- November 2013
- Posted By Janet Muto
- 0 Comments
It is particularly gratifying for us at High Start Group when we are given the opportunity to put our expertise toward a great cause that changes lives.
On Wednesday, November 6th, I was honored to participate in the 15th Annual Horizons for Homeless Children Women’s Breakfast. High Start Group first got involved with this worthy non-profit six months ago when we teamed up with Arnold Worldwide to support the Horizons for Homeless Children brand repositioning project. Our team did in-depth interviews with HHC donors and “PALs” (onsite volunteers) that informed the branding effort by Arnold Worldwide, resulting in a new awareness campaign and logo. We were inspired by Asa Fanelli (former CEO) whose passion and energy for Horizons for Homeless Children was infectious – and a special thanks to board member and corporate sponsor, Kathy Klingler, CMO Santander Bank, for introducing us!
One of the unexpected benefits of this project was the opportunity for the HSG team to work with a such a committed and enthusiastic team including Amie Owens, who led the Arnold Worldwide team and has been involved with Horizons for several years; Horizons CEO Dianne Luby and Meryl Sheriden, chief development officer, Matt Epstein, chairman, and Glenn Engler, on Horizon’s board of directors. All are committed to changing the lives and breaking the cycle of homeless which is often carried from one generation to the next.
The research High Start Group conducted showed that family attitudes and charitable giving experiences during childhood influence decisions to donate time and money later on in life. Many of the young adult volunteer PALs we interviewed said they felt the need to give back, either through volunteering or financial contributions, based on the lessons their parents taught them early on. Further research demonstrated the stigma attached to homelessness as an issue, but also the fact that children of homeless parents are victims, whose lives and trajectory can be changed with education and love.
The Women’s Breakfast was a “multiple tissue event” where we heard from PALs and how working with children at the homeless shelters has given meaning to their lives, and the incredible story of Violeta – a former homeless mom who was given the chance to attend college thanks to HHC taking care of her baby boy (and coaching for her as well), and we heard about the loving, nurturing environment that the PlaySpace programs offers for children. Plus, we had a chance to hear the moving (and of course, funny) stories of Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and her adopted daughter.
Each member of our team gained new respect for those who support the homeless and for the wonderful, warm, learning environment that Horizons for Homeless Children has provided for homeless children. We hope to visit the Roxbury center (and headquarters) often — it is literally an inspiration to watch the children arrive in the morning, confident, happy and on a path to success.
To learn more about this worthy organization and how it has changed the lives of so many children, visit their website at horizonsforhomelesschildren.org.