IHN Newsletter - Interfaith Hospitality Network

I have always
loved autumn.
As a kid, it
meant going
back to school,
meeting new
friends, reconnecting with old
pals, and starting new projects.
As a grown up, I
have never
shaken that
sense of excitement that accompanies the cooling temperatures and
the changing colors of the leaves. It feels
like back to school at IHNGC. The IHNGC
kids started back, of course, but it is more
than that. IHNGC is bustling with that fall,
new school year feel.
legged members. They are doing everything from donating pet food, to transporting guest pets to the vet, to providing new sources of funds to operate the
Georgine Getty is our class President
and graduating senior—with honors, of
course! Having filled the IHNGC halls
with laughter, passion and dedication to
see that all families not only have access to basic needs, but to a secondchance to dream and plan and contribute to their communities, has moved on
to do the same thing for other families.
We will miss her, but are better for her
years spent with us. We dedicate a double-page spread in the year book to her
and will tout her as one of our most famous alumnus.
Throughout this autumn and beyond, we
will continue to welcome new families,
volunteers, and supporters who will
each make their own unique mark on
the IHNGC experience, who will continue the IHNGC spirit of being there to
Lars Mundin, the new Shelter Services
keep families in need together and who
Assistant from the Brethren Volunteer Ser- will walk with them as they find housing
vice, traveled from Germany to join the
and graduate back into the lives they
IHNGC team. He is our campus freshman deserve.
taking on the challenge of a new job, new
country, and all the possibilities that come Go Team IHNGC!
with meeting new families every day.
The popular, after-school extra-curricular
is the PetSmart Promise project. New volunteers, interns and community partners
are signing up to assist IHNGC in helping
families stay together, even the four-
IHNGC makes a promise to keep
homeless families together, and that
promise just became complete.
October 9th, Vice Mayor David Mann
and Representative Denise Driehaus
helped us commemorate the grand
opening of our PetSmart Promise
facility located on the lower level of
our Walnut Hills Day Center.
With the generous support of
PetSmart and in partnership with National Family Promise, we installed a
kennel space that can house up to
four dogs and four cats at one time.
Pet owners in shelter, along with a
cadre of pet volunteers, will care for
these dear four-legged friends while
they are at IHNGC.
Other generous partners for this program include Pets In Need, who will
provide veterinary care at a reduced
cost, Dessie Cook of the Scratching
Post, who has provided materials and
time to the project, and Woodforest
National Bank, who has committed to
joining our pet advisory committee.
No family should ever have to choose
between losing a beloved pet and
finding a safe emergency shelter for
their children. With the creation of this
space, pets can continue to walk sideby-side with the families who love
them as they journey out of homelessness.
If you would like to become a pet volunteer, foster, or learn more about
this program, please contact Randy
Nickum at [email protected] or
(513) 471-1100 ext 10.
I was asked to write a goodbye to you
for this newsletter and I don’t know how
to even start. As many of you have
heard, I am leaving IHN after nearly 6
years to begin a new position as executive director of GLAD House – a local
nonprofit that provides mental health
counseling for the children of addicted
parents. I am excited to begin my new
work, but also sad to say farewell to the
IHN family that I love – the board, the
staff, the volunteers, and most importantly, the guests.
As I was cleaning off my computer for
the new director, I came across my remarks from our volunteer appreciation
event not so long ago. I meant them
when I said them, and my admiration for
IHN volunteers has only grown since
this time.
You are the one who gave a 15 year old
boy, with all of his terror and all of his
rage, the space and the privacy he
needed when the kids at school made
fun of him for wearing the same clothes
two days in a row. You kept him with his
family. To this day, he is with his
mother, in school, where he belongs.
And when he becomes a statistic, when
his mother cries out with tears running
down her face, “that’s my baby!” it will
because he is receiving his diploma.
You are the one who gave back a father's dignity by talking about the Bengals for a few minutes instead of the job
market. You talked to him, like men do,
when they are in the backyard at a
You are the one who warmed bellies
with the same chicken casserole recipe
that has been a hit for 20 years.
You are the one who went to work the
next day after an overnight with your
eyes sleepy and your heart full and told
me, “it's really not so bad, not so bad at
all.” And you were the one who went
back the next night and the next because
everyone else was on vacation.
You are the one who gave back a voice
and heard “Amazing Grace” like you've
never heard it sung before.
table for angels, disguised as strangers, and
you are the ones who aren't the least surprised when one shows up.
You are the one performing a mission, a
mitzvah, a ministry, a hasanat, across faith.
And lest you think you’re having too much
fun, rest assured that you are decent, and in
You are the ones who keep coming back.
And when I ask you why you do what you
You are the one who taught your children do, you always seem surprised because
the meaning of hospitality. You were the isn’t it obvious? That’s what Catholics do.
That’s what Muslims do. That’s what Mensame one who nearly burst with pride
nonites do. That’s what Presbyterians, and
when those same children made blanLutherans and Jews and Episcopalians and
kets, donated Girl Scout cookies, had a
UCCers and Baptists and Unitarians and
lemonade stand or dedicated their bar
mitzvah or bat mitzvah to homeless kids. Methodists do. That’s what children of God
We burst with pride right along with you. do.
You are the one who had your last nerve
stamped on, never saw a child so out of
control, locked yourself out of the building in your pajamas, got trapped in an
elevator, faced an angry Community
Council, forgot that stupid med bag and
had to call your volunteers because they
might have been exposed to a Center for
Disease Control nightmare. And you are
the one, I hope, who laugh about that
I’ve seen over 500 families come and go
through the doors of IHN and I’ve watched
them grow, begin to smile, and leave –
straight into a new future. Today, I am one
more leaving through these doors, but, like
our guests, I will never forget what you
taught me about hospitality. This lesson will
live forever in my bones, and in my hands,
and in my heart. And for that, I thank you
more than words ever could.
You are the one who reached across
class and race, dogma and history,
across despair and poverty. You
reached across divides so massive, so
frightening, so deep, that most people
choose to do nothing rather than face
them. You reached across homelessness and you grabbed the hand of a
stranger, with a grace that made it seem
You are the ones who hold a seat at the
Each year, with the help of many generous IHN supporters, we sponsor families who
have recently left shelter, who are currently in shelter and who are a part of our Permanent Supportive Housing Program. It's simple - we provide you with names and ages,
you purchase gift cards and wrapping paper (moms & dads purchase gifts for their kids).
Or, you could do it the traditional way, you provide unwrapped, new gifts and wrapping
paper (so that moms and dads can wrap gifts for their kids on their own). Drop everything off at IHN on December 5th or 6th (between 10am and 2pm) and presto! A family
has a happy happy holiday!
This is a great activity to do as a family or with a group (choir, book club, neighborhood,
etc.). Please contact Randy at [email protected] or 513-471-1100 ext 10 to sign
Please join us in welcoming our newest staff member, Lars Mundin. Lars
is spending the next year with us as
part of the Brethren Volunteer Service. Lars is 18 years old and from
Emmelshausen, which is near
Koblenz in the western part of Germany. His parents are Henning and
Nicole, and he has a brother Jan and
a sister Maren.
Lars’ role at IHN is Shelter Services
Assistant. This role encompasses
both child enrichment and helping
welcome and serve our families while
they are in shelter. He will be in
charge of developing activities for our
kids that are both fun and educational.
He works with several volunteers and
other agencies to provide activities
most days after school, and then larger projects for the summer months
next year.
This is not Lars’ first visit to the U.S.
He spent the summer of 2013 staying
with family friends on a farm outside
Denver. He chose IHN as his yearlong volunteer mission because, having had the good fortune of growing
up in a middle-class home, he wanted
to give back, and liked the idea of
helping underprivileged kids. He
chose Cincinnati because he wanted
to be in a city with a variety of experiences and things to do.
In his free time, Lars likes sports, including swimming, beach volleyball,
and soccer. When he finishes his year
of service at IHN, he plans to return to
Germany to attend university,
probably majoring in engineering.
Our programs are improved with a little help
from our friends. We are so humbled by the
support we continuously receive from everyone
that contributes to our wish list requests.
Right now, we could use your help with:
Toiletries: toothpaste/toothbrushes, body
wash, shampoo/conditioner, body lotion,
deodorant, combs/brushes, hair gel/
mousse, for kids and adults.
Old Blankets: to use for dog beds in our pet
Baby Supplies: diapers (size 4,5,6), wipes,
bottles, nipples, formula, and children’s
cold/fever medicine.
This December my term as
board president will come to a
close. It has been a marvelous
ride. I hope I have made a
positive impact for IHN’s future.
I would like to thank all of the
great staff at IHN for putting up
with my out-loud thinking, bopping into your offices unannounced and for explaining the
non-profit social work world lingo to me over
again when I did not grasp it the first time. You
are an amazing, professional bunch and IHN is
so fortunate to have each of you!
For the board, I thank you for digging deep and
helping support our new initiatives for a
stronger board and its development. I have especially enjoyed working so closely with Georgine and learning so much from her both personally and professionally. You certainly wear
the white hat!! I am in awe of you and it’s an
honor to call you my friend.
It truly is making a difference in changing the lives of the families who come
through its doors and shortly after into
their own.
I would be remiss if I did not make a
plea for financial support. It has been a
part of every board chair’s role! Please,
please consider a donation of $100 or
more. We just had a successful fundraising breakfast in October with UC
President Santa Ono as our guest
speaker. We educated new groups of
people about our mission and reacquainted longtime supporters to hear
what’s new at the Day Center. Join us
as we wrap up the year with your contribution!
There is no doubt our paths will cross in
the future. I look forward to it!
“No one is more cherished in this world
than someone who lightens the burden
of another.” ~Author Unknown
IHN will always be a big part of my volunteer
All the best,
world and I encourage you to make it a part of
yours. This agency is THE best in Cincinnati for
helping with family homelessness.
Linda Berger, President
Liz McOsker, Treasurer
Beth Gottfried, Secretary
David Annett
Michael Davis
Jerry Eddins, Jr
David Knoll
David Wade Peck
Helen Rhoad
Gloria Samuel
Jay Shatz
Beatrice Stringer
Helene Ohren, Chair
Larry Annett
Ann Blemker
Philip Breen, Jr.
Lee Bulger
Jane Caccamo
Lauren Chesley Cohen
Carole Donnelly
Toni Grate
Martha Highsmith
Penny Huber
Janice Lubin
Bob Moore
Sue Richmond
Chuck Schlegel
Ivan Tamarkin
Adath Israel
Anderson Hills UMC
Armstrong Chapel UMC
Church of the Redeemer
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Glendale
College Hill Presbyterian
Corinthian Baptist
First Unitarian
First United Church of Christ
Forest Chapel UMC
Friendship UMC
Hyde Park Community UMC
Indian Hill Church
Isaac M. Wise Temple
Knox Presbyterian
Milford First UMC
Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic
Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian
Sharonville UMC
St. Monica-St. George Catholic
St. Paul UMC
St. Timothy Episcopal
St. William Catholic
Walnut Hills Baptist
Westwood UMC
The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati provides shelter, meals, and assistance to
homeless families. The program mobilizes existing community resources: churches and synagogues for
overnight lodging, congregations for volunteers, social service agencies for screening and referrals, and
existing facilities for day programs. Each host congregation furnishes overnight lodging for one week every
two to three months, on a rotating schedule.
IHN of Greater Cincinnati
990 Nassau Street
Cincinnati, OH 45206
Phone: 513-471-1100
Fax: 513-471-0100
e-Mail: [email protected]
Stacey R. Hall, Interim Exec. Dir