Sarah Shotland was in her first year of her MFA program at Chatham University, when her program director, Sheryl St. Germain, mentioned that she taught creative writing at a women's prison when she was in grad school. St. Germain mentioned that she would love to start something similar at Chatham, if any of the students would be interested. Soon thereafter, the two started a program at the Allegheny County Jail, in 2010. After three years, they expanded their work to include the women of Sojourner House. The creative writing courses are taught in 8-15 week semesters, with two teachers from Chatham coming into Sojourner House for weekly 90-minute classes. The teachers are a Chatham faculty member and a graduate student or two graduate students. Shotland explains why creative writing … [Read more...] about Words Without Walls Receives 2020 Pearl of Hope Award
In the time of year when so many think about giving and giving back, Sojourner House is blessed with a great deal of love and support during the holiday season. One of the annual holiday traditions the residents and families enjoy is a Christmas dinner prepared and served by Mitzvah Day volunteers. Mitzvah Day is a holiday tradition where Pittsburgh’s Jewish community volunteers on Christmas Day. “We have Mitzvah Day on Christmas because we recognize that this is not our holiday and we want to make other people’s holiday better,” explains David Chudnow, the Volunteer Center Manager of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “Sometimes that is in the form of a friendly face at a fun event like the dinner at Sojourner House or by helping out so that the staff at an organization can take … [Read more...] about Christmas Day Mitzvah is Holiday Tradition
Our staff are full of amazing talent and skill and we want to share their stories with you. And no better person to start with than our new Executive Director, De’netta Benjamin-Miller. Introduction Name De’netta Benjamin-Miller, Executive Director What interested you about this position? The leadership position interests me because it was aligned with my passions. I'm a licensed clinical social worker. I still practice as a therapist outside the Sojourner House. I've been doing this for 18 years. I have a passion and interest in dual diagnosis, but particularly helping individuals heal from trauma. The agency's vision and mission is very attractive. I like the fact that it's a small hard-working organization, which gives me the opportunity to really get to know all the … [Read more...] about Meet De’netta
Oct. 25, 2019 New Sojourner House board member Ron Szwarc has wasted no time introducing himself to the Sojourner House community. This fall, Ron has spoken with the staff and Sojourner House mothers, not about his board work, but about his years in recovery. In 1981, Ron’s drinking led him to his first stint in rehab while in the Air Force. “I did everything on my own. Ego led me to believe you can do this on your own,” he said. He was dry for 15 years, but the stress of an international deployment in Malaysia found him back in rehab. After 20 years trying to do it on his own, Ron gave up and made a commitment, “I’m going to do everything AA says.” With decades of experience, Ron now dedicates his time sharing his experiences with others in recovery. As one of two keynote … [Read more...] about New Board Member’s Work is A Family Affair
Sojourner House and Sojourner House MOMS recently announced the appointment of De’netta Benjamin-Miller as Executive Director. Ms. Benjamin-Miller steps into the role on Oct. 14, 2019. The boards of both Sojourner House and Sojourner House MOMS recognize Susan Orr, Interim Executive Director and current Director of Development, for her service during the transition. The hiring of Ms. Benjamin-Miller is a result of a recruitment and hiring effort led by Nonprofit Talent. Ms. Benjamin-Miller most recently served as Familylinks, Director of Behavioral Health. She is a licensed clinical social worker with a Masters of Social Work from University of Pittsburgh and Bachelor of Arts from Central State University. “De’netta’s clinical experience and … [Read more...] about Please Welcome Our New Leader, De’netta Benjamin-Miller!
By Lindsey Hayakawa Sept. 5, 2019 For the past 2 years, the residents of Sojourner House have been given the opportunity to attend a Bible Study every other Monday evening. Millicent Novic is the organizer behind the volunteer-run group that provides bi-weekly Bible Study, child care and dinner for the families. The idea initially came to Millicent as a way to share her studies of the Bible. Ann Brooks, another Sojourner House volunteer, introduced Millicent to Sojourner House. After discussing some ideas with Liz Wasel, Sojourner House Volunteer Coordinator/Child Care Specialist, Millicent asked a group of women from various churches to volunteer their time. This group of female volunteers all wanted to help and became known as the Murrysville Bible … [Read more...] about The Murrysville Bible Study Group