Earlier this month, our Executive Director, Kari Galloway, and former resident, Heidi Christiansen, sat down with Read.Think.Act’s Catherine Read to discuss the difficulties formerly incarcerated women face, the Giving Circle of HOPE, and the collective impact it has had on Friends of Guest House.
The Giving Circle of HOPE is a Northern Virginia based group that creates change through engaged and collective philanthropy. The Giving Circle of HOPE was founded in 2004 and in the past 14 years has granted over $1 million dollars to local organizations. Members of the giving circle are asked to each donate $415 and vote on how the money should be spent. To learn more about the Giving Circle of HOPE, watch their Governance Chair, Cyndi Shanahan on “You Need to Know.”
Friends of Guest House has been fortunate enough to be the recipient of multiple grants from the Giving Circle of HOPE. The Giving Circle of HOPE has made our Workforce and Life Development Program a reality and has continued to foster its success. Our Workforce and Life Development Program immerses our residents in experiences and skills they need to successfully reenter the community. Residents attend classes Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 to mimic the routine and schedule required with full-time employment. The Giving Circle of HOPE has not only made a huge impact on our organization, but on the lives of all the women at Guest House.
A little more about Heidi:
Heidi Christiansen is a former resident of Guest House and is currently completing our Aftercare Program. Not only does Heidi speak passionately about what the program means to her, but she is also an integral part of our organization. She is a Justice Involved Advocate and volunteers on Guest House’s Development Committee. She helps with fundraising, community outreach, and event planning. She is just one of our many residents who continue to make a difference within the community.
Want to volunteer and/or support Friends of Guest House? Reach out to Heidi for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You can also catch Heidi at our Helping Women Find Their Voice event, September 11 at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. Heidi, along with many of our other residents, will come together to share their personal and inspiring stories. Formerly incarcerated women face a variety of challenges (trauma, addiction, discrimination, joblessness, homelessness, etc), but you will see how their strength and determination help them to become thriving members of our community. Get your tickets here!
Want to read more about Friends of Guest House? Check out these great articles on Read.Think.Act!