Grateful for Grants

Thank You, Assembly Member Judy Griffin!

Assembly Member Judy Griffin (District 21) has been a staunch advocate of Bethany House since her first election to the New York State Assembly in 2018.  She has a long history of volunteerism and advocacy in the local community, and her Assembly committee participation reflects her priorities and those of her constituents.  Judy is the Chair of the Commission on Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes and is a member of the following committees: Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; Environmental Conservation; Government Employees; and Higher Education. She is also a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Task Force on Women’s Issues (https://www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=021&sh=about).

Bethany House is indebted to Assembly Member Griffin for successfully sponsoring three legislative grants on behalf of Bethany House, most recently for $60,000, for a three-year total of $100,000 to date.  The first two were used to support the general operation of the programming in the houses, and the most recent grant will be earmarked for a Senior Case Manager for our Safe Ground for Families Transitional Services initiative.  This funding is essential to ensuring excellent services and optimal outcomes for the women, and women with children, residing at Bethany House.

Cooking with Class!

Danielle O’Toole, a retired personal culinary instructor, recently began offering cooking classes at one of our homes. After reviewing possible menu ideas with our guests, she comes with the chosen meal fully cooked, as well as all the ingredients to cook the meal with our guests watching her instruction.  Her class is similar to the many cooking shows offered on television. Danielle goes through all the steps needed to prepare the meal, explaining what she is doing, the techniques being used, and ways to keep within a set budget.

For September, she showed our guests economical ways to prepare fried chicken, creamed spinach (you wouldn’t believe how easy it is!) and mac n’ cheese. While preparing the meal, Danielle offers tips as well as affordable and simple ingredient ideas to jazz up a meal.  Danielle enlists her circle of friends to contribute toward the cost of the prepared and instructional meals. Bethany House is extremely grateful to Danielle for the generous donation of her time and expertise, and to her friends for the ingredients for the delicious meals. The women at Bethany House are eagerly awaiting their next lesson and meal!  

From our home to yours: August 2022

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer at Bethany House

When Nat King Cole reflected on those lazy and hazy days of summer, he couldn’t have imagined all the amazing things happening at Bethany House. That said, Mr. Cole sure got the “crazy” part right. This summer of 2022 has been crazy for Bethany House – crazy good!

Bethany House received official word from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) that our Bethany Too program had been certified on July 22, 2022, to serve 11 single women. We then received word from OTDA on August 10, 2022, that our Bethany One and Bethany South programs had been among the first programs in Nassau County to be certified to serve 12 and 10 families, respectively. Certification by the NYS OTDA confirms that women, and women with children, who turn to Bethany House when challenged by homelessness, will receive the highest quality of service in the finest facilities. The journey to certification is arduous. Policies need to be enhanced, facilities must be upgraded and staff need to be retrained to meet the high standards required for certification. The preparation for certification involved extensive support and guidance from our colleagues at the NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the Nassau County Department of Social Services. As importantly, Bethany House certification was brought to reality through the vision of the Bethany House Board of Directors- past and present- with the support of board and volunteer committee members, and the hard work of a dedicated group of extremely talented Bethany House leadership staff.

The summer of 2022 has also been a time for us to formally bid farewell to the many college students who interned with Bethany House over the past year. We said farewell and offered our appreciation to the many students from Nassau Community College, Molloy University, Fordham University and the New York Theological Seminary. With the guidance of our leadership staff, these amazing students brought much needed health, counseling and empowerment services into our programs that led to physical, emotional and spiritual healing for our guests and their children. During these last, hazy days of summer, we have prepared for the upcoming year and welcomed our next group of interns from Adelphi, Fordham, Molloy and Bellevue University.

The many faith-based, business and corporate organizations that support the women and children at Bethany House took no time off this summer. The amazing members of these organizations continued to donate much needed food, clothing, household supplies, school supplies and even Chromebook computers for our guests. The members of these same organizations arranged numerous opportunities for our guests to enjoy recreational and entertainment activities with our neighbors in Nassau County.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that the dedicated volunteers, who support the work of Bethany House, all continued to work straight through the summer supporting our guests and planning fundraising and direct service activities for the next year. These fundraisers and activities ensure the best quality of service for the women and children who turn to Bethany house in their time of need.

Obviously, the summer of 2022 has been anything but lazy or hazy. And it certainly has been crazy good!

The Bethany House Board of Directors and leadership staff leave the summer of 2022 with grateful hearts. We look forward to the coming academic year with hope, determination and anticipation of all the crazy good things to come.

Be well and thanks for all that you do.

 

Doug O’Dell
Executive Director

From our home to yours: June 2022

Bethany House Executive Director’s June 2022 Message

The Journey From Homelessness To Self-Actualization

Providing food, clothing and shelter to women and children experiencing homelessness is the foundation of the Bethany House mission. We have effectively provided emergency services and shelter to women, and women with children, for over 40 years. Meeting the basic needs of our Long Island neighbors in crisis is the most import service we provide. But it is not enough.

When the women we serve feel comfortable enough to share their life stories, we learn that many of them and their families have been cycling through bouts of homelessness repeatedly, and even from one generation to the next. At Bethany House, we are now fully focused on breaking this individual and inter-generational cycle.  We now provide services that empower women, support physical and emotional healing, and set our guests on a path to self-actualization. 

Many of the women who turn to Bethany House in their time of need have experienced devastating trauma that has led to family conflict, disruption and loss.  Some are at-risk of losing the custody of their children.  Others have already experienced the emotional tragedy and related trauma of having lost custody of their children. Still others have experienced intergenerational, partner and significant other conflict and, in some cases, violence. We are now providing in-house counseling and empowerment services made possible with the financial support of individuals, community and faith-based organizations, corporations and foundations.  These services have led to family healing, preservation, reunification and stabilization.  Once the women we serve feel that they and their children are safe, and experience a sense of belonging, they are ready to focus on self-improvement, education and financial stability. As they enter this phase of their healing journey, they need more support than Bethany House alone can provide.  This is where our service partners come into play.

Our service partners offer health and counseling services that empower the women we serve and provide them with hope.  Local colleges, universities and employment training programs set women on a path to job satisfaction and greater financial sufficiency.  Pro bono attorneys and financial advisors help our guests to resolve past entanglements. Our program volunteers and early childhood and local school partners provide the children of the women we serve with opportunities to experience the joy of learning and academic success. 

Finally, our extended family of staff, volunteers and partners supported through philanthropy have enabled Bethany House to provide aftercare services.  These aftercare services ensure that once on the path to stability the women and children served through Bethany House will never again have to endure the trauma of homelessness.

The expansion of the Bethany House mission has been made possible through the compassion and commitment of our board of directors, volunteers and staff, and with the generous support of our donors.  Together we are breaking the cycle of homelessness – two generations at a time.

Best,

Doug O’Dell 

Executive Director

Coming back after COVID-19

Aside from the obvious health concerns and difficulties that COVID-19 brought upon Bethany House, another unfortunate side affect from the pandemic was that the volunteer and extracurricular activities that make our homes so lively and enjoyable for our guests had to come to a halt.  Recently, however, with safety protocols in place and the pandemic in a better place, we are so excited and grateful to bring all of these activities back with a boom! 

A Women’s Empowerment Group has deeply engaged many of our guests, providing insightful activities for them to participate in.  Mindfulness Bingo, Would You Rather, Trivia Night, Vision Boards and Painting Birdhouses are all sessions that have been held for the women in our homes to facilitate a fun activity while providing therapeutic services to them.  

Reading partners, game night, financial literacy and movie night are other events that are underway at our houses.  Special thank you to all of our volunteers and interns who make these great events happen.  If you would like to volunteer with Bethany House, please visit https://bhny.org/contact-us