It’s hard to believe all the services Shade Tree offers to the ladies. When I think of shelter, I imagine cots lined up on the floor and people sitting around just to get off of the sidewalk. I volunteered for about a month for school and I have learned that this place is so much more. Shade Tree is not just a shelter. It is a place to get what you need to start again. They have a variety of services available. When you are hungry, you are fed. And not just soup and sandwiches. You can have cereal and milk for breakfast or oatmeal and coffee. I was there during lunch time and saw once they served pizza and another time they had turkey. If you want to take classes to learn about finances they have a bank come in to teach it, if you want to exercise they have yoga (Yoga at a homeless shelter is amazing!), you want to learn computers, they have a class for that. If you want to get a job, they have a program to help you do that, too. It seems as if anything you might need to help you get back on your feet, Shade Tree has is for you. In regards to one of the other comments, while I volunteered there I did see one altercation between some of the ladies there and I think the staff handled it well (I couldn’t do there job) but I would think that when you get that many people living in the same place together stuff like that is bound to happen once in a while.
I am honored to be a part of the Shade Tree because it ofers more than a safe, warm place to sleep. Since opening its doors more than two decades ago, women and children have been given the tools to experience a genuine sense of pride in achielving independance. The program is constantly evolving to address the changing needs and issues of homelessness in our community. From job development to healthcare, to a co-located animal shelter for the furry family members...the Shade Tree reinvents itself over and over again as the needs of the clients change. I am so grateful to be able to watch the women and children flourish because The Shade Tree is mroe than a shelter!
Being a part of this amazing organization for over ten years has been has been as much for me as it is for the women and children we serve. I am reminded daily of the strength and courage that these women have under the worst circumstances. I am also reminded that it is not about destiny, but rather the choices one makes. The Shade Tree not only provides safe shelter and balanced meals for those who are experiencing homelessness and financial crisis, but it is made up of many programs which are offered to provide the tools and resources to break the cycle of homelessness. I can't think of a better inspiration than the women and children who fill our corridors with hope, laughter and tears. Credit goes to the patient and dedicated staff who insure that the shelter is a safe and inspiring space during time of desperation.