Monday, August 29, 2011

August 24 Set-Up

First it was the 24th, then the 23rd, and then back to the 24th.  Some set-ups have a more complicated rhythm than others and this was proving to be one of those.  Of course it had to happen on Isabel Freeman's watch, but she handled all the vicissitudes of this event with calmness and acceptance which was so appreciated.

I was up in Summerland for a week and Karen was heading to Minnesota for her annual lakeside family gathering as the dates flipped back and forth for this set-up.  Isabel never batted an eyelash as folks who could originally help on the 24th, were unable to help on the 23rd and then when it was switched back to the 24th, some of the original volunteers had made other plans.   

Still, it happened, and went off without a hitch...or so I'm told!  Joined by Toni Colvin and Sue Forbes, the apartment looked great when they were finished as you'll see from Toni's terrific photos which I've posted below.

Thanks to all of you for handling this so ably.

 It's always nice when Juan is there to help.

 Toni and Isabel.  Toni's First Set-Up!

Isabel putting the baby seat together...something she's had a lot of practice doing of late!

 Sue Forbes taking a few minutes off for a photo op.

 Toni showing the cute bedroom for the little boy and girl.

 The parent's bedroom...hopefully this will offer them some serenity.

 Sue setting up the kitchen.

 The apartment...always great when it's a ground floor unit!

 A pretty shot of Westwood Transitional Village.  
I can only imagine what a welcome sight this is to families who have been struggling to find a home.

Good job ladies!  The apartment looks terrific.

August 17 Set-Up

Because I've been away for a week and am falling behind in my blog postings (excuses, excuses, I know!), I'm going to make this set-up posting mainly photographs, except for a couple of quotes from little Julia Grasso (joined by her mom, Catherine) who helped Isabel Freeman and me (Linda) at this set-up. 

This was a two-bedroomed, one bathroom apartment for a mom, dad and their two little girls which made it a perfect set-up for Julia to help us with...and help she did.  She began by joining in and carrying stuff from our cars.  Upon seeing all the toys she quietly said to her Mom, "I don't know about you, but I kinda wish I was homeless..." If you were able to make our end of school meeting at the beautiful  Grasso family home last summer (2010), this comment would really make you laugh.  Just goes to show what kids notice!

 Julia took a lot of time getting the girls' beds just so.  While Catherine made the beds and did the practical stuff, Julia arranged, which is no surprise since her Mom is an interior designer!

She made sure that she placed the Cuties, handmade with love by Topanga Elementary School Fourth Graders, in a prominent position on each bed, deciding they looked best out of their plastic wrapping.

And then, when we were ready to go, we waited a few minutes while she did something that touched all of us beyond measure.  She hand wrote a welcome note to the little girls who were moving in.

As Isabel, Catherine, Julia and I did our final 'walk-through' of the apartment, tweaking and making sure everything was just right, Julia said, "The kitchen is kind of small but I really like the toaster."

And then walking out the door she echoed a sentiment that I'll bet a lot of Topanga kids would agree with her on:  "If I lived here, I'd ride my bike all over these paths."

This demonstrated to me, once more, the importance of making these small apartments as comfortable and welcoming for these families as possible because through the eyes of a child, you really see the magical transformation of a bare-bones space into a welcoming and more comfortable home.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

8/12/11 Set-Up

Yesterday's set-up for the Green/Carter family was a little more complicated than usual as the family had been moved out of a unit where they were being temporarily housed to allow for an emergency intake of another family.  This meant that the apartment we were setting up was filled with their meager possessions which we tried to move as little as possible, while still ensuring a warm welcome for them.  We say it at most meetings, but need to frequently remind ourselves...homelessness is not tidy, and yesterday certainly lived up to that.

Helping Karen and me was an absolutely terrific young man, Sasha, the son of TWC volunteer Azmina Kanji.  Azmina and Sasha have been quietly involved in helping our group for some time now by donating monies raised from special sales of their clothing lines to our group and yesterday was no exception.  Not only did they donate some beautiful items of clothing, including fantastic t-shirts from Sasha's line, but also a percentage of sales from Azmina's Xmas clothing sale.  This was Sasha's first set-up and he did a terrific job, especially considering it was a complicated one.  Plus, he was a strong young man for carrying the heavy stuff!

Here are some photos that will give you a better idea than my words.  Look closely. Perhaps you'll see something that you donated!

 Sasha ready to work!

 Hall Decor 
(one of three donated nesting tables and decorative piece of china)

 The Master Bathroom

 More of the Master Bath

 The Master Bedroom

 One of Sasha's t-shirts that he left for the son

 The second bathroom

 More of the second bathroom

 A toaster oven!

All finished!