Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HOMESTRETCH ~ Empowering Families to Rebuild Lives


Homelessness in NOVA

The needs of Homestretch clients can be enormous and varied. Families become homeless and end up at the doors of Homestretch due to many different reasons. It may be due to natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina, or sudden losses of loved ones who were primary breadwinners. Many women flee situations of domestic violence and end up homeless with their children. Some are political refugees from war torn countries and others are families who have been caught up in patterns of dysfunction and poverty who seek ways to stabilize their lives.

In a given year, Homestretch will work with as many as 120 families and 300 children. It is important to note that the average age of a homeless child in Homestretch is eight years old so it is imperative to break the cycle of poverty and help these children have promising futures.

The success of Homestretch’s approach is reflected in its positive track record:

Since 1990, Homestretch has assisted over 900 families and over 2,000 children. Of those families entering Homestretch, 83% complete the program and successfully transition into permanent affordable housing. Recent tracking demonstrates that after two years of having left our program, 93% of graduates remain stable, housed and employed. To date 20 Homestretch graduated families have become first-time homeowners. 10 more families are expected to become first time homebuyers within two years. 

Homestretch Services for Adults Include:
  • Case Management
  • Employment Counseling
  • Credit Counseling
  • Tax Preparation
  • Probono Legal Services
  • ESL Classes
  • Computer Literacy Training
  • GED Tutoring
  • Domestic Violence Education & Counseling
  • Therapy
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Life Skills Training
  • Transportation Assistance
I REALLY love the fact that this organization makes their clients self sufficient, and self sustained. Homestretch is not just throwing money at the issue of homelessness, they are educating their clients how to handle important life skill sets to succeed in the world today.  They even have a Benefit Breakfast every month (1 hour) that explains the impact Homestretch has made on the homeless community.

The next Benefit Breakfast is:
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 from 7:45 - 9 am
Fairview Park Marriott
3111 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042

Click HERE for RSVP information

VOLUNTEERING at Homestretch:

I heard of this organization through a work networking function from one of Homestretch's former board of directors members.  She told me what a wonderful organization it was, and how they can organize projects for teams to help prepare apartment units for Homestretch clients. Here is the link I went to in order to find out what projects were available, how I could donate my time, and who to contact. How to Donate your Time. I contacted Lauren with Homestretch and she set up the event for us, had all the supplies ready for us at the apartment unit, and made it very easy for our group to participate. 

Here are some pictures of our event :)

Team Brittenford!

Lauren with Homestretch giving us instructions

Our painting supplies

Lots of crayon marks on the walls

CDC!! hahahaha


Homestretch even provides a wide range of services for children too! Here are just a few:

  • Access to dental, vision and other specialized health services
  • Academic tutoring
  • Drug, alcohol and tobacco education
  • On site nursery and child care
  • Free summer camps and camps during Spring Break
...and more!

Families can stay with Homestretch for two years or more as they acquire the skills and resources they need to live productive and independent lives. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Serving the States ~ Join the CRU!

I know in my past blog posts I've been mentioning several volunteer opportunities locally and overseas, but I wanted to highlight a very special friend, Krysta Eagle, who has been making a difference in the students at Radford University's lives for the past few years.  I think back to my college days and wish I had someone like her in my life as a mentor, leader and counselor in Christ.

Who is Krysta?

Krysta Eagle is a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) at Radford University. Krysta attended Radford and was involved with the ministry throughout her college career. In December 2008, she graduated from RU with a Bachelor's Degree in Design, emphasis in Interiors, and felt called to go on staff with Crusade.

About Krysta's Ministry

As a full-time missionary on Radford University's campus, Krysta's week consists of leading a senior and freshman women's Bible study, mentoring women on campus, supervising student leadership for Campus Crusade's large group meetings, meeting with staff and with interns and 15 hours of her time each week is spent in outreach on campus. She also accompanies students to several conferences during the school year. 

Here is a newsletter she provides her sponsors monthly to give you an idea of what she does:

How Can You Support Her Ministry?

Krysta needs to raise funds in order to continue her mission with CRU.  These funds cover her salary, activities, etc. while she is on campus.  She is currently back home raising support, meeting with potential donors and friends who would like to know more about what she does while at Radford.  Currently, she has reached 61% of her goal, so she needs help! 

If you would like to support her ministry the Campus Crusade for Christ website is easy and allows you to setup donations anywhere from one-time gifts, monthly donations that automatically withdrawal from your bank account, etc.  You can also include a personalized note to Krysta :)  Click HERE to donate to Krysta's ministry online.

If you would like to find out more about Krysta’s ministry, you can contact her at:

More about Campus Crusades for Christ International

Helping to fulfill the Great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, building them in their faith and sending them to win and build others; and helping the Body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship
Vision Statement
Helping to build spiritual movements everywhere so everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus Christ


Faith, fruitfulness and growth
Mission Statement
Launching spiritual movements by winning, building, and sending Christ-centered multiplying disciples

Year Established

1951, by Bill and Vonette Bright on the UCLA campus

International Presence

Ministry presence in 191 countries

Student Movements

Today's college students are tomorrow's world leaders. Imagine the changes the world would see if every one of the 110 million college students had an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel every year.
We want to see students everywhere embrace the purpose, love and forgiveness that God offers them in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Locate a U.S. Campus Ministry at a College Campus Near You!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Great Website for Fundraising ~ FirstGiving



I wanted to post this to help others that organize fundraising events for nonprofit organizations.  In my experience, most nonprofits have online donation pages you can distribute to donors and allow you or your team to get credit for the donations.  However, smaller nonprofits may not.  If you are looking for a quick and EASY way to create online forms of fundraising, FirstGiving is an excellent website to help you reach your goal!

About First Giving:

FirstGiving is dedicated to one purpose: empowering passionate nonprofit supporters to raise more money than they ever thought possible for the causes they care about.

They partner with nonprofit organizations to allow them to plan, execute, and measure successful online fundraising campaigns and charity fundraising events with their fundraising software.  For individual fundraisers, they aim to make it easy, effective, and even fun to raise money online!

Their simple, yet powerful tools, along with the fundraising tips and fundraising ideas on FirstGiving, allow nonprofits and their supporters to meet and exceed their goals of raising money for important causes, building awareness, and expanding the world of giving.

It's EASY to get started and create your own page. From the top of their website, you can search for a nonprofit, project, friend or event. You can then Create a Page that links to that nonprofit, etc. which will create a URL for you to email out to your donors.  The money goes back to the nonprofit organization, however the site does charge a fee for online donations that can be offset by the donor by choice.

Here is a sample website I created for one of our events at my company.  This view allows you to edit or email your page, share your page on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, add videos, pictures, etc.

What donors will actually see when they are donating:

Here is what the link will look like if you would like to send it in an email separately:

The site also provides receipts to donors via email for tax purposes!  My experience with this site has been great, and the feedback I have received from donors is all positive as well.  I hope you find this site as useful as I have :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Short-Term Mission Trip 2011 *Guatemala*

Gateway Community Church

And we're off!  This summer we will head to Casa Aleluya Children's Home in San Bartolome Milpas Altas (outside of Guatemala City).  My church hosts this mission trip every year and is a great opportunity to sacrifice for others and experience a world outside of our comfort zones.  This year will be my 5th overseas mission trip with Gateway, and what an experience it has been!  This trip challenges your values and bring into focus things that seem to be blurred in life.  It's a time of hard work, fun and fellowship.

Every year we participate in different activities, it's always a surprise but we are up for the challenge!  Stay tuned for details and pictures from our trip. I will post them as soon as we return.  Pray for our team, there will be about 30 of us representing Gateway Community Church :)

Here are some of my favorite pictures from this trip ~

Our Guatemala 2011 Group :)

One of the Villages we visited at Lake Atitlan
Streets of Antigua 

Lake Atitlan
Mountain View near Casa
Lake Atitlan
Antigua - View from our Rooftop

Here are some links to photo's our group has sent out:

Jonathan Miller's Photos (Our Professional Photographer)

Maria's Slideshow

Jocelyn's Pictures 

Charlie's Pictures

"May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouagement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
~Thessalonians 2:16-17

Brittenford Philanthropy ~ Homeless Shelter Landscaping

My company, Brittenford Systems Inc., was recently involved in a landscaping project through Reston Interfaith at the Embry Rucker Homeless Shelter. I was looking for community projects for us to be involved in, so I contacted Susan Alger at Reston Interfaith which whom we work with to pack brown bag lunches for the homeless shelter once a month.  She came up with some great ideas for us, and and thought landscaping at the homeless shelter would be the best fit for our company.

To contact Susan call 571-323-1383 or check out their WEBSITE.

We were able to donate $250 as an organization to the shelter which bought them a dogwood tree, 8 perennials, mulch, a hose, gardening gloves and tools. We were able to plant all of these, weed, mulch and clean up the front entrance so you can see the sign from the street again.  All it takes are a few calls to reach out and start something like this with your company, organization, church, etc.  Susan was great to work with and really helpful in coordinating everything.

Below are pictures from our event :) and we were also mentioned in their Newsletter!! Click HERE to view!

Brittenford Systems Landscaping Crew 2011

Something was really interesting towards our left.....
Alicia & Linda cleanup crew :)

you want me to do what?!?

Kamlesh, Matt & Luis ~ Our expert tree planters

Kamlesh: "Luis hold on" hahaha

Whoa! Don't mess with Matt!

Planting the Memorial Tree 

After they were done planing....great job!

Stacy & Me planting flowers on the side of the shelter

Jeanne & Tracey de-weeding the front of the shelter!

Great job guys!

Master mulcher! 

Debi de-weeding and sprucing up the shelter's entrance sign

So pretty!

Linda & Alicia workin hard!

Shereen cleaning up our mess!

Ken doing the same! 

Not bad for a hard day's work!

I have no idea what this was for....but it was easy!

Debi telling me not to quit my day job haha

Kamlesh, Luis & Matt

Stacy planting flowers :)

Warren hard at work!

Sooooo much better thanks everyone!!