Celebrations, Love and Gifts

So many of us watched all the “Royal Baby Craze” on television. It is so easy to get wrapped up in pop culture news. While this particular baby will one day be written in history books, it begs so many questions in my mind:

Why is any other baby on Earth less anticipated than a famous one?

Why is any other baby celebrated in a less grand manner?

Why do we assume that famous mothers will be good ones?

“Seeing the girls’ faces when they are showered with love and gifts at a baby shower, or being able to go on a new outing because we were able to raise money to create a ‘Fun Fund,’ or the simple joy of a new resident because we have the funds to bring her in and serve her needs,” is what drives Project Home Indy’s own, Lori Olson, Event and Nutrition Coordinator.

Olson Family

She explains that she loves a good party – but loves it that much more when she gets to plan it!

At PHI, we believe each of “our girls” deserves celebrations, love, and gifts – from basic to lavish.

Whatever we can give, it is given.

Whatever is available, is passed on to them.

“Being a mom matters. I believe the gals who live here at PHI, have just as much potential for being a good mom as everyone else,” said Lori.

“One of the best moments was when I worked alongside one of our residents to make a beef stew from scratch. She had a craving for it, but no recipe. We looked up several recipes online and found one she liked. We had everything on-hand, and I taught her how to shave the carrots and potatoes, cut the stewing beef and veggies, and then follow all the rest of the directions step-by-step. As it simmered or hours, everyone that came in the house marveled at how good it smelled, and eventually, how good it tasted when it was dinner time. This momma-to-be was so proud of herself, I think she stood up 2 inches taller,” Lori shared.

The small army of women that rally around our residents, do so because we know that good mothers don’t just happen. Being a good mother is a learned experience. We need models and ideas and information even form a definition of what a “good mother” is and is not.

The residents at PHI know that each day, they have at least one person who will offer nothing but help, understanding, and encouragement, while they’re learning what could be the biggest lesson of their lives.

Lori recently said she hopes the girls learn from her, “That life, as well as parenting, is a process – not an event. But in both, you need to take the time to practice patience, and kindness and a little planning.”

With staff who hold themselves to personal work goals so large to model from, how could our residents become anything less than good mothers, deserving of love, full of compassion, and ready to take on the world?

Won’t you join us in making a difference for a young mother and baby today? http://www.projecthomeindy.org/wish-list/

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A ‘Home’ of Trial and Triumphs

The following was written and submitted by Inez Thomas. 

In 2004, Kristen Schunk Moreland heard a story on the radio that seems all too common now:  Homelessness and teen pregnancy in Indiana were increasing, while at the same time, resources and services were not.

However, this time, there was actual hope at the end of this particular piece.  An organization in another state had opened a “home” to provide basic resources like education, healthcare, and parenting skills for pregnant teens.

The story moved Kristen deeply, and would become the seed for a beautiful idea. One that would lead young, pregnant and parenting women with nowhere to go, through the trials in their lives allowing them to triumph over their circumstances.

She decided to do some research of her own: What about Indianapolis? Were some of these basic needs being met for young women who find themselves pregnant or parenting and homeless?  Kristen found that the story here, in Indianapolis, looked remarkably similar to the city the NPR story profiled – a void of resources in a community that desperately needed them.

At the time, Indianapolis had no residential facilities or shelters for young women under the age of 18 who had children.  She shared this story and her research with three of her closest friends – Lakshmi Hasanadka, Christina Koennecke, and Chris Collins.  They, too, were disappointed by the results. After some thought, the four of them decided to take matters into their own hands.  They would open their own “home” for pregnant, parenting, and homeless young mothers of Indianapolis.Image

Some founding members of Project Home Indy paused for a photo at a recent fundraiser. From left to right: Lakshmi Hasanadka, Christine Koennecke, and Kristen Schunk Moreland.

It quickly became clear that this would not be an easy or quick project, but, working tirelessly on fulfilling the needs of young women they had not even met, the four friends became the founders of Project Home Indy.

Several years of monthly meetings, which included assessments, strategic planning, numerous interviews with providers and other community partners produced encouraging results.

Meeting twice monthly for several years thereafter, assessments were conducted, strategic plans drafted, and a dedicated board of healthcare, human services, and legal professionals was developed.

Also during that time, Frank Hagaman from Partners in Housing – another friend who lent his professional advice and boundless energy – became instrumental in connecting Project Home Indy with its future housing partner, Trinity Episcopal Church.

Trinity had a property on its campus that needed renovation and a good cause to go with it, and Project Home Indy saw it as a perfect partnership.

After thoughtful planning, fundraisers, and extensive work uncovering the nitty-gritty regulations and codes – the stuff that really makes a home for moms and kids work – on October 1, 2011, the house finally became the home that its founders dreamed of many years before.

Two young women, one pregnant and one with an infant, arrived at Project Home Indy making I their new home. The founders and staff were ready with open arms, swift dedication to the cause, and a belief that if given the right resources, these women could achieve whatever dreams and goals they chose.

Since then, Project Home Indy has been a nurturing and stable home for over a dozen young mothers and their children. It has become a “home” for young women in their time of need, working through their trials, and allowing them to triumph.

To see how you can help provide resources for our young women, please visit: http://www.projecthomeindy.org/wish-list/.

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A Very Special House Guest

Recently, the girls at Project Home Indy were given the opportunity to have dinner with best-selling author and creator of Momastery, Glennon Doyle Melton.

PHI staff members, Glennon, her mother, Tisha, Momastery guru Amy Olrick, and the residents of PHI shared hugs and got acquainted. As the night went on, they all ended up having deep conversations about motherhood and life in a large circle in the living room.

There were smiles. There were tears. Past experiences were shared. Babies were held. Fears were spoken. Hopes and dreams for the future were said aloud.

It was a safe circle, without judgment or guilt. It was simply a room of women of all ages, listening and encouraging one another.

Glennon was in town for Project Home Indy’s largest fundraiser of the year. She came to speak at the event after PHI Executive Director, Sarah Nielsen, explained that she would be a perfect addition to the event, but that PHI runs “on a shoestring,” and wasn’t able to pay her normal speaking fees.

Glennon not only said yes, she would come. She also paid her own way, so that every penny could continue to go to creating a safe place for our residents and their babies, and solid foundation for their future.

The day after dinner with our gracious house guests, at the PHI Boutique and Brunch, Glennon shared a bit of her experience from the night before.

Glennon Doyle Melton, Indianapolis, Project Home Indy

Glennon Doyle Melton, speaking about the brave, kind, and hard working residents at Project Home Indy during the Boutique and Brunch fundraiser.

She described the residents of PHI as honest, brave, hard workers, kind, strong, and wise. Glennon spoke of the bond she could see between the girls, the way they are willing to help each other, and to be kind to each other.

Glennon had even remarked that having a husband to help raise a child was good. But having a group of women who understand what you’re going through and are willing to support you might be better.

That is sort of the goal we have at PHI…to be the best support for our girls that we possibly can. To see them for whom they are, celebrate even their smallest victories, and support them even on their darkest days. We aim to not allow our girls and their babies be statistics, but instead to allow them to become successful, independent women.

The girls were honored to see their hard work be recognized and praised.

The PHI staff was honored that Glennon was able to share her experience at PHI for others to be able hear about and see for themselves how strong and brave these young women are.

Thanks to you, our dedicated and generous PHI supporters, along with the generosity of Glennon, over $40,000 was raised for PHI at this event.

If you are interested in being involved in future events, or volunteering your time or talent at PHI, please contact us.

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A Gift for You

Glennon Doyle Melton is coming in less than two weeks!!! You know the one…More beautiful than she knows, love and hope spreading, writer, truth-teller, author, gatherer of “Monkees” and mountain mover? We are so very excited to have her with us, in person, as you can imagine.

Sunday, May 5, is coming up so quickly, that we didn’t want any single one of you to be left out. It’s kind of a big deal. Not only is it Project Home Indy’s largest fundraiser of the year, but The Historic Madame Walker Theater will be packed full of unimaginable kindness!

During the “Brunch and Boutiques” we will have six fabulous boutiques selling their goodies, including: Clothesline Kids, Endless Forms Jewelry and Soap, Frittle Candy, Knits & Knots, Linda Rose Jewelry Designs, Retro 101 and Silpada.

This is a big deal for us, because a whole 20% of all sales will go directly to benefiting the young women and babies at PHI. There will also be a silent auction, raffle, and $10 “Surprise!” bags waiting for a home with you!

We are so proud to let each of you know that we are completely, standing-room-only, “Sold Out” for the Brunch – but wait…we don’t want to leave a single one of you out, remember? 

This is our gift to you – Glennon, herself, in-the-flesh…for real life…is speaking in the Theater at 2 p.m., and YOU CAN STILL BE THERE! Not only CAN you still see her bravely speak about “doing hard things” and “belonging to each other,” and whatever else pops into that beautiful brain of hers, but, if you BUY ONE Ticket, we will GIVE you one ticket into the theater.

Here is how to claim your gift:

  1. Buy one ticket at the event page for $30.
  2. Email our event coordinator at lori@projecthomeindy. Be sure to put, “BLOG BOGO” in the subject line.

Here’s how you can give back…shop your way through the theater “pre- and post-Glennon.” There, we will have an additional six boutiques, set up with each of you in mind. It’s a mix we thought you could all enjoy a little something from, Dottie Couture, Kristy’s Future Fashions, Origami Owl Custom Jewelry, Positively Posh, Thirty-One Bags, and Exhale Mobile Spa. And, they each will also be donating 20% of all their sales to PHI that day!

So, won’t you please join us on Sunday, May 5 around 2 p.m.?

Share a ticket with a friend, see an amazing woman speak, immerse yourself in the beauty of the event, find some special gifts for yourself, and remember to choose a gift for Mother’s Day for an amazing mom in your own life, and do it all while helping our young mamas!

Oh, and if you’re coming from a distance, here’s an extra tidbit for you! The Alexander, a brand-spanking new hotel in the heart of downtown Indianapolis is holding a set of rooms just for YOU, on Saturday, May 4th. It is located at 333 S. Delaware Street, and is less than 2 miles from the Madame Walker. Use this link to reserve your room, or call them up at 317-624-8200.

We hope you accept our additional ticket gift, when you purchase yours, and pass it on. After all, we really do belong to each other.

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Why So Much?

belly

Whew! If you haven’t been following along the last couple of weeks, you’ve missed A LOT!

Last Tuesday, our new fairy godmother Glennon Melton announced a Love Flash Mob benefiting Project Home Indy and then chaos of the best possible kind ensued. The Monkees (Glennon’s online love posse) met their goal  – a whopping $83,000 – in five and a half hours! And they did it through maximum individual donations of $25 each!

It didn’t stop there… the Monkees kept on giving and when the dust settled the total amount raised reached $110,000. $83,000 will go to PHI and the rest will benefit other families through Glennon’s charitable organization Monkee See – Monkee Do.

The flash mob was a sight to behold. Glennon provided the play-by-play via Facebook. Here are some of the highlights starting with Tuesday morning’s flash mob announcement including a link to the blog post on momastery.com containing our own Sarah Nielsen’s beautiful request for help:

It’s LOVE FLASH MOB time!!!! Let’s make some Miracles today, Monkees! http://momastery.com/blog/2013/03/05/love-flash-mob/

Ok. TEN THOUSAND IN THIRTY MINUTES. Sweet Little Sister and Your Precious Precious Baby – Just breathe and hang tight. We’re coming for you. SHARE SHARE GIVE PRAY!!!!!!

TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ONE HOUR. What if this Little Mama was praying for a home for her baby last night? What if Sarah could go to her TONIGHT and tell her that those prayers were heard and answered? SHARE SHARE HOPE PRAY GIVE!!!

THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS IN 85 MINUTES.

40 THOUSAND IN TWO HOURS. WE ARE HALFWAY THERE. Little Mama- Know you’re not alone. Cause we’re gonna make this place your home.

WE’RE AT FIFTY THOUSAND. It’s noon. Momentum slows now. Let’s reach out to our friends who aren’t on Facebook… And remember this: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

We are at SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. In four hours. Please listen. I just spoke with Sarah from Indy. They are in shock. They have been watching the numbers closely. And they are BELIEVING that we will hit our goal. Tonight. And so our Mama… they just called her. And they told her what was happening. And she is getting ready. SHE and her belly are packing up. TONIGHT, MONKEES. If we get there – she will lay her head on her own pillow, in her own room, in her HOME…TONIGHT. Please BELIEVE. PLEASE SHARE. PLEASE GIVE. IT’S ALL HAPPENING.

And finally, five and a half hours after the flash mob started...

There is no greater honor than participating in the lifting up of another woman. None.

Today, you raised 85 thousand dollars in five and a half hours. THAT’S MORE THAN $250 DOLLARS PER MINUTE. I just received this message from Sarah:

********************

Glennon,

We called her and told her that it’s REALLY going to happen. She’s packing faster now. She doesn’t have much, so it will be easy. I heard Jamie, our case manager say on the phone, “YES, REALLY”, “I REALLY MEAN IT” several times. We get to say yes. Because of you and the Monkees.

Love, Sarah

*********************

She’s packing. She’s crying and packing.

GOD SAID YES TO HER TODAY.

GOD SAID YES.

THROUGH YOU- GOD SAID YES. YES- this world cares for you. YES- you are worthy of becoming a mama and a good one and YES you are not only worthy of that but worthy of HELP. Because you matter. Your baby matters. What happens to the two of you MATTERS. You matter to women all over the WORLD who have NEVER even met you, sister. Because you and that baby – you belong to us. And we belong to you.

We Belong To Each Other.

She comes home tonight. It’s done. It’s done.

We will end this Flash Mob tonight. Don’t stop giving. We have more sisters to help. These are some of the women waiting for our help from Monkee See – Monkee Do. They are hoping and praying that we will have room.

– a woman whose husband has left her and her kids

– a family who needs to travel for treatment for a bi-polar child

– travel for a Monkee sister to meet her soul-Monkee-sister to hold her hand as her child goes through a bone marrow transplant

– mama who is bed-ridden and needs surgery to be able to care for her daughter with special needs

– mama who is drowning in stress and worry over how to pay for surgeries that gave her son fingers and -toes and more surgeries needed in the future

– mama and daughter who both have cancer

LET US CARRY ON, WARRIORS.

I’ll update you every hour.

I do not care what anyone says. It cannot ever, ever get better than this.

Love Wins.

With Love and Gratitude –

Glennon

___________________________________________

Each one of the status updates was met with hundreds of comments and thousands of “Likes”.

On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Star and RTV6 featured stories on the flash mob, further shining a spot light on Project Home Indy and our efforts. Thursday, WTHR followed suit. The publicity is invaluable for ensuring that we continue to garner the support we need in order to continue our efforts far into the future.

As the support poured in from around the country and more and more people became aware of our work, a logical question emerged: Why So Much? Why does it cost $83,000 to house one client and her child for a year? 

We get that. It’s a good question. Here’s the answer:

It’s not just a bed. It’s also professional services, counseling, medical care, the home itself, maintenance, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and education. It’s steep – but it’s complete, wrap-around services. We’re not just giving these families a place to sleep, we’re giving them everything they need to break the cycle of poverty from which they’ve come.

Our largest budget item is in meeting the state staffing requirements that come with housing children (all of our clients are under the age of eighteen) and infants. We are required to have one or two staff members (depending on how many clients we have at any given time and the age of their babies) on duty – 24 hours a day, seven days a week! 

We are a small, compact not-for-profit. We run on the leanest budget possible with every dollar raised goint directly towards supporting client services.

The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming and PHI is beyond grateful to Glennon, the Monkees and everyone else who jumped on board and helped give another family a chance at a happy, healthy life. Thank you all so very much.

On Tuesday night, Glennon posted a personal letter to the PHI client that befitted from the flash mob. This is what it’s all about…

Dear Warrior Mama,

It’s been a day, huh? We know you’re settling into your new room. We’re glad you’re home. We’re so very, very glad you’re home. Please nibble that baby boy’s toes for us. Snuggle his neck. Kiss the top of his head and tell him that the Universe must have found him pretty special to do this for him today. Tell him that he is going to great things. Or even better- tell him that he is going to do small things with great love.

And to you, mama. I needed to tell you something before you went to sleep. After we raised the money to bring you home, we raised more. We have $100,000 now, mama. Which means that it’s not just you who’s getting love mobbed today. Lots more mamas are going to get the help they need and deserve. So THANK YOU, mama. Today you’ve been helped but your story and courage and life have helped other mamas just like you. You received a miracle but you also gave one. Just by being you.

Thanks for giving me one of the best days of my entire life. 50 days till I get to meet you. I can’t wait.

Love, G and All The Monkees

There is still much work to be done. As they say, onward and upward! The fundraising continues. This week we are neck deep in Brackets for Good. Click here or visit our Facebook page for more information about how to get involved in that! Thanks again for your continued support.

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Monkee Love Flash Mob

monkee-red-heart

 

Today is pretty huge day for Project Home Indy!

We have been chosen by Glennon Melton of Momastery.com and her Monkee See – Monkee Do Organization  for a fundraising flash mob! What that means is that for the next 48 hours, Glennon’s followers, The Monkees (over 65,000 strong) will come together to raise funds for Project Home Indy. Their goal? $83,000 – the cost of hosting one mama and her baby at PHI for a year!

The Monkees have already begun and according to Glennon via a Facebook update, they have raised $10,000 in thirty minutes! This is particularly remarkable in that the maximum donation allowed is $25. That’s how the Monkees roll!

To read more about the effort including a beautiful piece by Project Home Indy’s own Sarah Nielsen or for more information on donating, click here.

In the words of Glennon, “We can do hard things.” You can help by donating to the effort and by sharing this information with others.

Thank you so very much.

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Let the Games Begin!

Brackets-For-Good-LOGO

Brackets for Good tips off in just 4 days and Project Home Indy is poised and ready for a run at the championship!

Making it to the finals won’t be easy. We need everyone on the team warmed up and ready to play!

Need some extra incentive to get off the bench? Here’s something to sweeten the pot:

Donations can be made anytime during rounds 1 through 4 to be eligible for the drawing. Don’t wait too long, though! Project Home Indy has to win each round in order to advance. The sooner you make your donation, the sooner you’ll be guaranteed an entry! 

Or, for the workout junkies in the group…

  • Let’s get physical, shall we? Join us for Zumba on Saturday, March 23rd at St. Richards Episcopal School (33 East 33rd Street, Indianapolis) at 9:30 am. Admission is just $10 and all proceeds will go to the 3rd round of competition. 

Remember, we have to win to advance so don’t wait to get in the game. Donations can be made beginning Monday, March 4th. 

Just follow these three easy steps to get in on the action: Visit the Brackets for Good website (http://indianapolis.bracketsforgood.org/), sign-in and donate. It’s that simple!

This is an incredible opportunity for PHI. Last year’s Brackets for Good winner raised almost $10,000, in addition to the $5,000 prize money. A donation of that size would help us to serve additional families, add much-needed services, and build our existing programs!

Mark your calendars and keep your eye on this blog, our Facebook page and Twitter for tournament updates!

Go PHI!

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Brackets for Good

Brackets-For-Good-LOGO

Project Home Indy is proud to announce their selection for participation in the second annual Brackets for Good charitable tournament.

Brackets For Good is a non-profit organization that hosts online fundraising tournaments for other non-profits at no cost. Picture the annual Men’s College Basketball tournament brackets that you fill out at work and home but replace the basketball teams with non-profit organizations.

“Teams” advance in the tourney by raising more money than their opposition. And 100% of all tournament donations go directly to that organization regardless of advancement. Everybody wins!

Each time a person visits the Brackets for Good website and donates to an organization, their donation translates into points – one dollar equals one point. After each round, the winning non-profit advances for an opportunity to compete in the championship.

The tournament champion will receive a $5,000 grand prize donation, provided by Innovative, a hybrid marketing company in Indianapolis.

This year, sixteen Indianapolis-based organizations will compete for the $5,000 winner-take-all prize money.

The games begin on Monday, March 4, 2013, so mark your calendars now!  Get ready to get off the bench and into the game for PHI!

Just follow these three easy steps to get in on the action… Visit the Brackets for Good website (www.bracketsforgood.org), sign-in and donate. It’s that easy!

Keep your eye on this blog, our Facebook page and Twitter for tournament updates!

Go Team!!

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She Said Yes!

GM Header

Welcome to Project Home Indy’s brand new blog! Each week we’ll be using this space to share our most pressing needs, our very latest successes and our really exciting news with you.

And, speaking of really exciting news… this first juicy tidbit is a doozy!

It started on a whim… a you never know unless you try kind of thing. Our executive director Sarah Nielsen needed a speaker for the annual fundraising event in May. So, she decided to go big. She threw caution and doubt to the wind and contacted Glennon Melton  – author, speaker and internet rock star. “I could have never imagined we would receive a response from such an incredibly busy person,” said Sarah. “But the worst she could say was no, so I went for it.”

Glennon is one of Huffington Post’s most popular contributors, has a book on Amazon’s Best Seller list that hasn’t even been released yet and leads a massive online group of women called the Monkees. The Monkees are part support group, part fundraising flashmob. Their breakneck successes have included everything from sending a woman with stage four pancreatic cancer, her husband and their eight children on their first vacation ever to teaming up with Microsoft to transform a school in Maryland that serves special needs students. Glennon and the Monkees are a force to be reckoned with. If they get behind your cause, you’re almost guaranteed success.

That’s why Glennon’s email and subsequent blog post, accepting Sarah’s invitation and giving a big Monkee shout-out to Project Home Indy, evoked the response it did. In an email that Glennon posted on the Momastary Facebook page (over 58,000 members strong), Sarah wrote, “I am shaking, sobbing, crying with joy. As I read your message last night, I cried my eyes out, yelling “GLENNON MELTON ANSWERED MY EMAIL!” To which, my husband had to shake me and say, “SARAH, what did she say?!” And then through garbled whispers and heaving sobs, I cried, “she said yes!””

She said yes. Glennon Melton is the keynote speaker for the Boutiques and Brunch Benefit for Project Home Indy being held at the Madame Walker Theater on Sunday, May 6, 2013. This two stage event starts at 11:30 with a brunch, silent auction and boutique shopping provided by some of the area’s most unique and popular retailers, followed by Glennon’s presentation at 2:00. Seating is limited to 200 for the brunch and 900 for the keynote. Tickets are on sale now at: www.projecthomeindyandmomastery-efbevent.eventbrite.com/

Glennon is the founder of momastery.com and a not-for-profit called Monkee See-Monkee Do. Her upcoming book Carry On Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed will be released on April 2, 2013.

We need your help and it’s easy to do! Please share this information with your family, friends, Facebook peeps, Twitter tribe, etc.

Want to do more?  Click HERE for more information on becoming a corporate sponsor or volunteer or making a donation to the event. 

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