August 18, 2013
I learnt about Homefront more or less 10 years ago when my son played hockey with HomeFront founder Connie Mercer's son. We would sit in the bleachers during hockey games, talking about the wonderful work that goes on at HomeFront. It quickly became my place of choice to volunteer as the vision of its leader was so clear and real, I could not imagine her not making it the success that it is today - a neighborhood company with a presence much larger than life and a solid reputation with local schools, churches, synagogues, individuals and companies, all knowing that when they donate to HomeFront,, that their donations will hit right at home where the need is most urgent. HomeFront has such a clear and honest mission of ending homelessness, that it is no surprise that the organization has one of the most extensive and all-encompassing processes in place to help the less fortunate back on their feet. And this is all done in an environment of incredible respect for every client of HomeFront's needs, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may be. After volunteering in various areas of this organization, including fundraising, resume-writing, Free Store organization and tutoring areas, I discovered the ArtSpace art therapy group at the Family Preservation Center, a beautiful facility on the Katzenbach School's campus. This was like finding a small part of heaven on earth, as HomeFront clients can come here and express themselves through art and poetry in ways that cannot even begin to explain the potential for healing that can happen here. The art that comes from the lives and experiences of the artists have brought many moments of awe to me and people that pass through those doors at the shelter. The art is extremely honest, real and fresh, and have become a real window into the hearts of the clients of HomeFront. Once a year we have a full fundraiser for ArtSpace called ArtJam, where the art is exhibited and sold in a gallery setting in Princeton. As opportunities arise, the art is also exhibited at other locations such as coffee shops, libraries, and artist network venues, always with great appreciation for the stories that are told by the art, and knowing that a life will be changed by this public display of respect and the ultimate gift of buying a piece of art from an ArtSpace client ! HomeFront truly takes the desperation out of homelessness by giving its clients a solid chance at restoring their own lives in a dignified environment with total support by offering an array of services that covers the full spectrum of what a person needs to be a productive part of a community. HomeFront restores lives and families, and gives people in desperate stages of their lives the fighting chance they need to get back on their feet. This community is so blessed to have an organization like HomeFront inside its borders, and it all started with a woman that did not turn a blind eye to the problems of her community. Thanks Connie, for your heart, your clear vision, and passion to make HomeFront the Lifesaver that it is today !
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