Graduating another family into a happier future

amanda's graduationAmanda and her son Elijah, successful participants in our program, joyfully celebrated her graduation from Hamilton Tech College. Amanda completed the requirements for her Medical Assisting Diploma last weekend, on February 23.

Amanda earned an award as well for Excellent Attendance.

The Medical Assistant is trained to work with and under the direction of a physician in patient care and in administrative aspects of the physician’s office or other medical settings. Amanda’s training taught her clinical techniques including examining room procedures, obtaining vital signs and medical histories, performing routine laboratory procedures, sterilizing and maintaining equipment, and the proper techniques for administering medications.

With a degree in hand, Amanda is equipped with skills that can earn her a position in the medical field. She thereby has completed an important accomplishment which will advance her on the path to independent living.

Love is in the air at HMHI

Remember the HMHI Valentine contest we mentioned last month?

A Valentine from an HMHI child to his/her mother.

We thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the entries our HMHI participating children made for their parents in the Valentine contest. They speak volumes! [Click each one to make it larger. If you’re receiving the email subscription update of the blog, click through to the website for a better look.]


Energizing our HMHI children with contests

We love to have special events to engage the children of our participating families. HMHI has two such contests this month. After all, we know that it’s the little extra things we do to support our kids that brighten their lives and their days these dark winter months. Besides, Valentine’s Day is approaching, and we need to be ready for it!

candy heartThe first contest is just for fun. Children from our program can guess how many candy hearts are in a jar. The child who comes closest to the correct number in the candy jar will receive a gift grab bag. This contest’s easy to enter. And, simply for entering, the participating children will receive a special valentine.

The second contest requires some creative self-expression. The contest asks our children to write a poetic expression to a loved one entitled “I Love You Because…”.  The writing contest winner will receive a $10.00 gift certificate from Subway. We appreciate Subway’s certificate donation in sponsorship of the poetry contest.

All entries will be submitted by February 8. We’re looking forward to reading the entries and being inspired by the sincerity and the poetry of our HMHI children. The winners will be announced February 12–just in time for Valentine’s Day!


Redirecting lives adrift–our purpose since the beginning

Trish and daughter
Trish Turner and her daughter, Adriana, stand before a housing unit that once sheltered them, years ago. Photo Credit: Catholic Messenger:

Seventeen years ago, Trish Turner, then a 17 year-old, turned to us, overwhelmed by responsibilities of school, employment, parenthood and the need to find a safe place to live. Catholic Messenger reporter Barb Arland-Fye tells the story in the December 27 issue: “Humility of Mary Housing helped mom turn life around”

The story begins here:

The mother of one of her closest friends gave Trish the phone number for Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. “I never would have thought a phone call would have been such a saving grace.”

The supportive transitional and permanent housing program, now in its 23rd year, provides single-parent families experiencing homelessness with opportunities for growth and development that could result in self-sufficient living. Each family receives a furnished apartment and pays rent based on income and as determined by U.S. Housing and Urban Development standards.

“If you don’t have a place to call home and you don’t have food to put on the table, you can’t do anything else. When participants have these basic needs met, then they can work on goals,” said Sister Mary Ann Vogel, CHM, HMHI’s finance director.

Fortunately for Trish, who was one of our very first participants, this story has a happy ending. Do read it in its entirety on the Catholic Messenger website.

In a world filled with bad news stories, hope is a precious commodity.

We deal in hope at HMHI. You, our supporters, make hope happen.

Human trafficking –Learning the reality…and changing it

teresa matibag
Presenter Teresa Downing-Matibag clearly explained the sobering reality of human trafficking.

Many of us thought slavery ended a long time ago. But it did not. So, to update ourselves on the modern horror of human trafficking, HMHI invited Teresa Downing-Matibag, PhD to update us at our fall all-staff inservice day. Representing the Network against Human Trafficking, Teresa presented “Human Trafficking: Local Solutions to Global Slavery,” a presentation that informed and generated lots of discussion.

As we discussed, sharing from our own personal experience, it became increasingly evident that trafficking of persons is happening–not just somewhere far away–but in our own area, affecting our own lives. It was a sobering reality to consider, but this consideration raises awareness. Awareness and the knowledge of how to respond are effective tools in the battle to eliminate modern slavery.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to add the End Human Trafficking in Government Contracting Act to the NDAA act of 2013, largely through the efforts of U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal of Conneticut and Rob Portman of Ohio who co-chair the bipartisan Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.

Reflecting on the effort, Blumenthal stated:

“Current law prohibiting human trafficking is insufficient and ineffective, failing to prevent or punish abuses.  By increasing preventative scrutiny, investigation, and prosecution, this legislation will stop egregious human rights abuses on U.S military bases, increasing security for our troops, and preventing waste of taxpayer dollars.” 

This recent legislative move was a major boost for trafficking rights advocates. They’ve been working toward a replacement to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the United States’ main anti-trafficking law, which expired last year and has yet to be reauthorized.

Nevertheless, Teresa asserted while she instructed us that human trafficking is not an issue that will be solved merely by legislation and/or by punitive enforcement of law. We need to work toward a culture that grants dignity to all and does not allow humans to be bought and sold.

HMHI Winners collect Thanksgiving pies

HMHI children's November winners
DJ and Liyah are pictured at Village Inn with their pies–prized trophies for winning the November HMHI essay contest.

What better prize can you win for a Thanksgiving essay contest than a pie compliments of Village Inn? That was the trophy take-home with which DJ and Liyah treated their families. DJ and Liyah were the winners in November’s essay contest. Their essay, entitled “Why My Family Loves to Celebrate Thanksgiving” took top honors among the  participating children from HMHI families.

HMHI thanks Village Inn, and manager Mani, for sponsoring this month’s contest prize. Everyone loves Village Inn pies, and they taste even better with you’ve earned them with your best writing!

Autumn contest fun for HMHI children

HMHI childrenOur HMHI children, who once knew housing insecurity, now eagerly participate in monthly contests where everyone wins. Mozella Stokes, our office receptionist, loves children and has a motherly knack for knowing what they will like. Due to her initiative and creativity,  the kids of our participating families can join seasonal activities that often get the entire family involved.

HMHI children & pumpkins
Samantha (left) and her brother Stephen, winner of 2nd prize, proudly brought the pumpkins for a display at HMHI’s office during Mozella’s fall contest.

Last week Mozella announced the winners of the fall pumpkin decorating contest. First place winner Alexis brought home a Happy Joe’s Famly Pizza Night for her family. Steven 2nd place winner (pictured), received a Marvel Hero Racing set. Mozella contacted Quad City HyVee stores to solicit pumpkin donations and requested Happy Joe’s for the first prize package sponsorship.

Every child who participated received a treat bag. All the children were able to bring the pumpkins back home to decorate their houses for Halloween. It was a winning event for all the families who took part.

Details of Mozella’s Thanksgiving contest, our final contest for 2012, are posted on the website Events Calendar page.

Successful fall sale capped by Quad City Times support

photo credit Quad City Times
Photo Credit: Quad City Times, Jeff Cook. Shoppers loved the bargains at last weekend’s Fall Fresh Start Sale. Proceeds benefited our HMHI programs.

The semi-annual fall sale last weekend cleared lots of merchandise from our warehouse, sending it to new homes in the Quad Cities. The rummage sale of items donated to Humility of Mary Housing will benefit the programs that empower single parent families that are in need of homes. This was the first fall Fresh Start Sale at our new agency headquarters, a building that we moved into just one year ago.

We’re always grateful to communicate our message to the wider community and let the Quad Cities know about the great work we’re doing to make our area a better, more productive place to live. So we were blessed to receive coverage in the Quad City Times in an article by Jennifer DeWitt.

Gertrude Vogel and Sue Purcell
Gertrude Vogel (left) and Sue Purcell sort donations to use and sell at the Fresh Start Sale.

DeWitt’s article focused on the origins of the Fresh Start Sale. What is now grown into a huge event had humble beginnings in the garage of Gertrude Vogel, long-time volunteer at HMHI. Gertrude is still a daily visitor at HMHI who maintains a lively interest and involvement in the sale.

The Times article went beyond the sale itself to explain to the public the mission that the Fresh Start Sale funds: transitional and permanent housing for single parent families. For just $35 dollars a day, we are able to support and launch a formerly homeless family, empowering them to achieve housing independence. That’s money well spent.

The Fresh Start Sale crew will now set its sights on preparations for the Spring Sale 2013.

Leadership supporting families in crisis

HMHI leaders cut ribbon on new officesFamilies participating in HMHI programs access professional assistance from an organization that has won respect state-wide. Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. leaders have carefully grown the agency from its initial four units to its current 49 housing units.

HMHI offers a compassionate and informed approach to families that bear the trauma and stress that accompanies homelessness. The agency is a leader with a pioneering programming model as well as by its principle of holding participants to a standard that will support success.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. recognizes the important work family shelters accomplish. It partners closely with the programs that provide such shelter in the Quad Cities. At the same time, for the last twenty-two years HMHI has pioneered a different sort of program to assist single-parent families who lack stable housing.

Treating each family individually, HMHI recognizes that each family has unique needs and assets.

Alternatives to shelter living can and do work.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. is leading an alternative model to the traditional shelter approach. That model creates positive results…every day.

To learn more about how leaders have carefully fostered the HMHI agency so that many families can receive assistance, read this post.

Good times rolled at HMHI’s New Orleans Jazz Brunch

Sarah Marie Young Ensemble
Sarah Marie Young and ensemble headlined HMHI’s 2012 New Orleans Jazz Brunch.

With sun streaming down on the Crow Valley Golf Club, HMHI’s Jazz Brunch on Sunday shone with great food, outstanding music and a room full of generous supporters.

The lovely fresh flowers provided by Hy-Vee (Utica Ridge & 53rd) matched the beauty of the surroundings, all decorated in the traditional gold, green and purple of New Orlean’s Mardi Gras.  The smooth melodies of award-winning Chicago jazz vocalist Sarah Marie Young, featured entertainer, were supported by an equally talented ensemble on bass and piano.

Mimosa flowed freely, and brunch did not disappoint. Capturing the flavors of New Orleans, the entrees were supported by fresh Midwestern seasonal vegetables. And the dessert bar enticed many attendees into two or more sweet meal finales.

But  the highlight for many supporters in the large dining room was the testimony from one of the first HMHI participants, Trisha. She recounted her life journey beginning with her tenuous situation as a sixteen-year-old single mother and high

jazz brunch 2012
Supporters filled the room at HMHI’s New Orleans Jazz Brunch 2012, held at the Crow Valley Golf Club.

school dropout. Trisha credited the support she received during her participation in the HMHI program with turning her life around. Today her resume includes a master’s degree in accounting and a long-standing, successful career with the U.S. Government. Trisha’s story of accomplishment drew both some empathic tears and also a standing ovation from the group.

The opportunity to attend a lunch for ten with Sam Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deere and Company in the Executive Dining Room at Deere and Company World Headquarters or a similar lunch for six with Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD., President of St. Ambrose University at the Rogalski Center were live-auctioned. Proceeds of the auction and the jazz brunch event will support HMHI’s programming.

Enjoy this photo gallery from the 2012 New Orleans Jazz Brunch. Click any thumbnail to enlarge for full appreciation: