15th Annual Hope Awards Dinner Draws Attention to Empowerment through Employment

Calvary Women’s Services continued a long tradition of celebrating women’s achievements and raising awareness on the issues facing women who are homeless during its 15th Annual Hope Awards Dinner yesterday. More than $300,000 was donated through the event, all of which will strengthen Calvary’s housing, health, education and employment programs for women in Washington.

A predominant theme throughout the Hope Awards Dinner was the need for more intentional resources that empower women to end their homelessness. Since 1983, women at Calvary have accessed programs that address the root causes of their homelessness and enable them to achieve long-term stability. With the addition of the Step Up DC job placement program, women at Calvary are moving into permanent housing more quickly and with stronger foundations for lasting success.

Kris Thompson, Calvary’s executive director, pointed to the program’s success during her remarks. “What we do at Calvary works,” she said. “We know that when women gain income, they can move to housing. To do this, women need computer classes and time to job search; they need personalized care, support and the confidence that comes from knowing they are not alone.”

Denise, a woman currently living at Calvary, delivered a moving speech about her experiences with domestic violence, addiction and homelessness. Denise gained employment earlier this year with assistance from Step Up DC. She is saving money and enrolling in medical billing classes in order to advance her career and afford her own apartment.

“Step Up DC is awesome,” she said. “It woke up the skills that were dormant in me during my addiction. The women around me help one another and share information. Everyone at Calvary is there to support me, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Erica May-Scherzer was presented with the Hope Award for her work in the community as an activist, feminist and human rights advocate. Erica is an ambassador for Polaris and has played an active role in a number of women’s empowerment projects with nonprofit organizations around the U.S. She and her husband, Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, strive to create meaningful impact in their community.

“Calvary empowers women with concrete tools and strategies that they use to change their lives,” Erica said. “They provide a safe haven where women can be heard. I am incredibly honored to receive this award from a distinguished organization that is leading the fight to end homelessness for women.”

MGAC was the Presenting Sponsor of the 15th Annual Hope Awards Dinner. The event was sponsored by American Airlines, Battelle Memorial Institute, Sigma Health Consulting, LLC and Walmart, in addition to many other organizations, families and individuals.

For additional information about Calvary Women’s Services and its programs that empower homeless women, please contact Amanda Griesser at (202) 678-2341 ext. 223 or agriesser@calvaryservices.org.

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