Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome Lashawnda! New to the LPCS team.

Hello everyone!  Thank you all for the warm and inviting welcome I’ve received these past couple of weeks as I transition into the position of Community Relations & Development Manager. I am so excited to become one of the newest members of the LPCS family. 

Lashawnda M. Carter, Community Relations & Development Manager
I always knew I wanted to work in a field that helped others, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would look like when I finished school. After taking a class on the fundamentals of fundraising, I decided to look for positions on That is where I learned about National Runaway Safeline (NRS); the federally-designated crisis communications system for runaway, homeless and at-risk youth.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out that few people were really aware of how under-served the homeless population was. Unfortunately, there are always stigmas placed with homelessness; whether it’s among youth stereotyped as “defiant kids,” or homeless adults stereotyped as “lazy or “bums” addicted to substance. As a youth growing up and even now as a single mother, I have always felt a connection to the homeless population because I know that I could have and can still be one step away from the same situation.

I spent six years at NRS as the Outreach Coordinator and Community Engagement Specialist. During my tenure, I planned and coordinated events to promote public awareness around youth homelessness, and built relationships both locally and nationally, with demonstrated results in increasing community engagement and executing effective communication strategies. My experience includes: managing both volunteers and staff, working with boards and community partners, and presenting to a wide variety of audiences, including at national conferences. I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications (Public Relations) from Governors State University.

On a personal note, I have two children: an eleven year old boy named Kaleb (aka K-1) and a two and a half year old girl named Koby (aka K-2); together they are known as the K-Squared. When I’m not busy working or taking care of motherly duties, I enjoy cooking and creating new recipes. I am the owner of a part-time boutique catering company called Catering by L.Marie.

I look forward to continuing my advocacy for the homeless and ending homeleness through my position at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Please be sure to introduce yourself to me so that I can become familiar with names AND faces.

Continue to be well.

Lashawnda M. Carter
Community Relations & Development Manager

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight: Lily

Lily has been with LPCS just a little over a year, but in that time she has accomplished so much already! Lily is always willing to help, no matter how big or small the task, and her greatest achievement has been her unique way to connect to and befriend our Guests.

Lily first joined when Meghan recruited (more like demanded!) her to run in the Run Home Chicago 5K event a year ago, and little did we know, Lily would become a regular attendee for all things LPCS. She started joining in Guest nights out to the movies or picnics, and even spent a day setting up the Taste of Fall event (it did not matter that she was not even on the committee!). Today, Lily leads a knitting club with our Guests that has given an outlet for fun conversation and learning a new skill.

Lily is also on the LPCS Associate Board where she has brought some amazing ideas to the team. She is one of our most creative volunteers, developing a board for our overnight volunteers and helping the volunteer team figure our new and exciting ways to celebrate all of our volunteers and keep them involved.
Thank you, Lily, for always being available to help us and for being such a dedicated volunteer!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

From Surviving to Thriving - Meet Patricia

Patricia is a wonderful example of the difference a supportive and stable environment makes in the life of someone who had struggled for years on the streets to merely survive. 

The solution to homelessness is so simple: Housing. But not just any housing. Affordable Housing. Safe Housing. And for some, housing that includes ongoing Supportive Services. Housing changes everything.
Patricia, 1999 & 2013
Patricia is a wonderful example of the difference a supportive and stable environment makes in the life of someone who had struggled for years on the streets to merely survive. In her 60s, she had a rough life, making her home in a nearby park throughout the 1990s. She was also an on-again, off-again Guest at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Although guarded about her history, bits were revealed as we gained her trust – she grew up in the suburbs, had worked as a cashier at a local college into her 40s, but the details ended there. Unfortunately, because we did not yet have the capacity to be open year-round, we couldn't provide the ongoing support that she needed. Each spring, when we closed for the season, Patricia would return to “her” park.
In the summer of 1999, LPCS remained open for the first time, and Patricia was able to stay with us. “I couldn’t change life myself,” she says. And because we were able to maintain that connection, we were able to refer her to a permanent supportive housing program that we believed would be a good fit for her. In July, 2000, she moved into a studio apartment in Lakeview. For the first time in many years, she had a stable home.
The first few months were challenging for Patricia.  After years of homelessness, she would catch herself wandering through the park, because she struggled to come to terms with the fact that she had her own home.  She even slept in the park for a few nights, because it had become a part of who she was. But with the support and encouragement of LPCS, she eventually found comfort in her new community.
Thirteen years later, Patricia remains housed and stable. She now lives in a senior building just a few blocks from LPCS. She’s no longer struggling to survive – she’s thriving. She has many friends in the building and is often called upon to help her neighbors. She even works a part-time job at the front desk
Read more about the impact that LPCS programs are making by visiting our website.
Just like LPCS provides stability to our Guests and Graduates, you can provide stability for LPCS. Any amount is appreciated, and will directly benefit the programs that help Guests like Patricia escape homelessness for good to achieve true long-term stability. In addition, a generous foundation has offered to match any donations from new or returning donors, doubling the impact of your donation! Please give today! 
Patricia’s before and after story is remarkable, and there are many current Guests at LPCS who could use your help to transform their current situations into our next success stories. Your continued support will ensure that Guests will escape the cycle of homelessness to achieve true long-term stability.

Many, many thanks, 

Executive Director

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Chamber is our Champion!

On November 14, several volunteers were honored at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Event for going above and beyond the call of duty in their roles at LPCS. We have thousands of dedicated volunteers each year, and these have earned special recognition. Over the next several weeks we will profile these special volunteers on this blog as a way of publicly showing our appreciation for all that they have given, and continue to give, to LPCS and our Guests!

Each year, the Community Partnership Award is given in recognition of an organization or institution that fosters community and support for LPCS and its mission through collaboration with the shelter. Past recipients have included: Lincoln Elementary School, DePaul University, Cubs Care (A Fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation), Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Chicago Photography Center, and Lakeview Action Coalition. This year’s recipient of the Community Partnership Award is the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce.

LPCS has been a member of the Chamber for many years, first becoming involved as a member of a committee which sought to give Chamber members ways to give and get involved locally in the community. Through our membership, we have gained many new volunteers and business donors. Our annual Taste of Fall event has grown each year because of the generosity of local restaurants, for example, and local businesses are huge supports to our silent auctions at both Taste of Fall and the Metamorphosis Party each year.

Today, several LPCS Board members have ties to the local business community and to the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Chamber members cook breakfast at LPCS twice monthly in dates hosted by myself and fellow Board members Gil Matar and Jeff Lawler. And our Guests benefit from these partnerships as well; we’ve recently begun sending Guests to networking events hosted by the Chamber, giving Guests real-world experience in practicing their networking skills. This has already resulted in one Guest finding employment! The Chamber also promotes our Guests’ resumes through their e-newsletter to local businesses that might be hiring.

We are so pleased to honor the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce for their outstanding partnership over the years. Finally, please consider attending the Best Holiday Party Ever! coming up on Dec. 10, sponsored by the Chamber. There will be awesome entertainment by the cast of Million Dollar Quartet, food and drink by some of the best Lincoln Park restaurants, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit LPCS! This is a great business networking opportunity or just a plain fun night out in the neighborhood!  Tickets are available at:

Thanks again to the Chamber for a wonderful partnership!

--  Elizabeth Rossdeutscher, Vice President, Board of Directors