On behalf of the City of East Orange, Mayor's Office of Employment and Training, I am writing in support of Sierra House and their outstanding service to the community in regard to women’s services and homelessness. Sierra House has been in existence many years and has proven to provide a safe haven for those that have been in need of shelter and life skills. We have referred clients to your organization and have always been extremely satisfied with the results. Overall, Sierra House has been an impeccable staple in our community and we thank you.
My local National Association of Social Workers chapter sponsored a barbeque at the Sierra House in 2013 and were impressed with the plans the young women had and the transparency and warmth of the staff. They do great work and I hope my chapter does an activity with them again.
I recently attended the "Chat and Chew" BBQ at Sierra House as part of the professional social worker group that sponsored the event. This was the third time I had visited. Previously, I had helped with their Spring planting event. I enjoyed contributing to this effort and receiving Sierra House hospitality!
I believe that this nonprofit achieves its mission and deserves to gain more support from foundations and community efforts. They make it clear that although they always need more funding, that they also welcome volunteers who "want to make a difference" in the lives of the young women who live in Sierra House. These women can benefit from talking with professionals who can inspire and guide career aspirations and teach necessary skills. I hope to do this from my host agency. I am always inspired by the transparency and warmth of Sierra House staff.
I recently visited Sierra House for the NASW Essex County meeting of professional social workers. I must say that I was very impressed with the facility, but most importantly the staff. The you g women at the house appear to take have a genuine respect and appreciation for one another. Listening to each clients story really displays that the work these individuals engage with their clients are important and necessary in order to promote independence and a sense or reclamation amongst this population & age group. A truly blessed experience.
I also participated in the Chat-n-Chew and am so glad I did! It was wonderful to meet the young women currently residing at Sierra House and to hear the stories of those who recently graduated. I also appreciated the chance to get up and tell my own story. I was extremely impressed by all the staff and their heartfelt devotion to the founder, the residents, and the overall mission of the organization. The facility is a beautifully renovated home located on a placid tree lined little oasis within an otherwise busy area. It very much feels like a "home," not a residence. Beyond just providing a roof over their clients' heads, the programming in life skills is impressive, especially their computer lab! I believe this is a place where the clients really can change their lives for the long run -- for the better!
I participated in a "Chat and Chew" through the NASW - NJ Essex County Chapter. I had the privilege of talking with some of the young women who are receiving services from Sierra House and some who have been past recipients. It is clear that these articulate women have benefited from the support and education provided at Sierra House. These women spoke of their determination to become self supporting. Some are young mothers and reflected on their dreams for their children.
I was touched by a grateful aunt of one of the clients who spoke of the drastic change and emotional growth in her niece resulting in her niece's ability to to express herself in an appropriate fashion. and to become more self-examining.
Impressive also are the staff who are dedicated to the residents and committed to the cause.
I hadn't heard about Sierra House until the Essex County Chapter of the NASW selected to sponsor a Chow and Chat event. I did not know what to expect and was AMAZED.
You need to know that not only am I from NEW YORK, I am retired, a senior citizen who THINKS she has seen it all. I have visited women's shelters both as an advocate for my clients in New York City and in New Jersey and I have visited women's shelters as an applicant. Each time I was impressed by the sparse less than modern furniture, factors that the shelter staff cannot always control.
Sierra House is a HOME, the furnishings how the rooms are assigned rooms for two if childless and a single room with their child is the most impressive.
Hearing the women share their personal stories at the chow and chat was remarkable. The women were warm, genuine, sincere and I believe committed to making a change in their lives. Seeing the success of former residents who are now living on their own and either working or studying or doing both was definitive proof of the good works that Sierra House does.
As an experienced, retired Gold Member (over 25 year a member) of the National Association of Social Workers ORIGINALLY FROM NEW YORK CITY, I am most favorably impressed.
My experience at Sierra House has made me want to volunteer or contribute in any way I can to this so efficiently run women’s shelter.
Emilia Colon, MSW, ACSW
My initial impression when first hearing about Sierra House and their services to young, homeless or near homeless young ladies was "finally". Having worked in child protective services for the past eight years, I've seen more than my share of young ladies aging out of foster care only to be left between a rock and a hard place once state services end.
Recently the NASW-NJ (Essex Unit) of which I am chair entered into partnership with Sierra House in support their worthwhile mission. The adoption of Sierra House as an on going service project is confirmation of our organizations commitment to supporting those that help others. The entire Sierra House staff should be commended for their hard work and dedication to making a difference in the lives of the young ladies served . Kudos!