Category Archives: News

Room at the Inn Christmas Cards

We just sold out of our 2012 Room at the Inn Christmas card, designed by Incarnate Word Academy student Nia Brown. Thank you! It’s not too late to support our shelter with the purchase of Christmas cards — we still have our 2009 and 2011 designs available!

The 2009 card features a Madonna and Child image with the word “hope” on the front designed by Incarnate Word Academy student Caroline Tiffin. Inside left has Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the Virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Inside right reads, “May your hearts be filled with hope and joy for the Savior has been born for us. Peace and blessings on you this holy season!

The 2011 card features an angel on the front designed by former client Jada (age 6). Inside top has Luke 2:11, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Inside bottom reads, “Wishing you the peace and joy of His love at Christmas and always.”

The cards are sold in sets of 12 for $10, plus $2.50 for shipping. All proceeds will benefit shelter clients.

To purchase either card design, please contact Colleen Price at 314-209-9181 or cprice@divineprovidencesisters.org. You may also purchase cards at our administration offices during regular business hours at Providence Center, 3415 Bridgeland Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044.  (Across from DePaul Hospital.)

MegaBuild! Computer Project a Success

Everything we do at and for Room at the Inn involves computers. Every staff member and every homeless client uses a computer for a variety of tasks ranging from searching or applying for employment or housing to writing grant applications and stories, tracking outcomes and scheduling volunteers. Many of the computers on site are from Boeing and other businesses that generously donated older computers as they upgraded themselves. This approach worked well in the past, but the shelter is being pushed, for obvious reasons, to move away from Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP to Office 2010 and Windows 7.

“The current computers do not support those changes from a hardware standpoint because faster processors, more memory and larger hard drives are needed to run the new software,” explains Gil Weyhaupt, Room at the Inn grant writer. “There has been a lot of national discussion lately over the issue of getting high school girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) careers. That is when we realized we had a great opportunity to also become a contributor to that effort.”

This opportunity became the MegaBuild! Computer project, which was held on Sunday, October 21 at St. Elizabeth Academy, a private Catholic girls’ college preparatory high school in South St. Louis,Mo. St. Elizabeth Academy students were paired with a female student from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Maryville University or Washington University in a STEM field of study. Together, they built 15 state-of-the-art computers from scratch. The teams were directed step-by-step through the build process by Joe Spezia, a computer building expert at the Micro Center. The hours spent together gave the participants an opportunity to discuss their common interests and to encourage the young women in the pursuit of a STEM career.

The hours spent together gave the participants an opportunity to discuss their common interests and to encourage the young women in the pursuit of a STEM career.

Funders included the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis, the American Association of University Women and Webster Groves Presbyterian Church. In-kind donations were given by Moore Computing and Microsoft.

Once the computers were assembled, the teams installed the operating system (Windows 7) and Microsoft Office Suite (Office 2010 Pro). These computers will be usable, serviceable and upgradable for years to come. Having access to state-of-the art computers provides a huge advantage to both Room clients and staff. Richard May, practicum student and now volunteer, works with the clients to improve their computer skills, write that job-getting resume, search for housing and for jobs. Richard has big plans to help clients improve their quality of life through better computer skills and these new computers offer a lot of possibilities.

Also during the build, we introduced the girls to successful women in STEM careers via Skype. Architect Julie Coulter, Coulter Building Consultants; structural engineer, Jean Cowell, Cowell Engineering; civil engineer, Vicki LaRose, Civil Design, Inc.; veterinarian Christine Juen, Daniel/Randall Veterinary Clinic; and facilities manager Lisa Mosser, Sisters of Divine Providence all “Skyped in” throughout the day to introduce themselves and talk a little about their careers. We felt it was important to introduce the girls to women who are doing the kinds of things they would like to do.

This was a fun project with great outcomes, definitely a win-win for everyone involved.

To view photos from the Megabuild! Computer Project, please visit view our album on Facebook.

MegaBuild! Computer Project on KSDK News Channel 5

MegaBuild! Computer Project to Benefit Room at the Inn

St. Elizabeth Academy, a private Catholic girls’ college preparatory high school, sponsored by the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri, will be the site of the MegaBuild! Computer Project on Sunday, October 21, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

St. Elizabeth Academy students interested in a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) career with be paired with a female student from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Maryville University or Washington University in one of those fields of study. Together, they will build 15 state-of-the-art computers from scratch. The participants will be paired in teams (one high school student and one college student) and will be directed step-by-step through the build process by qualified volunteers. It will be a time for the participants to discuss their common interests and to encourage the young women in their pursuit of a STEM career.

Once the computers are assembled, the participants will install the operating system (Windows 7 Pro) and Microsoft Office suite (Office 2010 Pro). The recipients of the computers will be Room at the Inn, an emergency shelter for homeless women and families in St. Louis County. Room at the Inn serves up to 20 people daily, about 200 each year, half of whom are children. In addition to food and shelter, Room at the Inn helps clients identify and correct the underlying causes of their homelessness, regain self-sufficiency and avoid future episodes of homelessness. It is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Divine Providence.

The MegaBuild! Computer Project funders currently are the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis, the American Association of University Women, Webster Groves Presbyterian Church and Microsoft (in-kind software donation). The outcome for Room at the Inn, and the homeless women and families sheltered there, is clients and staff will have access to state-of-the-art computers for tasks ranging from searching or applying for employment or housing to writing a grant, tracking outcomes and scheduling volunteers.

ECF of Boeing St. Louis Awards Grant

The Employees Community Fund (ECF) of Boeing St. Louis recently awarded Room at the Inn a grant of $3,500 for a Client Self-Reliance Program. The ECF is a unique employee-owned and directed giving program that allows employees to support the needs of their local communities via tax-deductible recurring payroll deductions or one-time gifts. Boeing pays all administrative costs for the Fund so that 100% of every employee dollar contributed goes to support the community. More than 4,000 nonprofit organizations benefit each year from the average $31 million in employee contributions each year.

The ECF has supported Room at the Inn for many years and we are grateful for their ongoing commitment to making our community a better place to live and work. For more information on ECF, please visit their website at  http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/community/request_ecf_grant.html

Board Welcomes David Gerst

Room at the Inn welcomes David Gerst on its board of directors. David attended his first meeting on Monday, August 27, but has been involved with Room at the Inn for more than 13 years through Congregation Shaare Emeth.

“I had asked my Rabbi for some suggestions on how I could become involved with the community. She suggested Room at the Inn because the temple was already a night site,” recalls David. “I jumped in with both feet. At that time, I had young children and wanted them to learn about giving and helping others in need. This program provides a great opportunity to get involved and teach my children the importance of tzedakah, which means helping others.”

David is a vice president at US Bank and has a master’s degree in business. He has served with various marketing and operations professional organizations in the banking and debit card industry. He also has actively participated in Mentor St. Louis for several years. David is currently the Room night site coordinator at Shaare Emeth, but was interested in taking his involvement to the next level.

“I wanted to see what else I could do by helping to lead the program and offer some of my skills in a different capacity than I had for years,” explains David. “The board enables me the opportunity to contribute in a more strategic, long-range manner vs. the planning and coordinating efforts required to support the program just one day a month. I just wanted to do more.”

David was also in our recent video, If Not You, Then Who? The video features our night site volunteers sharing their thoughts about what serving Room at the Inn means to them and their congregations. It is available on our website by clicking here.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join the board of Room at the Inn,” says David. “After my first meeting, I’m confident that I’ve joined a progressive, diverse group of professionals and lay leaders who clearly have the same objective in mind – to enhance Room’s program, make the transition for our homeless as seamless as possible, and strengthen the relationship Room has with its supporting congregations.”

Room at the Inn board members serve a three year term and can renew their term up to three times. We look forward to the contributions and expertise David will bring to the board and to Room. If you are interested in becoming a board member, please contact Geralyn Frandsen, board member and chair of our board development committee, at gfrandsen@maryville.edu or David Renaud, board president, at drenaud09@gmail.com. You can also contact Program Director Val Ferlis at 314-209-9198.

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