of the church property, which was allocated to organizations the church had special ties to over the years. Below please find a PDF of the letter that accompanied the check. We are so thankful to Christ Memorial Baptist Church for their commitment to helping the homeless in our community.

CMBC-letter

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