Really? I should be wearing that size?
It’s a common reaction from many women when they realize their measurements don’t align with the size of the bra they’re wearing.
And it was one heard quite a few times coming from behind the screen on Friday, February 21, as a group of 30 or so female Bell employees and service users gathered in the agency’s community room for a mini event titled, “Close to Your Heart.”
The function was hosted to provide a comfortable environment in which women who receive Bell services could be measured so they would know where to start when shopping for a properly-fitting bra. It was also to introduce them, if they didn’t already know, to Bell’s Support the Girls program, which gives them access to purchase a brand new bra.
An initiative developed by Bell’s office of community engagement as part of Bell’s Women’s Empowerment Event several years ago, the Support the Girls fund accepts donations from community members – primarily women – who understand the need for proper foundation garments. Boosting self-esteem as well as the bosom, more than 40 women, coming from each of Bell’s main service areas, have already benefited from the program. The initiative was also selected as a finalist for the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal‘s 2013 Nonprofit Innovation Award.
One woman, interviewing for jobs so she could secure a safe place to live for herself and her children, was disappointed to learn through her caseworker that she was not a top choice because she didn’t present well – a direct result of not having an adequate brassiere. Thanks to the Support the Girls fund, she was able to shop with her caseworker and purchase two (buy one, get one deal!) bras. She subsequently secured the job, was able to pay rent again, reunited her family, and is confidently moving forward.
Serving also as a wellness event, attendees to “Close to Your Heart” were able to receive free blood pressure screenings, could pick up information from the American Heart Association (thank you, Wade) about heart health, and talk with representatives from P.I.N.K., a local group of breast cancer survivors, to learn about breast health. (Thank you, Lisa, Leslie, and Donna)
Special thanks go to nurse, Linda Schwab, for providing blood pressure screenings and bringing and talking with participants about good heart-healthy foods. A shout out, also, to Hayley Croom, owner of Paintbox Soapworks, for supplying nearly two dozen bars of specialty soaps which were offered as door prizes.
To donate to Bell’s Support the Girl’s fund, visit our Donate Now page.
The dedication of a group of students from Brandeis University (visiting York this week with Habitat for Humanity) epitomized “the old college try” when their original service project for the day fell through.
Searching the internet for alternatives,they landed on Bell’s Web site. Of all the places they looked at, student Kateri Spear said they really connected with the values the nonprofit demonstrated so they gave a call to Bell Family Shelter wondering if there was something they could do to help.
And help they did!
After several hours of heavy-duty cleaning on Thursday, they were still full of energy and bearing enthusiastic smiles when these photos were snapped as they gathered to debrief. Chatting with Bell staff, they received information about Bell’s additional services for individuals with mental illness and intellectual disability, as well as some general historic information about York and its current cultural resurgence. With two days remaining in their visit, they were encouraged to check out local flavor by attending the New Eastern and Central Markets.
Thanks, Kateri, Deepti, Alex, Max, Ian, Eric, Sophie, Joey, Sophia, and Nick!!
Wolf Furniture General Manager Chad Lamendola posed with some new friends on the steps of Bell Family Shelter on January 31. Lamendola (far right) presented a$500 donation to the shelter services program of local nonprofit, Bell Socialization Services, which was accepted by Shelter program coordinator, Linda Haley (far left). Members of some of the current resident families joined the photo. The annual support of the organization’s work in the community – specifically the county’s only 30-day shelter for homeless families – was made possible through proceeds from Wolf’s annual vendor golf outing.
We appreciate the generosity of this gesture, honouring a loved one with a gift to empower families who are strangers to you.
A very big THANK YOU to the Millersville University National Pan Hellenic Council for their recent student-run drive to collect monetary donations to benefit families receiving shelter services through Bell Socialization Services.
The $500 check, delivered by Ron Wiafe, case manager, office of Judicial Affairs, was received by De’Elzer O’Conner, Bell Bridge Housing program coordinator. The money was designated to be used to purchase food for participating families in the Bridge Housing program and those in residence at Bell Family Shelter. Both are pictured above, along with families in the program.
Bell’s shelter services help homeless York County families navigate their way to safe, affordable housing. Bell Family Shelter is the county’s only 30-day emergency shelter for families. The Bridge Housing Program provides longer-term options for families transitioning from homelessness to independent living.
What a happy occasion to welcome a new baby into the family. So small and innocent; so tender our affection for them.
The occasion of a new baby at Bell Family Shelter also brings a sense of joy to the house, although somewhat bittersweet. Their parents hold them gingerly, staff and others in the house gush with emotion, everyone aware of the newborn’s vulnerability. There is hope, even if grey clouds hover overhead, that this child will flourish.
But first, the family must meet its urgent, basic need to find a home. With intensive support, Shelter staff work with parents to pull the pieces together – income, resources for food, safe, affordable living space – for within thirty days they must set out to make their own way.
Thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of York, these families – particularly the ones with infant children – are able to manage with a little more ease. The fold-away cribs, strollers, and car seats purchased with the 2013 grant funding from Rotary offer invaluable help to families in time of much need. On their behalf, we extend sincere gratitude to our dedicated community partner.
Remember our previous post here about the Possibilities program? Well, things are moving right along. Apartment walls are up and painted, the flooring has been laid, the kitchen cabinets have been installed, and as December pulls into view, it’s time for the finishing touches.
Enter, this gal:
This is Debra Eberly of d.w. designs and co.
The spitfire designer is taking on the task of decorating the four apartments at 259-261 E. Philadelphia Street. Amid a heavy schedule of paying gigs which includes decorating the Pennsylvania governor’s mansion this week for the holidays, Debra is sharing her design talents pro bono to Bell for this project and getting friends to volunteer their time, too.
With a keen awareness for safety, practicality, and making these transitional living spaces feel like welcoming homes for the families who will soon be living there, Debra is working within a tight budget, which only seems to lend more excitement to the project for her.
With a first stop at Bell partner, Re-Source York, Debra tagged bedroom sets, dressers, carts and lamps in the Carlisle Avenue store (all at a 50% discount off the already low prices!). Heading next to reFindings, York’s architectural warehouse, she chatted with manager Lou Girolami who offered free items to her growing inventory AND a space to gather all the goods and get started on any refinishing and creative repurposing.
On Monday (Nov 25), Debra made a trip to the site where she met up with De’Elzer O’Conner, Bell Bridge Housing program coordinator and Marcella Kinard, director of shelter services, as well as representatives from York County Children, Youth, and Family Services. Working their way through each unit, ideas mixed with saw dust as they maneuvered around bustling workers finishing up their day, creating a palpable sense of excitement for what will come. Things will, no doubt, be changing quickly. We’ll keep you posted and show photos of Debra’s progress as it occurs.
A hearty THANK YOU to the Viking Athletic Association of York for their financial contributions this year, resulting in nearly six full Adopt-a-Days at Bell Family Shelter.
The funds, realized as gambling profits of the VAA, were designated to support Bell shelter services, providing emergency housing, nutritious meals, and one-on-one counseling help for homeless York County families.