Category Archives: day center

Regional Empowerment Centers Update

Friendship House has undergone both ministry and program growth as the demographics of suburban populations in New Castle County have shifted over the years. Friendship House has made a proactive choice to find ways to better serve those who are not receiving available services because they are unable, unwilling, or unaware. It’s a fierce battle for many who are not use to being the one asking for help. We have seen people weeping from desperation as they struggle to put the pieces of their now broken life back together. We have witnessed anger from a situation that is out of someone’s control, or the deep anguish of watching a loved one suffer through an addiction. And this is happening throughout the suburbs of New Castle County. This is no longer, and hasn’t been, just an inner city “problem.”

To combat this, we have proactively begun finding ways to be available to our suburban churches who are finding themselves with less resources to handle the increase call for help. Either from strangers, neighbors, or their own congregation – the need is continuing to increase. Friendship House has started a ministry collaboration with several churches in the Pike Creek and Millcreek areas by being available at food giveaways or hosting dedicated hours on site. In Middletown, we are on location three mornings at Church On Main in partnership to the community. We are also revamping our referral process for the North Wilmington area by meeting people by appointment in local churches instead of having them come into Wilmington which for some became a deterrent. Finally, we have collaborated with an existing organization in the Richardson Park area called Richardson Park CAP to assist with financial assessments and help manage their distribution of funds in hopes of working with their clients through our empowerment ministry model.

To improve our infrastructure to handle this growth, we have hosted several Empowerment Ministry workshops targeting potential volunteers in each of these areas. Instead of hiring additional staff, we want to work with our existing support base and include you in this journey, to meet and work with your own communities. In this we will find common ground and transformation within each of us.

Empowerment Center Expansion Project

Recent demographic shifts felt by local suburban churches include an increasing number of people in need who are generally unwilling or unable to access traditional social services usually found NEC Volunteersin urban areas. For example, someone on the brink of homelessness or experiencing it for the first time who lives in suburban areas of New Castle County is not coming into Wilmington or Newark where services are most readily available. Instead, these individuals either live in severe poverty without seeking help, move from person to person in hopes of staying off the streets, or seek help from their local church who may or may not be in a position to offer assistance. Men and women under the age of 35 are strongly impacted, as studies show that 67% do not possess independent housing. Possessing no legal status in their place of residence, they can become displaced persons at a moment’s notice. In the last five years, homeless camps and suburban panhandling have grown exponentially throughout New Castle County. In addition, the heroin epidemic is devastating Americans in all social, economic and geographic boundaries. Heroin use increased 150% in the last three years and each month 15 Delawareans die of drug overdoses, mostly in New Castle County.

WDC Computer lab aFriendship House is expanding our empowerment centers to reach those individuals in places where services are currently not easily accessible. Our initial targeted locations will be located in the suburban regions of Middletown/Townsend, Millcreek /Pike Creek and Fairfax /Talleyville. These regions were chosen because of their high concentration of existing Friendship House ministry partners; the willingness of several faith communities in each region to co-sponsor the pilot projects by providing donated space, volunteers and funding; and the identification of several local client populations that would benefit from empowerment center services.

To see more about this project, please read the 2015 FH Empowerment Center Plan.

Delaware Homelessness

July Newsletter: Against All Odds

In July we sent our first electronic version of Against All Odds. You can see it in its entirety by clicking here. To get our newsletter sent to you via email you can sign up by clicking here.

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I recently came across a quote from Sister Mary Lou Kownacki which said, "There isn't anyone you couldn't love once you've heard their story." Of the many people who come in and out of the Friendship House doors, it is their stories and their names that stay with us. Everything is a story - whether fiction or nonfiction, whether you agree or disagree - it all starts with a story.

Thousands of years ago before we were able to capture stories onto paper, stories were verbally passed on through the generations. The Friendship House staff still spends much of their time listening to our clients' stories. Whether it is the first encounter or the hundredth, there is still something to be learned through listening and something to learn through retelling.

It is our mission to walk with someone on their journey without asking them to be something they are not. Our desire is that each person we encounter will let us into their life through their words. What better way to know someone then to listen, with our ears and our hearts.

This newsletter, our first electronic version of Against All Odds,  is just that for you. It is stories from the women at our Women's Day Center: staff, volunteers, clients, and friends. We invite you to read and open your hearts to the stories of what they have to share.

Kim Eppehimer
Assistant Administrator

You Don't Have to Walk Alone

I know people say life is an experience. I must say, they did not lie. I thought everything finally was going right for my family and myself. But let me tell you that was a fairy tale.

One day I wasn't feeling like myself, I started feeling tired all the time. Days became weeks, weeks became months and I was not getting any better. Then one day I went to the hospital got a complete work up, then a week later got a call for me to come to the clinic where I had my testing done. I was a little scared but I went and once there I found out I had AIDS, not HIV. I was full blown. I was devastated, but I acted like this could not happen to me and I went home and pretended it was not true.

Let me tell you that truth will make itself known and I got so sick I could not eat anything and drank only fluids. I went from 160 to 89 pounds. My sister picked me up and rushed me to the hospital - thank God - because I was knocking on death's door. I stayed in the hospital for over a week until they were able to get me stabilized. They sent me to a good clinic to help me get my meds, so now I take a lot of meds and because I waited my viral load is so low that it's going to be a hard and long road.

As I started getting better I still went through a lot of problems with my health. I was in and out of the hospital with rare pulmonary ailments that normal people would not get. I continue to have infections and pneumonia. I now find myself homeless and no one to reach out to, or to tell my suffering to, because I am still being judged and labeled.

I went back to a place where I have always gotten help and was not judged. Even when I made mistakes they were always nice to me and told me things I needed to do. Friendship Women's Day Center and their staff has helped me with places to go and agencies to see so that I hope to find housing and try to get healthy. I really appreciate all they have done to help with my meds and just someone to talk to who don't treat me any differently. As I close, the one important thing I want people to know is don' think this is something that cannot happen to you, you are no more immune than I am and you hear what has happened to me. Be careful and always get checked - it may save your life.

LD - A Friendship House Friend