Saturday, February 4, 2017

Spare Change News: The Home for Little Wanderers

May 27, 2016 by: Katrina Carbone

Photo: Home for Little Wanderers/Voices and Visions
Each May, nearly 1,000 people gather at the Seaport World Trade Center for the Home for Little Wanderers’ annual Voices and Visions fundraiser and art show.
This year, the Little Wanderers, who produced the nearly 200 pieces of artwork that were on display, showed audiences what “My World Today” looks like.

The Home hosted its 12th annual Voices and Visions fundraiser on May 25. The organization is the nation’s oldest and New England’s largest non-profit child and family service agency, according to its website. It specializes in providing residential care, group homes, special education schools, intensive and comprehensive foster care and more than ten other programs.
With the involvement of the community, Home for Little Wanderers is able to impact the lives of approximately 7,000 children a year with only a small staff of 700. The Voices and Visions Gala originally started out as a small art show for the children, but it has evolved into hosting a signature fundraiser.
The event has a different theme each year, which is meant to respond directly to what these children are going through. In the past, some themes have been “Heroes,” “Who Am I?” and other subjects that make young minds ponder. The theme for 2016 is “My World Today.” The idea of pairing the event with a theme is meant to help these young people interpret their world in new and artistic ways. There is a combination of traditional and collaborative art forms. Children will also create pieces of writing.
This year’s event was the first for Art Coordinator Erin Roth, who said she appreciated the opportunity to help her Little Wanderers express themselves through art.

“For me personally, anyway to help children is always important to me,” Roth said. “It’s great to give them an opportunity to have a voice through their images.”
Along with displaying the children’s artwork, the Home also presented two awards this year. The Sam Marinella Award is given to someone for a special individual achievement or dedication to the Home’s mission. This year the award was given to 45 foster-care families for their very generous work and their willingness to open their hearts and homes.
The other award is given to a corporate partner for its support and collaboration with HFLW. This year, the Home honored the TJX Corporation for its extensive amount of volunteer time, monetary donations and their contribution to the annual coat drive, which has helped The Home for Little Wanderers immensely.
With the Voices and Visions gala, the The Home for Little Wanderers aims to strengthen families, keep them together and provide social, emotional and educational development to children of all ages through many different avenues.
It’s motto can be summed up as follows: “We never give up on children, and we never let them give up on themselves.”

MHSA Honors Jerry Ray at 13th Annual Fundraising Event

The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, or MHSA, held their 13th Annual Fundraising Event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boston on Thursday, May 12, 2016. MHSA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1988, dedicated to ending homelessness in Massachusetts.
The William Lloyd Garrison Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jerry Ray, the former Vice President of Homeless Services for the Mental Health Association. For the past 22 years, Ray has worked closely with MHSA and many other outreach programs.
When asked about his award, Ray said “It’s almost surreal because I am so used to being on the other side… it’s a big deal.”
After retiring last Friday, Ray believes that “There is a lot of work to be done. I will definitely start another chapter in this field, but in another location.”
On behalf of MHSA, Ray gave nothing but positive feedback.
“They bring all the providers together and create so much advocacy. That’s the goal of ending homelessness. We still have a long way to go… but with MHSA’s leadership, we will get closer to that goal.”
Christine Palmieri, the Vice President of Recovery and Housing, will be taking over many of Ray’s responsibilities. She feels “…fortunate enough to have worked in mental health for some years now; we will make this transition as seamless as possible.”
Joan Ingersoll, the President and CEO of The Mental Health Association, has worked closely with Ray, and said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Jerry during my four-year tenure. I have learned so much about solutions to homelessness. The relationships he has built are incredible; all of us at MHA are thrilled that he has received this award, and we couldn’t think of anyone that deserves it more.”
The close-knit team at MHSA works to educate people about chronic homelessness, advocate for those in need, implement more realistic solutions, and collaborate with all members of the government and community. MHSA believes that housing should come first and foremost, and that no person should be without shelter for any reason.  The organization also works to help those in need with job placement and recovery.
MHSA relies on the support and help of the community, and accepts donations through their website.