Breakfast event with a courageous client, supporters, staff and sharing of socks
By Maureen Schriner*
On a beautiful rainy fall day, Dakota Woodlands hosted our Bringing Families Home Breakfast, which gathered supporters and staff to recognize the successes of our shelter in serving homeless families and to understand the challenges still before us. Some of the momentous memories of this event:
Courageous client – A current resident of Dakota Woodlands, joined Dakota Woodlands’ Lauren Rose at the podium to talk about the struggles he, his wife and three children were working through, of homelessness, illness and addiction. His children are his motivation to stay sober, he told the gathering. He and his wife had been devastated when county social services took custody of their children for several weeks. His wife is still in addiction treatment. He talked about how he was using Dakota Woodlands’ programs to find a path to a better life for his family. We thank Michael for the courage to stand before the crowd to tell his story.
Our supporters – Eleven local organizations sponsored tables at the breakfast. Thanks to our board of directors who brought along family, friends and co-workers.
The event was emceed by Tom Hauser, political reporter at KSTP-TV, who recalled his time as a resident of Dakota County. Tom repeated to the gathering the compelling facts about needs of homelessness, with over 57 families on the waiting list for Dakota Woodlands.
Our staff – A number of our staff were able to join us and have conversations with our supporters. Dakota Woodlands Executive Director Beth Bromen spoke to the gathering about the problems of homelessness and about Dakota Woodlands’ services. She noted the ongoing challenges when families move out of Dakota Woodlands, but still need services to maintain stability, particularly the many adult residents at Dakota Woodlands who have mental illness, chemical addictions and no other family to help them.
We would like to thank our sponsors:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Christensen Group Insurance
Tradition Capital Bank
21st Century Bank
Individual sponsorship - anonymous
Randall Propp and Randy Nelson
* Maureen has volunteered at Dakota Woodlands as a tutor, piano teacher and communicator.
The month of July at Dakota Woodlands was full of summer fun, community support, and ended with a bed of roses. Our residents received vases full of beautiful roses from HyVee customers supporting HyVee's Operation Send a Smile Campaign. A smile is surely what our residents received! Thank you to all that supported this wonderful campaign. Your act of kindness brightened the day of those experiencing difficult times.
Each year as the school year comes to an end, Dakota Woodlands (DW) hosts a party for those that live at the shelter. It’s a tradition for DW to celebrate this time of year, recognizing a child’s success of completing the school year and applauding parents for supporting their children in this accomplishment.
This year we welcomed 30 former residents to this celebration that lived at DW in the past year, in addition to the 22 families staying with us. With the help of volunteers, many activities were lined up for this event that included food, games, prizes and arts & crafts. The children enjoyed jumping in the inflatable bouncy house, catching a surprise from the fishing pond game, experiencing the artistry of Henna Tattoos, jazzing it up with face painting, and receiving books from our book giveaway. We even had drawings for special prizes, giving our families a chance to win gift cards and bicycles!
A heartfelt thank you to our generous community of volunteers and donors for making this event possible! We would like to recognize Chef Jeff from New Horizon Foods for creating and donating a spectacular display of fruit offerings for our residents. This made the menu extra special! These delicious fruit trays were accompanied by walking tacos, variety of meats and toppings, veggie trays, yummy baked goods, popcorn, and a selection of beverages.
Congratulations to all of the school aged children for a job well done! YOU are amazing!
Congratulations to board member Mary Devine for being named the Wells Fargo 2017 Volunteer of the Year! On April 26, 2017 the Wells Fargo Volunteer Service Award Program donated $1000.00 in honor of Mary Devine for her volunteer service to Dakota Woodlands.
Executive Director Beth Bromen and Diana Harms, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for Dakota Woodlands, were with Devine as she accepted the honor.
Dakota Woodlands is happy to be a recent recipient of a Social Impact Grant from the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF). This grant was made possible by many donors – past and present – whose annual generosity and belief in the power of endowment has allowed CCF to steward and grow endowment funds. These funds provide annual grants to meet the greatest needs in our community.