El Nido Update
By: Steven Topham
On Friday, I attended my first meeting as ambassador of Foothills to the semi-monthly meetings of the El Nido housing project. El Nido is a program of the Interfaith Shelter Network, that provides transitional housing for a 12-18 month period to women and their children who are fleeing a domestic violence situation. These families have left out of necessity and found themselves homeless, living in abuse shelters or out of their cars. The El Nido program helps them back onto their feet by providing them with an apartment, the resources to find and succeed with employment and tons of other skills and programs to help them be self-sufficient.
The offices of El Nido were modest and the program is run by only a few, very capable, employees. I snacked on a donut and OJ that was provided as the other ambassadors of the other churches filed in. They all represent their congregations just as I did in finding the furnishings and objects to fill an apartment. At the end of August, with the help of our youth group, we filled our 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment with a lot of nice things, great games, cool books and all the amenities needed to live comfortably. But the support role doesn’t stop there. The family will need time to acclimate to their new situation, but I will be provided updates through these meetings and we will make decisions as a council of ambassadors about how to continue helping the tenants of this fantastic apartment complex. For example, Foothills just donated $100 for the program to take all the families on a camping trip to an awesome place with archery, a zipline and lots of arts and crafts opportunities. A big holiday party with 4 turkeys is all planned out for Thanksgiving and come Christmas, our youth group will once again get involved to deliver a Christmas tree and decorations to all the residents of the complex. Each congregation will supply 3 to every resident of their respective apartments for the holiday as well.
Like any good non-profit, they struggle to find the funds to keep doing the many things needed to properly serve those in need. They provide childcare for the families at great cost and facilitate on-site counseling, which is provided mostly by a local university. They are a member of HUD, which supplies them with almost half their funding, but also gives them a lot of rules and stipulations about how they function. The camps and events they have recently put on sound like a total blast. Like their “Fly Around the World” camp that took the kids on an adventure to a different country every day by experiencing their food, dance, movies and culture. If you’re interested in supporting their initiative further, they are having a dinner titled ‘Celestial Night’ to help raise funds on October 3rd. See their website for more information.
Thank you all again for your continuing support of this vital mission. You have truly helped better the lives of some worthy people and a great non-profit through your contributions.