This is a very well run charity where young women get the full support they need to be independent. They take a whole-person approach where they view each woman as a person and not just a bunch of problems they need to fix, and they provide support in many areas of life. The staff is very committed and qualified.
Prior to being introduced to The Sierra House I wasn't aware of homeless girls housing. I've always heard of facilities for adults but what a wonderful idea. It is a great way to get girls (Little Women in training) ready for the world. Going to The Sierra House always gives a welcoming of peace, love, friendship and family when entering until exiting. Everyone from the founder: Keely Freeman-Smith, Board Members during events, The little women in training and their house mothers are all pleasant with allowing volunteers to dive right in and indulgence with whatever's going on; whether it's helping put up their Christmas tree, Fundraising, The Annual Cookout or just gardening. My children have such a great time while visiting that they never want to leave.
Donavalisha Mickens: volunteer
My name is Mellika George and I am an MSW Student at Rutgers University. I began my internship at Sierra House June 2018. My experience at Sierra House has been rewarding thus far! Sierra House is a phenomenal non-profit organization that is dedicated to the well-being of women, children, families, vulnerable populations, and the community. Sierra House staff are motivated, cognizant, intellectual individuals who are driven by helping the populations above. I've seen first hand how staff members at Sierra House stretch themselves far, wide, and thin to meet the needs of clients. As Sierra House continues to grow and advance in a fast-paced society, the organization never ceases to get involved and tackle challenges. Sierra House has a very strong foundation and its leaders are devoted to continuing providing excellent service to the community.
I love everything about the Sierra House. They have always gone above and beyond to help me get back on my feet. I am a former resident and have stayed there twice. The first time i wasn’t as serious about getting my life together i was more concerned about finally being out of the house. The second time around i took it more seriously. I ended up getting two jobs while there and finding a nice apartment to move into. Even after you move out the staff has great resources that they call and help you with just in case you need a little assistance. And as long as you didn’t cause any trouble while there they will always welcome you back if you fall into a slump and need to get yourself together. I recommend any young woman that is serious to call the Sierra House. Your life will change i guarantee it.
I started working for this nonprofit organization 6 months ago, the contributions and compassion not to mention patience, they give to these young women are astonishing. I've learned so much working here and I can't wait to see bigger and better things happen for Sierra House. Ms. Freeman and Ms. Boynes are phenomenal, you have to see it to believe it. The staff and the residents learn from each other. We're basically a really big family......lol. We'll go above and beyond for them.
I've been volunteering at the Sierra house for years. I love to help out a organization that has such a great cause. I've seen many woman branch off on their own with the help of the Sierra house, and i am honored to be apart of the organization and will always help whenever i can.
I am volunteering with Sierra House through Rutgers University. I have the opportunity to meet with other people that have different ethnic backgrounds. I am learning through those people that I meet.I am having an amazing experience so far. It really teaches me how lucky I am to be where I am. I am glad to know that there is a place like the Sierra house for those in need. Many of these young women that I met in the program, have the opportunities’ to be able to go back to school to get their high school diplomas. Some college degrees, to obtain jobs in the workforce, and also have the opportunity to reunite with their families. I am so glad to be able to participate in this organization.
I am currently interning at Sierra House. My experience has been overwhelmingly amazing. I chose to intern at Sierra House because I wanted to apart of an agency that made a difference in young women lives as well as the community. The staff is really helpful and knowledgeable. It's a rewarding feeling to be involved with an agency that aligns with my passion.
Given the extreme challenges that many of these women face, Sierra House sets ambitious goals for them, and in most cases it delivers. By providing full-time residential counseling and daily attention from a social worker for up to two years, Sierra House enables these young women to address all the obstacles they need to overcome, and to improve their functioning in all areas of their lives. Most alumni return to volunteer and to mentor new residents, attesting to how much they appreciate the help they have gotten. It's also important that the program is run by people from the community, who understand the challenges well, and have credibility and connections. Keely, the director, continuously looks for ways to enhance the program, and she has been very resourceful in finding ways to do so. We have supported Sierra House since 2009, because we have seen the results. Every year, Sierra House makes a major difference in the lives of many deserving young women.
Sierra House has an amazing staff that truly displays how much they care about their clients every day. Moreover, the organization is greatly focused on interacting with the local community and other local groups.
An exemplary organization!
As a supporter of the Sierra House I feel so proud to be a part of an organization that gives smiles and hope to so many people who otherwise could not. It is an organization that is supportive and engaged in the communities growth and progress.
Keep up the good work!!!
The Seirra House has a great team of people to work with and they are doing an excellent job with supporting young women.
The Sierra House provided me the opportunity to be an intern there & further my education goals. The organization was a great representation of what giving back means! The staff and women housed there was awesome to work with.
My name is Ebony Baker I been volunteering at The Sierra House for years. I think The Sierra House is a Excellent organizations because Most of the young ladies that livied in the Sierra House became successful.
I had the wonderful experience volunteering for a couple of events hosted by the Sierra House Staff. It was a very rewarding. The staff is very friendly and professional. The facility was keep in great standards. I will continue to give my time to help. Very fulfilling. They doing a extremely great job of supporting and providing thoose in need of resources.
I have had the opportunity to volunteer with the Sierra House several times in recent years. The Sierra House was founded on and still operates with very high standards. The people who work there truly care about the lives of the women and work together to provide the best care for them. The high standards set by Sierra House leadership, provides a strong foundation for personal professional growth.
Being a board member has been an awesome experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to see how much a place like the Sierra House is so needed for young homeless women and children. I saw how the Sierra House gave these young women hope. Hope by providing them with the opportunity to get some of the skills that gave them the ability to accomplish some of life's necessities. Hope for them to become productive citizens. Hope to be able to provide thier children with a better life.
Many of these young women have been able to go back to school to get thier high school diplomas, some college degrees, and others to obtain jobs in the workforce. Most of these women feel if it was not for the Sierra House they would not have been able to accomplish these things.
I came into Sierra House September 2017, and stayed there for almost a year. The program was really amazing, they help me manage with my children and provided life skills that thought me skills to maintain my day to day life. The staff was able to connect me with a program that assisted me with my rent. Although I'm no longer a resident in the program their staff still helps me when I have problems . They have great resources to help clients I would recommend this program to others in need.
The Sierra House opened its doors for me twice without reservations I am truly thankful living at the “Ladies Mansion” I’ve learned soooo much most importantly personal development and the importance of securing a stable foundation for myself and children special Shout out to Ms Halimah the most compassionate person I know she beautiful inside and out My mentor for life and Ms Marcia dedicated, selfless, exuberant and considerate and of course to Ms Freeman for keeping the doors open
The Sierra House is an incredible organization that has helped many young ladies transition from homelessness to being self-sufficient. The staff there is unselfish, passionate, and dedicated to curing homelessness. The Executive Director Keely Freeman is the leader and founder of this great program. Her Knowledge, Wisdom and Desire to be the change that every one wants to see has big difference in the the state of New Jersey. I just want to thank Keely for allowing me to help in making her dream to cure homelessness a reality.
I found my love for Sierra House during my internship. I watched as the staff at Sierra House continuously went beyond (what I considered normal at that time) to assist the clients in getting resources to be self-sufficient or to simply meet a goal. I watched in awe at how effortless it was for the staff to continue case management with clients who already graduated out of the program but needed further assistance in one thing or another. It was obvious, Sierra House is about ending homelessness.
I started working for the Sierra House in September of last year and I must say working here has taught me a lot and have change me as a person it feels good to be a part of a or Organization Such as the Sierra House they have opened up a lot of doors for young women and children. I'm very thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization such as the Sierra house.
Sierra House's commitment to helping women and children is unparallel. The staff goes above and beyond to serve their residents. They do anything from driving residents hours away to find housing and jobs, to helping them with family court to seeking donations for the needs of the residents. The residents are empowered to become better mothers, employees and students. They learn financial management, household management and parenting skills. The women who graduate the program are able to be self sufficient and take care of their own household. This program truly cares and helps the community and East Orange is better with their presence.
Sierra House is a great charity committed to its mission. It offers awesome volunteer opportunities and excellent services. The program is results driven and life changing for its residents, clients and customers.
I volunteered with Sierra House through Seton Hall University and I had an amazing experience. The women who run the house are incredible and their stories and willingness to help other women in need is absolutely inspiring. I would be honored to come back and help in any way that I can.
At the sierra house they take in girls who have no where else to go and no where to raise their child which they had at a younger age then usual. Immediate tears formed in my eyes when I heard the house mother telling us the purpose of this organization. During our visit I got the job of re-organizing the donation closet. The whole time I was doing this I felt choked up and like I wanted to give them more. There were outdated clothes, clothes that do not match, and shoes without the correct pair. It made me want to give everything I have to them. I will definitely be donating some clothes in the near future. Outside we were weeding their gardens and cleaning up the place which made it look beautiful and like a nice home to live in. The organization is a very good cause and I wish we could of stayed and helped more. They were even so generous to provide us with lunch and feed us pizza! It was a great experience and very shocking to try to relate my life to the ones of the girls who live in this house. I definitely think they could use more help and should be given more attention. And bless the house mother, she is doing great things for her community and certainly giving back. One last thing I wanted to mention was one of the workers there told us her story and said she had formerly lived at that house and came back to serve other girls because she wanted them to know it was possible to become something other than just a teen mom. Overall it was really inspiring and I enjoyed my time at the sierra house!
I loved volunteering at the Sierra House. The people there were super friendly and welcoming. It really taught me how lucky I am to be where I am and I'm glad to know that there is a place like the Sierra house for people to go to if needed. Everyone was very pleasant and friendly and went above and beyond my expectations. I loved it there and I look forward to going there again soon.
I went there to volunteer doing makeup for an event they had and ended up doing professional photos for them as well. The girls and workers could not have been more appreciative and warm and friendly. I was extremely impressed with the house and the systems in place for the girls. they truly help them better themselves in all ways. I have since been collecting donations and putting together a fundraiser because I can't think of a more deserving place. They are ALL very special people.
I mentor the girls there from time to time and I have to say, they are a bunch of bright young ladies with a great future ahead of them. I believe that they are able to shine bright because they have the privelege of not worrying about safety and security for them and their child.
At Sierra House, the young ladies have structure. There is an entire plan mapped out to help them become responsible, indendent young adults. There is also counseling to help them consider what profession they want to secure. I've stood and watched the ladies coming and going, sometimes with child in hand, sometimes carrying their babies. Each of them are focused on their goals and often uplifting one another.
The staff is very encouraging and I always see them advising and guiding the young ladies.
I'm so proud that I was introduced to the program as a mentor. I loved having a hand in giving the
young ladies one to grow on. If I had the funding, I'd surely donate and sponsor the Sierra House
on and ongoing basis because I've seen first hand what it does to help young women. This is a
necessary program of which we need more.
Andrea Clinton, Founder of People Helping People, Inc.; Director of Big Sister Program
I've volunteered at Sierra House through Jersey Cares. It's a great organization that supports the housing and development needs for young women and their children. Sierra House provides career and mentoring programs, so that the women can transition out of the house and be self-sufficient.
Sierra House provides a comfortable and structured environment for it's residents that allows them to get back on track with their lives. The women of Sierra House are given every opportunity to overcome some of the challenges they have faced in their lives. If you are looking for a cause that has all the essential qualities to accomplish its desired result this is it.
SIERRA HOUSE HAS OPENED ITS DOORS AND HEART FOUR YOUNG WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN NEED OF SUPPORT, TRANSITIONAL HOUSING AND LIFE SKILLS. I AM SO GLAD TO BE APART OF SUCH A GREAT ORGANIZATION.
I attended the Grand Opening of Sierra House and have been hooked ever since on its purpose and progress. The Executive Director and staff are phenomenal in providing a safe and homey environment for young women who have aged out of the foster care system and find themselves homeless and often with young children. Sierra House provides not only supportive housing, but also education and job opportunities, social and emotional support, guidance and mentoring, fundraising activities, and so much more to enable its residents to succeed and soar. Sierra House of East Orange, NJ is a must-support, must- admire nonprofit organization that is providing a high-quality service to homeless women and children. I look forward to the day when Sierra House transforms into a Sierra House Village!
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.
I love this organization because it is consistant with its involvement and improvment with the communitie. Many organization talk the talk, however from watching so closely the Sierra House talks and walks the walk and is very result driven.
Koodoes to the Sierra House and thanks for caring about the humans that need humans.
The Sierra house has done great things for these young ladies. I am so glad that I got a chance to visit them and see all the wonderful tings that they have done and still are doing. I wish more people cared as much as they do for these girls.
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 was 22 years of age when I entered into Sierra House. I was very depressed due to the fact that my daughter was taken by DYFS because of my finances and my living situation. I was devastated and had little hope of moving forward with my life. Moving to Sierra House has helped me to have a stable roof over my head and food on the table and I was also able to get my daughter back. Since being at Sierra House, I have received Medicaid, unemployment, found my own apartment, and built great relationships. The classes I attended at Sierra House were also rewarding and life changing. I would like to thank Sierra House for the opportunity and allowing me to be a part of a life changing experience.
I am a 26yr old mother with a 4yr old daughter. I fell on hard times with my first apartment and I didn’t have the support of my daughter’s father, so I ended up losing my place and becoming homeless with a child. One day I opened up to a social worker who works in my daughter’s school and she helped me find Sierra House. I was very broken coming in because I was feeling sad, angry, lost, and confused. This house has helped me to regain the things I have lost, not only materials but also my spirit. I have been here for 5 months and now I’m moving out into my own apartment. The Social Worker on staff helped me look for places and to fill out applications until I found the right one. I am very proud of myself but I could not have done it without the beautiful staff here at Sierra House. I love this house and all the ladies. My daughter was always safe and joyful and I was very blessed to find Sierra House.
The Sierra House was a big help to me in my life. I did not have much when I moved in October, 2012. The house staff gave me a lot of support when I was feeling down. I could come to the staff about any and everything and they never judged me. When I first moved in, I didn’t have my high school diploma. The Social Worker worked with me to get me ready to take my GED. They provided me with a tutor and I ended up passing. They also helped me with job searching, resume writing and interview skills. Although I don’t want to leave I understand that I have to take care of my responsibilities. However, I would love to come back for classes, activities, and volunteering.
The Sierra House helped me with TRA, empowerment, financial literacy, and life coaching classes. The one on one and group counseling was very helpful and effective, in these sessions I was able to express my feelings with the things I was going through. They also helped me with job resources and connecting back with my family in a healthy, positive, and more productive way. I was also able to see how other young ladies like me raise their children and it gave me a sense of knowing that if they can do it then so can I. Overall Sierra House has helped me tremendously, and I will forever be grateful to them.
I am very appreciative of the help that Sierra House has given me. The staff at the Sierra House was very pleasant and always helpful; they helped me find a job and helped me grow into a more mature understanding individual. I met wonderful people who I would like to keep in touch with and I am grateful that they accepted me so quickly. I do not know what I would have done without the help of Sierra House.
I was 18 years old when I entered sierra House. I was very depressed due to my finances, the living situation with my child’s father, my family, and life itself. I needed guidance and education on how to survive as a single mom. As I settled into Sierra House I got to see other single independent mothers taking care of their children, and I was able to believe that I can do the same thing. Since I’ve been at Sierra House I’ve received public assistance, housing, food, clothing, wonderful relationships and love and support from the residents and the staff. I know my life has truly been impacted by this great experience, and the lives of my son and I will never be the same.
Coming into a transitional home was the best route for me at the time. I was an angry person that was full of fear. The Social Worker helped me to realize that in my situation I needed the help of a family, and I must admit Sierra House has been just that. The love I received from the staff was just amazing. They helped me secure housing, update my resume and gave me job resources. Being at Sierra House I realized that I am a strong, independent, loving person who has a good head on her shoulders. I will forever be grateful for my Sierra House experience.
Four Months ago I came to Sierra House looking for a safe place to live. I was seven months pregnant and living with my parents. My mother is an alcoholic and my father suffers from depression and as a result I became depressed and insecure of myself and my abilities. I felt that my home was not a safe place for me to bring my baby and I needed to make a change. I searched for women’s shelters and Sierra House was the first shelter I called, thankfully there was an opening. When I moved into Sierra House I was in an environment where I didn’t have to be constantly stressed, disrespected, and neglected. My sessions with the Social Worker allowed me to open up and to release some of the pain and anger that I was holding on to and I was able to find a better relationship with my parents. My stay at Sierra House has taught me many things about life, people and myself which has made me into such a better person today.
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 recently visited the Sierra House during the NASW Chat and Chew and was highly impressed with the Level of dedication the staff have for these girls. The house is beautiful and very well kept by the girls. A place where all should invest time and funds to help it grow!! They are working towards a real cause.
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 am the Co-Chair for the NASW-NJ Essex Unit and had been in contact with Sierra House to organize an event in June. When I arrived, i was AMAZED and shocked at the level of professionalism from the staff, the organization in place, and the level of enthusiasm from both the staff and the girls at the house. The stories shared that day by the girls in the house were life changing and have made for a wonderful memory- the first of many. Sierra House embodies dignity and respect for young ladies and shows them how to transition into real life with grace and respect for themselves and others. True Gems!!
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!
I have been volunteering at Sierra House for three years now. Every time I go there it seems to just get better and better. The staff members are friendly and warm. The residents are really trying to change their lives. I have been to other shelters doing volunteer work, but none are like Sierra House. The building is beautiful and and classes they have really teach things that us young people need.
A wonderful organization that provides a safe haven for young women and their children. The energy and the dedication of the staff members is inspiring. And the smiles on the faces of the young women and their children is priceless. I look forward to participating in some small way to their continued success. Sierra House...a valuable asset to the community.
Sierra House is one of best organizations addressing the needs of our young women. This organization is an asset to East Orange and the community. We need to continue to support the founder in her effort to help young women be self sufficient. This organization is filling a void and need in our community.
As a founding Board member of the Sierra House I am extremely proud of the progress thus far. By design the Sierra House is warm and inviting. Each woman who resides there is treated with respect. I have met a lot of truly remarkable women whom have been able to use the Sierra House to transform their lives for themselves and their children. I love the brightly colored rooms that serves as a beacon of light and hope for a better future! My only hope is that they continue to expand and transform more lives! Good luck!
I represent a company that provides printing services for Sierra House. and have been working with them for a couple of years. In that time I have gotten to know their director and this amazing organization. Sierra House is doing extremely valuable and successful work with at-risk women and they should continue to provide these valuable services and expand their reach.Regards,Steve Stern, CCG Marketing Solutions
I had a great time volunteering at Sierra House when I went with the S.O.S group from Seton Hall University. Keely was an extremely impressive ro-model. She was organized and was prepared for the volunteers, she also gave an awesome quick speech on how she became involved with Sierra House. I was really impressed with the experience and the goal of the nonprofit organization. The only piece of advice I would suggest is to guide the volunteers more. Students coming from Seton Hall get community service hours -- do not be afraid to make them really work for it! Thank you for having us... keep up the awesome work, you are all an inspiration. Phyllis was really nice helping us also!
Review from Guidestar
I recently did a vokunteer service with Sierra House along with my school and the experience was amazing. We worked on their landscaping and then they gave us a tour of the house and told us how the house worked and why the house was even built which is a beautiful and tragic story. But nonetheless the staff was friendly and always there to help us.
Review from Guidestar
The Sierra house is an amazing organization and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with those lovely women
Review from Guidestar
I absolutely loved volunteering at the Sierra House. The people there were very appreciative and you could tell that they really cared what we were doing. I loved the story behind how the house/organization was established and I was really glad that I could volunteer there!
Review from Guidestar
I went to the Sierra House with an organization from my school and I loved it. I love how it helps these girls who have come from such horrible pasts and taught them that they can make their life better. I also think the atmosphere of the house is very nice for the girls. The house really feels like a house, not like a shelter and that gives the girls a sense of normalcy as well as showing them what their life could be like.
Review from Guidestar