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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Sierra House

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Group Homes, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, Human Services, Job Training, Mental Health, Residential Mental Health Treatment

Mission: Our mission is to improve the prospects of individual achievement for at-risk youth and young adults through education and community services, thereby contributing to the long-term stability of our community.

Results: Since inception, Sierra House has served 103 women and children. Of the total population served 71 were adults and 32 were babies. At intake (before being enrolled): o 66% had earned a HS diploma or GED o 24% had not earned their HS diploma or GED o 4% were enrolled in HS or a GED program o 13% were enrolled in post secondary education/job training o 69% were unemployed o 3% received unemployment o 38% were mothers While living at Sierra House: o 31% enrolled in college or other postsecondary programs o 9 % enrolled in high school or a GED program o 28% became employed o 1 out of 71 or 1% became pregnant o 6 out of 71 or 9% received their HS diplomas/GEDs o 57% were aided in obtaining public assistance o 11% were terminated for noncompliance Sierra House is proud to report that 70% of those we served transitioned to self-sufficiency. Of this number: o 34% were reunified with their families o 22% moved in a shared apartment o 44% moved into their own apartment

Target demographics: homeless young women and mothers from all over the state of New Jersey to learn the skills needed for self sufficiency and to break the cycle of homelessness

Geographic areas served: State of New Jersey

Programs: shelter, counseling, life skills, educational advancement, and critical social services within a supportive family-like environment.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2 Lacey4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Author A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Kristen41

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Had a great time with the girls and the staff at the NASW-NJ Chat and Chew.

Nancy103

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sierra house is an amazing organization and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with those lovely women

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been such a pleasure working with you over this past semester!

We have been inspired by your work and we can only hope that we can continue this wonderful partnership as we move from this point.

You have been the most amazing business partners that we could have asked for and we hope and wish for your continued success in all of your future endeavors.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I currently interned at Sierra House in Summer 2012 as a Social Worker. Sierra House is an organization that upheld its mission and committed to helping at risk youth in need of food, shelter, and community social services. During my work here at Sierra House, we worked together to help better the lives of our youth residents. I feel that the staff worked well as a family which was a good model for the residents. The residents seemed to be motivated to help themselves. Sierra House was able to deal with any issue that occured in a timely manner. Sierra House is a great organization full of caring staff! Sierra House is there to help young individuals who need services. We need more residential programs that are safe and caring like Sierra House.

Review from Guidestar