Programs Archives | Sojourner House


“Words without Walls” collaboration with Chatham University

Since 2012, MFA program candidates from Chatham University have consistently visited Sojourner House residents every Thursday during Fall and Spring semesters.  The purpose: to help our women use the written word to help them cope with their respective journeys to recovery. This past semester of the Words Without Walls writing program proved to be another semester for our residents to bring self-awareness, vulnerability and talent, not to mention compassion for each other in an open-hearted environment. Resident Kari Childs graciously shared the work to be published not only in the booklet published at the end of each semester, but also on Sojourner House’s blog:

“A Stand”

Look at her she chose
to just leave. She preferred
to be with a man
that beats her. Shame
& Guilt consume her
not even heroin from
that deadly disease-infested
needle could kill her.
She takes a stand, fights
back & comes back with
all her prayers living free
of that devilish life. Stand
up you’re worth the fight.

Resident, Kari Childs


Words Without Walls Poetry Reading Video

Please check out our new video!   This video had its debut at the 14th Annual Victorian Tea.

Sojourner House opened its doors to Chatham University’s Words Without Walls program in 2012.  During Words Without Walls, MFA students visit Sojourner House each week to teach creative writing.  At the end of each semester, our residents present their work to the public during readings at local art galleries.  Please watch the video to hear excerpts from the most recent Words Without Walls poetry reading.


“Inside Out: Mothers Who Have Survived Overdose” Panel Discussion

Sojourner House is teaming up with POWER and Women’s Press Club to present “Inside Out: Mothers Who Have Survived Overdose,” Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., at East End Cooperative Ministry, 6140 Station St., East Liberty.

The evening will include a candid panel discussion about the opiate epidemic that is overtaking our nation and its effects locally, especially on women and their children.  Please check out the Facebook event page for more information.



Carnegie Mellon University’s 1000plus Day of Service

Several students from Carnegie Mellon University volunteered at Sojourner House during CMU’s annual 1000Plus Day of Service, on Saturday, October 7, 2017. During the event, the volunteers performed yard work and cleaned the property surrounding Sojourner House’s East Liberty residence. Lending a helping hand were Interim CMU president, Farnam Jahanian, and Jim Rohr, Chairman of the Board.

1000plus is a collective of 1,000 Carnegie Mellon University students, faculty, staff, and alumni who join forces each year to provide a variety of community service projects at organizations throughout the Pittsburgh area … all with the goal of creating a positive impact. Sojourner House, along with multiple other organizations, was one of the recipients of these services this year.

CMU Interim President Farnam Jahanian, Provost Laurie Weingart, the Dean’s of each college, and Jim Rohr, the Chairman of CMU’s Board of Trustees, participate in 1000 Plus Days of Service, including appearances at Light of Life, Sojourner House and Arsenal Family & Children’s Center, on October 7, 2017.



Petting Zoo at MOMS Summer Camp 2017

The children at MOMS Summer Camp had a blast feeding and petting the baby farm animals on Thursday, July 13th!  Barn Yard Petting Zoo brought a baby camel, zebra, llama, donkey, cows, goats, lambs, ducklings, chicks and a little piglet!  There were even pony rides.  Despite the heat, everyone had a great time being with the animals.  Please check out our Facebook page for more pictures.









Shadyside Presbyterian Strawberry Festival: “Berry” Good Time for a Good Cause!

The 24th Annual Shadyside Presbyterian Church Strawberry Festival will take place THIS Friday, June 9, 5:30-8 p.m., at the church, 5121 Westminster Place!

The Shadyside congregation will host a traditional evening of fun, games and delicious food to celebrate the arrival of summer and once again support one of its mission partners … Sojourner House!

With something for everyone, the festival offers a perfect evening of fun. Menu items include fresh strawberries, ice cream, strawberry shortcake, grilled hot dogs, chips, pasta salad, tossed salad, and beverages. Baked goods also will be available for purchase. Activities will include games on the church lawn with prizes for everyone, children’s crafts, balloons, and face painting. (In the event of rain, the festivities will move indoors.)

There is no charge for admission. Crafts and the cakewalk are free.  Tickets for refreshments and other activities will be available for purchase. Baked goods may be purchased with cash.

All proceeds will benefit the Sojourner House MOMS program. Many thanks to Shadyside Presbyterian Church!



Sojourner House Celebrates Volunteers at Annual Recognition Dinner

Volunteers are part of the backbone of Sojourner House and Sojourner House MOMS. As a matter of fact, hundreds of volunteers support Sojourner House and MOMS throughout the year, every year. That’s why Sojourner House makes a point of celebrating and recognizing its volunteers each spring.

Liz Wasel, Childcare Development and Volunteer Coordinator, coordinated this year’s dinner, which took place the evening of Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at Sojourner House.

“We at Sojourner House could not do what we do without our volunteers,” said Wasel. “There is never a job that’s too little, and our volunteers do the job because they care about us.”

“The annual volunteer event is what we like to do to show how much Sojourner House appreciates the volunteers,” Wasel continued.  “I personally have had the privilege and, yes, it is a privilege to work with many of the volunteers. They are the best!”







Video of A Day in the Life at Sojourner House

Please check out our new video! A day in the life of the residents of Sojourner House and Sojourner House MOMS. This video had its debut at the 13th Annual Victorian Tea.  To view more photos from the 2017 Victorian Tea, please visit our Facebook page and our twitter page @SojournerHousePA.

Please feel free to share.


HCEF Children’s Science Workshop at Sojourner House MOMS

HCEF awarded Sophie Roe a grant to recently conduct a science workshop for children.  Roe calls Pittsburgh, PA her home and is currently attending Pomona College in Claremont, CA.  The grant for this science learning project was given by The Draper Center for Community Partnerships, Pomona’s community engagement center, where Roe works as a student coordinator.

When asked, Roe chose to do the workshop at Sojourner House MOMS, “because I was familiar with [MOMS] as I worked there as a volunteer in high school  …   I always had so much fun working with the children of [MOMS] as a high school volunteer, and I thought it would be fun to come back and teach some science.”

The three-week workshop focused on introducing plant and human cells.  The children at MOMS learned about photosynthesis, mitosis, human and plant cell structures.  According to Roe, “each of the lessons incorporated a “learning” and a “doing” component as the grant aimed to promote hands-on learning.”  During the lessons, the kids recreated cells using pasta and fruit roll-ups to represent different parts of the cell.  They planted bean seeds to have a greater understanding of how photosynthesis works in plants.  They also recreated blood using red dye in water bottles and Cheerios.  Roe elaborated on the blood project: “In the blood activity, the Sojourner House Scientists dyed the Cheerios red to represent red blood cells or erythrocytes … The erythrocyte Cheerios were then emptied into water, which represents plasma, the liquid component of blood. The scientists then observed the red Cheerios dye the plasma red to make blood in a bottle!”





Art Expressions Class for the Children at Sojourner House MOMS

Art Expressions lead an ornament making class with 5 children from Sojourner House MOMS at Sankofa.  The children ranged from age 5 to age 12.  First, the children were given a small, canvas board to paint on.  Then, they were given sequins and beads to glue onto their painted ornament.   The children had so much fun mixing the colors and bouncing ideas off of each other.  Everyone who participated created a unique and beautiful ornament.


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