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HOPE Hero - Dawn

 

June HOPE Hero: Dawn - HOPE Chest Manager  💜

 

About our HOPE Hero:                                     dawn2

Dawn is originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has a long history working in the customer service industry; starting at the age of 10 pouring root beer at her family’s drive-in diner. She is the Manager at the HOPE Chest Thrift Store (HOPE Chest) which is open to the public and serves as a resource for survivors of domestic violence to receive items they need to be successful. Dawn describes HOPE Chest as, “A wonderful place to find awesome treasures, while supporting survivors of domestic violence.”

What motivates you to work with HOPE?

I’m one of the lucky ones and I truly can’t wait to get to work in the morning! Just knowing that what we do every day helps change lives for the better is the biggest motivating factor for me. Just think, together with donors and shoppers, we are making a difference in our community.

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Seeing Lake Michigan from 3,500 feet up while skydiving. It was amazing how quiet it was up there and just so beautiful. 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

Our motto at the HOPE Chest is, “We get serious about having fun.” So, my advice would be, have fun and always remember by volunteering for HOPE you are saving lives. It doesn’t get better than that!

Describe yourself using only film titles.

Let's see... Beaches, Airplane, and some days it can feel like One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest. But those are some of my most favorite days!

What have you learned on the job? 

I've learned to never judge a book by its cover, and just how far a healthy dose of patience, kindness, and respect can go. Another big one for me is how much I still have to learn and grow.

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission!

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Reasons You Should Be Thrifting

 Hope chest green dishes               Hope chest orange dress

Donating and shopping at HOPE Chest helps to support survivors of domestic violence.

However, there are many other reasons to thrift this summer!  

Here's our list of the top reasons why you should be thrifting: 

  1. Stretch your budget 

If you’re looking for a good reason to shop at thrift stores, look no further than your own wallet. It’s no secret that thrift stores, like HOPE Chest, sell items for a fraction of the full price for new items. The idea of frugal living isn’t just good for people with limited financial resources - everyone can benefit. Looking for bargains can help you save money to put toward a financial goal, splurge on that item you want, or pay your expenses. 

Many thrift stores go a step further and offer greater savings on certain days. At HOPE Chest, we offer specials on the first Thursday of every month, including everyone’s favorite, all items over $1 are 50% off. 

Caution: After shopping at a thrift store, you might not want to purchase anything at full retail price - again. Thrift store shopping will save you some serious cash!

  1. You can create your own style 

If you’re in the market for new summer looks and you head straight to a department store to pay full price, you’re bound to run into other people wearing the same outfits. Discovering a new look means finding your next staple piece. Thrift shops also have a diverse assortment of clothing, meaning you’re less likely to find yourself wearing the same top or as a friend or co-worker. Thrift shopping is a way to try a new look, trend, brand or style without sacrificing our savings account. 

After all, we’re all unique — shouldn’t our wardrobes reflect us? 

  1. It’s fun to treasure hunt

Just like auctions, yard sales, or flea markets, you never know what you’ll find at a thrift store. With donations coming in daily, there are always hidden treasures to find. Avid thrifters call it the thrill of the hunt and it can get competitive; searching through racks for your own personal treasure can be exciting, suspenseful, and addictive. 

Pro tip:  If you like it, hold onto it, because you may lose the opportunity to grab it later!

  1. Thrift stores help the community

Most thrift shops, like HOPE Chest, are run by charitable or non-profit organizations that use their retail platform to provide much-needed services to the community. At the time survivors need it most; participants of HOPE Family Services (HOPE) are able to shop free of charge at HOPE Chest, from socks to home furnishings. By shopping at HOPE Chest your proceeds help to pay for utilities and repairs at HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter. Whether you donate to HOPE Chest or shop at HOPE Chest you are saving lives and supporting survivors of domestic violence in Manatee County, FL. 

  1. There is SO much more than just clothes

Whether you’re looking for a handbag, kitchenware, clothing, or anything in between, thrift stores have it all. At most stores, you can find sections with kitchen appliances, artwork, toys, furniture, jewelry, shoes, books and much more. For many, thrift stores a go-to place for their sizeable furniture selections, including quality items and great discounts. HOPE Chest offers an array of items and even has rotating seasonal decorations in the Holiday Room! 

  1. It’s environmentally friendly 

Donating and buying from a thrift shop is an excellent way to reuse and recycle. The reuse of items such as clothes, electronics, furniture, etc. decreases the waste going to landfills and the number of new items that need to be created. Thrift shopping is also an eco-friendly alternative to fast fashion, which is the process of getting new and trendy items to consumers as quickly and cheaply as possible. Buying second-hand means you don’t have to sacrifice your style to be kind to Mother Earth. 

Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club Donates to HOPE’s Children’s Reading Library

On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club (LWRWC) hosted its annual Speakers Series Fundraiser Luncheon that raised over $2,000 and 825 books to benefit HOPE Family Services Children’s Reading Library, “The Book Nook.” The luncheon featured internationally acclaimed author, Lucetta Zaytoun.

The event was held at the LWR Golf & Country Club with more than 80 women in attendance, opened with beautiful music by gifted violinist, Margot Zarzycka, who plays with the Sarasota Orchestra. After a warm welcome from LWRWC President, Kathleen Cleveland, and Event Chairs: Cheryl Breining and Eileen Buzzard, HOPE Family Services CEO, Laurel Lynch, expressed her gratitude to LWRWC for the donation and for bringing the joy of reading to children and their mothers at HOPE’s Domestic Violence Shelter. Laurel explained that inspiring children to read will positively impact their futures. The original idea of the LWRWC was for mothers in the shelter to read to their children, but it is just as valuable (if not more so) for children to read to their mothers.

Keynote speaker, Lucetta Zaytoun, was deeply moved by the mission of HOPE Family Services because she is a courageous survivor of domestic violence. Lucetta shared her own horrific story of her escape with two toddlers from a physically abusive husband, with only two trash bags filled with clothing and toys. After finding the strength to overcome her trauma, she married a man with four children and became a devoted mother to all six kids. When the children were grown, she discovered that her husband was in love with another woman. Finding herself with no career, Lucetta turned tragedy into triumph with a remarkable global journey, backpacking through third world countries, and learning to overcome her fears and find her true identity. When she returned to the US, she became a certified life coach, a bestselling author and an international speaker.  Lucetta wrote a best-selling memoir of her incredible solo journey around the world entitled “It’s Already Tomorrow Here: Never Underestimate the Power of Running Away.” By conquering fear, Lucetta gained remarkable success in her personal and professional life.

The giving women of Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club consistently raise awareness and drive community support for organizations like HOPE Family Services. We cannot thank them enough for their donation of 825 books and $2,000 for HOPE's children's library in our shelter. The donation could not have come at a better time because they will help enhance our summer reading program, which helps children in our shelter overcome the summer learning slide, who are at an even higher risk of the summer slide. Our new Children’s “Book Nook” will help decrease the summer slide by providing the tools needed to achieve their academic goals. We are so grateful for HOPE Heroes like the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club.

Below are some photos from the book drive fundraiser and the finished Book Nook in our safe shelter!

             NookVisit       01   

                02       05 

       Book Nook 5.15.19 1    

Supporting a Friend with a Mental Health Issue

Are you worried someone close to you might be battling with their mental health? You’re not alone. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition, many undiagnosed.

Like any other health problem, someone with a mental health issue needs extra love and support.  You may not be able to physically see the issue, but it doesn’t mean that you’re powerless to help. If you are unsure of how best to approach someone who may be struggling, these tips may help.

How to know when to help

It’s important to understand the warning signs that come with different mental health issues. Some signs that a friend or family member may need your help include: 

  • Suddenly they lack interest in hobbies and other interests they used to love
  • They are talking about taking their life or feeling hopeless
  • They are avoiding their close friends and family members
  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • They seem emotionally numb like they don’t feel anything anymore
  • They used to be healthy, but now they’re always saying they feel a bit sick or “off”
  • Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits.
  • They seem to be anxious or overwhelmed about situations or objects in life that seem normal to you and to others
  • Repeated use of drugs or drinking heavily to cope
  • They have mentioned or seem to be hearing strange voices or having unsettling thoughts

What you can do to help

Start the conversation

Just a simple conversation can go a long way in helping your friend. Share your observations with your friend. Focus on being nonjudgmental, compassionate and understanding. Make sure to actively listen and use “I” (instead of “you”) comments to get the conversation started.

Examples:

  • I've noticed that you haven't been acting like yourself lately. Do you want to talk about it?
  • I am someone who cares and wants to listen. What do you want me to know about how you are feeling?
  • I’ve noticed you’re [sleeping more, eating less, etc.]. Is everything okay?

Offer support

Keep in mind that your friend might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through or simply may not want your help right now. Be patient, understanding and provide them with hope. You can make sure they know they are not alone, it can be a comfort just to know that they have people that care.

 It’s also important to support their healthy behaviors. Strategies such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising can be helpful when managing one’s mental health. Supporting your friend by eliminating or reducing alcohol or drug use is another great way to help him or her build healthy habits.

Be a friend

Being a friend means being there in easy times and more difficult times. If your friend is experiencing a mental health condition, this is a time when he or she needs you the most. Sometimes just talking about it might help your friend feel less alone and more understood.

 Here are some ways you can show you care:

  • Be a resource for them by giving them ideas on where they can go to get help.
  • Check-in with them regularly.
  • Learn more about mental health conditions.
  • Treat them with a non-judgemental attitude, empathy, and honesty.

Get Advice

Helping a friend with mental illness can be hard to handle by yourself. Don't hesitate to reach out to someone and talk about how you’re feeling as a friend/caregiver, especially  for advice to most effectively help your friend. Consider talking to a trusted individual in your life like a family member, counselor, teacher, faith leader, or friend.

 You can be the difference in helping a friend who needs support but is too afraid to seek help.  It could save his or her life!

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