UPIC Attends N Street Night at Nationals Park
By Jessica Lay
Sept. 28, 2018
UPICares volunteers had a blast at N Street Village’s Night at Nationals Park last week. Although our local team lost 2-4 against the New York Mets, the ‘friendraiser’ was a home-run for the women’s shelter that supports nearly 2,000 women a year.
UPIC employees that made in-kind donations to N St were entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to the game. We made sure to take into consideration their most needed items at the moment: travel sized toothpaste (supplies were recently exhausted) and deodorant.
N Street allocated great seats for the game and each ticket included a $10 concession credit and $5 donation to the Village.
To add to the excitement, the Washington Nationals honored local charities and organizations with Spirit Awards during the pre-game ceremonies. Before the first pitch, N Street employees were invited onto the ball field to accept a Spirit Award.
N Street’s mission was featured on the big screen twice, along with the logo that features a D.C. skyline.
N Street provides basic needs such as beds and warm meals for those in need. And daytime services include dental care, shelter, and wellness services, such as yoga, and much, much more. N Street’s mission is to empower homeless and low-income women in Washington D.C. to claim their highest quality of life. The Village serves about 208,000 meals and facilitates more than 5,000 showers per year.
Each woman comes to the village with her own unique set of circumstances. The Village works to meet those needs and empowers clients to overcome challenges, heal, and restore a sense of dignity and self-worth. N Street clients’ diverse challenges include:
- Disability, mental illness, addiction, 64%
- Self-reported HIV, 6%
- Lack of income, 50%
- Older population, 51% are over 50
- Discrimination, 81% percent are women of color.
“Every day at least one woman comes to N Street Village for the first time, and I know that – but for a few circumstances of fortune and timing – ‘she’ could be me.” -Schroeder Stribling, CEO of N St Village
UPICares also is partnering with N Street in a workforce development program that clients of the Village can participate in. The program will help clients develop communications skills and prepare to get back into the workforce.
N Street is gearing up for Fall with some notable events:
- Annual Shero Walk on Saturday, Oct. 20th
- 2018 Coat Drive– N St still needs over 100 coats to reach their goal, supplies are needed by Wednesday, Oct. 24th
Author Jessica Lay is UPIC’s Program Lead for UPICares, the organization’s philanthropic initiative. She spends half of her time assisting patients through UPIC’s contact center and recently completed a degree in Aging Services Management. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @UPICHealth.
UPIC Celebrates House Bill 83 With BRAWS at Friends of Guest House
UPICares and partner BRAWS, celebrated the passing of Virginia House Bill 83 last week, which requires the state to provide free feminine hygiene products to incarcerated women. The event honoring legislators and advocates who worked tirelessly to pass what we would call a “dignity act,” was held at Friends of Guest House in Alexandria, Va. (FOGH).
While the bill requires the state to provide the products for free in jails and prisons, the State Board of Corrections still could limit access to the products, according to a recent article on the topic. And another bill that would have eliminated the “pink taxes” on such products did not pass this session.
Shortly after a similar federal Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act was introduced by several U.S. Senators last year, the Federal Bureau of Prisons issued a memo making tampons and pads available free of charge to all incarcerated women in federal prison.
So, while the tides are turning, much more work needs to be done.
Imprisoned women’s have been instrumental in bringing the need for on-demand feminine products to the forefront of the legislative agenda. And balancing the political parties of the Virginia House in 2017 definitely helped as well. The bill was introduced by Del. Kaye Kory and supported by Northern Virginia representatives Del. Dana Roem, Del. Mark Keam, and Sen. Barbara Favola, among others.
Friends of Guest House
FOGH, which helps women transition out of prison and into society, has all sorts of real examples and data on the positive effects of treating women with dignity. The organization has helped more than 3,000 women re-enter the community since its founding in 1974.
FOGH reports that 70 percent of female offenders will re-enter the prison system if they do not have services such as those provided by the Guest House. And in fact, less than 10 percent of FOGH clients re-offend. As nearly 80 percent of the women in jail are mothers, the positive effects of FOGH services are compounded and pass through generations.
“By helping women, we have also impacted the lives of more than 4,000 children and countless families across our community,” says FOGH.
When viewing prison through the lens of reform, there should be no doubt that prisoners deserve safety, security, and basic human rights (such as pads and tampons). Providing these essentials will ensure incarcerated females can focus on what matters: healing and rehabilitation.
Thus, House Bill 83, signed by Governor Ralph Northam and effective as of July 1, is a huge step in paving the way for dignity, empathy, and healing for females in the Virginia prison system.
Author Jessica Lay is UPIC’s Program Lead for UPICares, the organization’s philanthropic initiative. She spends half of her time assisting patients through UPIC’s contact center and recently completed a degree in Aging Services Management. Follow us on Twitter @UPICHealth.
New BRAWS Partnership Aids Local Women Who Need It Most
As it was Women’s Health Month, May was a great time to launch UPIC’s partnership with an organization that collects sanitary products, bras, and underwear and delivers them to women and teens in need.
UPIC employees in Norfolk and Chantilly, Va. collected items for Virginia-based BRAWS (Brings Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters) and visited a local shelter to help distribute them.
When UPIC learned about BRAWS’ mission and that some women in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties were missing school, interviews, and other appointments because they did not have supplies, we knew immediately the organization aligns with our mission of Meaningful Engagement in Care and the support of women.
“Our employees were really thoughtful about the items they donated, understanding that functioning to our full potential as women requires confidence,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Juli Briskman. “It’s hard to feel confident when using products that are not comfortable or wearing undergarments that don’t fit correctly.”
Four UPIC volunteers met BRAWS organizers at the Loudoun Emergency Homeless Shelter on May 23 to find everything pre-organized into size bins. And bags had been compiled for women that had already signed up for the event and given their sizes.
Unfortunately for us, many of the women were working. But we were glad to hear they were at work and would be able to pick up their “orders” when they got back to the shelter. The women we did meet were very thankful for the items, tried some on, and left with several bags of goodies.
Many of the female residents and their families have been recently displaced by the housing crisis. And Loudoun County, which has the highest U.S. median income, has seen a surge in homelessness for singles and families, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
During Hard Times, Feminine Care Drops in Priority
Basic necessities such as a well-fitting bra or sanitary products are not easy to come by for much of the population. Poverty rates are higher for U.S. women than men. And over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty, are women, according to the Center for American Progress. In combination with the prevailing wage gap and Pink Taxes, undergarments and feminine products can quickly drop to the bottom of any priority list.
BRAWS has stepped in to fill this gap, working alongside shelters, such as New Hope Housing, Thrive DC, and Doorways for Women and Families (among many others). BRAWS operates several drop-off sites and has a pickup service by appointment. To learn more, visit the website.
Author Jessica Lay is UPIC’s Program Lead for UPICares, the organization’s philanthropic initiative. She spends half of her time assisting patients through UPIC’s contact center and recently completed a degree in Aging Services Management. Follow us @UPICHealth.