The West Cook YMCA located in Oak Park has been proud to collaborate again with PADS in 2012. Our significant first year of association with the "Career Passport" program has resulted in a number of PADS clients finding transitional housing with us as they work their way back into the mainstream of life and employment. Our staff has also enjoyed doing its part by providing sack lunches for PADS the first Monday of each month. As a cause-driven charity ourselves, we at the Y fully understand the importance of strengthening the foundations of the community we serve. Our collaborative engagement with PADS is representative of our commitment to social responsibility.
As the CEO of the West Cook Y, we are pleased and proud of our collaborative association with West Suburban PADS. As a charity ourselves we understand the importance of a strong mission, committed leadership and staff and passionate volunteer support. PADS has this and more. It is one of the reasons we, as Y staff, bag lunches for PADS clients once a month and include PADS clients in our annual Thanksgiving dinner. We look forward to working with PADS on the Career Passport program in 2011.
In today's economy, many are just a paycheck away from the risk of homelessness. West Suburban PADS treats every individual who is homeless -- or at risk of homelessness -- with dignity and respect. While the first priority is to meet the basic need of shelter and food, PADS doesn't stop there. Those who need more than temporary shelter have access to an array of supportive services, from laundry facilities and showers to access to mental health services and career readiness training. The goal is permanent solutions for those who find themselves homeless -- permanent housing, with the level of supportive services needed -- one person, one family at a time.
I started volunteering at one of PADS' shelters 15 years ago, and still do. I've also had the privilege of being on the board of directors for the agency, witnessing and overseeing the development of a total system of housing opportunities and supportive services that afford those who find themselves homeless -- or at risk of homelessness -- the long-term, substantive assistance that truly shows dignity and respect.
HOMELESS NOT HOPELESS
My husband works for a fortune 500 company selling IT solutions to large corporations. We took a hard hit from the economic downturn and as a result, we lost our home to foreclosure. Leading up to that, we had spent many months scraping money together just to pay our utilities and keep food on the table. I remember spending a whole month without heat and boiling water on our electric stove to warm a bath for my little ones.
When we received our eviction notice, I started looking for an apartment to rent. Because of our financial hardship, no one wanted to take the chance of renting us an apartment. Those that agreed, asked for double the security deposit along with the 1st month's rent. That meant thousand's of dollars up front...money we didn't have.
With three small children, we were starting to get desperate. The possibility of becoming homeless was weighing on our hearts.
I had a friend that worked for West Suburban Pads. I wasn't quite sure what the organization was about but, I knew they helped homeless people. I swallowed my pride and confided in her about our situation. She told me about Transitional Housing program and gave me an application to fill out.
I went through 3 interviews before we were approved for assistance. Every one I met greeted me with warmth and kindness. I was treated with dignity and respect which, is so important when you are asking for this level of help. It really gave us that boost of confidence we needed to move forward.
West Suburban Pads opened doors for us that I couldn't. I was able to get a 3 bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood with a great school district paying very affordable rent. This put us in a position where we have been able to pay down some debt and my husband has been able to hold on to his job long enough that he received a promotion and a raise! We are now graduating out of the program early!
I am so grateful for West Suburban PADS. My Case Managers Felicia and Suzie have been so supportive and resourceful. My experience with this organization has been to notch and I can't say enough about how much I appreciate all they have done for me and my family.
I once saw a sign in their building that said, "Homeless Not Hopeless". This statement exemplifies West Suburban PADS purpose and perspective. They gave me HOPE!
West Suburban PADS does a little bit of everything, and they do it all well. Whether it's what you think of as PADS overnight shelter or one of their many housing and service programs that help people get out and stay out of homelessness, West Suburban PADS is a leader in cutting edge practices that truly help our west suburban neighbors in times of crisis.
I first became affiliated with West Suburban PADS as a volunteer. Being new to the area, I didn't know much about the organization; I only knew that it served an important need in our society. I recently became a Board Member of West Suburban PADS. I have learned so much more about this organization. I am extremely honored to be affiliated with PADS as it seeks to end homelessness in our area through providing shelter, housing, job training, and support. Ending homelessness could not be accomplished without the dedicated work of the staff and volunteers.
I am very proud and honored to serve on the board of West Suburban PADS. During my tenure, I have come to really appreciate the comprehensive services WSPADS offers its clients. Not only do they provide needed shelter, but they also provide the services to help the homeless obtain gainful employment and permanent housing. As the say goes, they just don’t provide a fish of food, they teach their clients how to fish to have food for a lifetime.
This review is written on behalf of the team at Wilks Communications. We have worked with West Suburban PADS on a number of levels throughout the past nine years. Over this time we have seen the organization grow into a group that truly makes a difference in our communities. Each person associated with West Suburban PADS including the staff, board members and over 1,000 volunteers have compassion and an open heart to those who face the risk, or the reality, of homelessness. PADS provided 12,366 nights of shelter and 37,098 meals to 500 people last year. This, along with many other reasons, makes West Suburban PADS a nonprofit that we will continue to support and encourage others to do so.
Being a Board Member for Pads has been a fulfilling and enlightening experience. I have found the board members and volunteers to be the most hard working group of people I have ever met. They are dedicated to preventing homelessness and work tirelessly to that end. The emergency shelter is run entirely with dedicated volunteers, and the supportive services and employment readiness services are run by excellent professionals. I am proud to be part of this wonderful organization.
I've been a board member at West Suburban PADS for nine years, and before that, I'd volunteered in their overnight shelter program for ten years. PADS has grown from a shelter that provided a place to sleep and a hot dinner to a full-service agency offering wrap-around care, job training, housing and support services. Throughout its programs PADS insists on upholding the human dignity and value of its clients as well as providing for their housing needs. The staff and volunteers deal with each guest as a person, not as simply "case load". It's an honor to help PADS serve the last and the least in our community.
Volunteering with this wonderfully effective nonprofit is always a fulfilling experience. PADS is truly improving our community, one success story at a time. The constant improvement and expansion of service is inspirational. I love having very specific, tangible ways to make a difference from donating household goods and clothing to flood victims to adopting a family for the holiday season.
There are many ways to help with Pads. I've served food, helped with getting beds ready and I've cleaned up areas after people leave. However, the most rewarding for me is in preparing food. Once a month I help make a meal to serve 60 plus people. We've been making Shepard's Pie for over ten years. It's become a favorite, a classic with the people we serve. There have been many times, when I've given to a homeless person, or bought a Streetwise from them, and mentioned how I help with Pads and what I cook, they remember the Shepard's Pie and thank me. That's the reward I treasure, directly from the people we serve.
West Suburban PADS is one of those organizations that can easily be taken for granted. The services they provide are a vital part of the community and without them, the homeless citizens of the western suburbs would continue to struggle. I have volunteered at their annual holiday party and seeing the joy of the families is what brings me back each year. Those who receive PADS' services are always grateful and the staff is always respectful to the clients needs. PADS offers such a wonderful service to the community and they do not receive the recognition they rightly deserve. I hope that this review becomes one of the first steps toward that recognition.
I have had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors for West Suburban PADS over the past 5 1/2 years. Board members, staff, and volunteers have a shared passion that fuels change on a daily basis as those in need are sheltered, housed, and receive job training. PADS' volunteer base is broad and busy; its' Board is strong and invested; and, PADS' staff are skilled professionals with a sense of mission.
I have voltuneered a West Suburban PADS shelter one night per month for the past 6 years, and it has been a very positive experience. for me. The PADS's homeless shelter which I have volunteer at provides emergency shelter and food to up to 25 men, women and families. Guests at the shetler are given a very high level of respect and courtsey. PADS has a caseworker at the shetler, to work with the guests to help them work toward getting permanent shelter. Volutneering at the shelter has been a very rewarding experience. The guests are extremely gratefull for the volutneer work which you perform for them. The fellow volutneers are wonderfull as well, and are very supportive and friendly. Moreover, West Suburban PADS is extremely appretiative and supportive of their volunteers
PADS does great work for the homeless those at risk of becoming homeless in west suburban cook county. My family and I volunteer in one of their shelters once a month. PADS initially focused on providing shelter to the homeless, but they have really expanded their services to meet people where they are at- from job training, to supportive permanent housing, counseling as well as other housing options. Their staff is amazing. They provide a great service to people who are down on their luck and to the community as a whole. I am glad to be connected to PADS.
West Suburban PADS is the only agency in the near west cook county suburbs that is dedicated exclusively to ending homelessness. People believe that homelessness is a "big city issue" and that is just not the case. People are homeless in suburbs, cities, small towns and rural areas.
My children and I recently started to volunteer our time at PADS, a non-for-profit homeless shelter. We had such a wonderful & positive experience with PADS that we are truly excited about this program. The PADS staff was well organized, very knowledgeable, and just a pleasure to work with. At every shelter there is a social services staff on site who encourages clients to visit the PADS Support Center where they can access shower and laundry services, get basic medical and mental health case management, and work on finding a job if they are not already employed. While my volunteer experience has been hands-on in the overnight shelter, I know that PADS’ main focus is to get people out of the shelters and into housing. They have three supportive housing programs that housed close to 100 people last year. Their homelessness prevention program kept 130 adults and children from becoming homeless. PADS has over 1,000 volunteers who help take care of those who are experiencing homelessness. I am proud to be one of them and proud to be apart of this wonderful organization.
I have been a volunteer with my family at PADS for the past few years. We spend one night a month cooking, serving and cleaning up a dinner for the 50 or so guests that spend the night in one of their emergency shelters. This has been a fantastic family activity that has helped our three children (8, 11 and 13) understand the realities of homelessness in a safe environment. Through this program, my family has been able to see people move up and out of homelessness and feel like we have played a small part in their success.
I've been a PADS volunteer for 6+ years and have seen the organization grow stronger and better over that time. The staff truly cares about each and every client/guest that attends the overnight shelter and/or comes to the support center. Their goal is to eventually help each person find their way to sustain themselves and end their homelessness. The volunteers are equally as committed to helping. I feel truly blessed to have become affiliated with PADS and to be able to work in the overnight shelter getting to know guests and other volunteers along with staff.
I was a previous client of PADS when I was homeless. Everyone from PADS who I dealt with was very professional and treated me with respect at a time when I was feeling very helpless and hopeless. .I was explained the services available and the staff took the time to help me during this difficult time. I also found the staff and volunteers that I encountered while in the shelter very professional and friendly. Made my time in the shelter very bearable. I owe a deep bit of gratitude and thank to PADS and everyone associated with them. I have now been in my apartment and living independently, going on 5 years now. Now I volunteer some of my time to PADs and have for a few years now in various ways. I help at the shelter, I haved helped at the support center, I have been asked to speak at various functions, and do whatever I can to support this great organization.