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!
At the beginning of each academic year, Point Park University’s prestigious Honors Student Organization chooses a local nonprofit organization as its Donation Drive recipient. Much to our delight, this year's recipient was Sojourner House. Approximately 120 students brought their donations to the organization's Aug. 19 Welcome Dinner. The huge amount of donations included cleaning supplies, toiletries, hygiene products, paper towels, and other household supplies. "We started the tradition of a carry-in donation drive some years back with our new honors students, to not only continue the tradition of service that many of them started in high school, but also to get them to move up to service learning," said Helen Fallon, Professor of Journalism, Director of the University Honors … [Read more...] about Point Park University’s Honors Student Organization supporting Sojourner House
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
The 26th Annual Strawberry Festival at Shadyside Presbyterian Church took place in early June and was a sweet and tasty way to spend a beautiful early summer evening. The proceeds from this event provide valuable support of day-to-day essentials for the women in the treatment program. Sojourner House has been adopted as the beneficiary of this annual summer celebration for many years. Volunteer and creator of the festival, Ann Brooks first experienced strawberry socials in England, as a teaching and exchange student. She knew that other local churches had festivals and thought it would be a perfect way for the Shadyside Presbyterian Church community to have some fellowship, enjoy their beautiful lawn and give back to the community. The first year, Ann made some … [Read more...] about Ann Brooks Created a Legacy of Volunteerism
Liz Wasel is Sojourner House’s Childcare Development Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator. When she came to the organization nearly 11 years ago, her first project was to bring structured programming like story and circle time to the children’s services. She soon added “Volunteer Coordinator” to her job duties. In these positions, she witnesses changes in people every day. She marvels at the changes that she sees in families during their time in the program. “Over 6 months, there is a huge change in the child’s growth, personality, cognitive abilities and even their size! But even more impressive is the change in their mothers. You see a mother leave after 6 months with self-esteem and pride.” She not only sees changes in the families she works with, but also the … [Read more...] about Liz Wasel has a front row seat to changes in families and volunteers