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Lindsey House 2015-04-15T14:31:39Z http://lindseyhouse.org/feed/atom/ Tiffany Egdorf <![CDATA[Come In From the Cold]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=2168 2014-02-04T18:11:58Z 2014-02-04T18:11:58Z Burr….., it is cold outside.  According to my favorite weather forecaster, it is going to be 6 degrees when I roll out of my warm bed tomorrow morning.  “Cold and breezy with highs near 20 and wind chill values near … see more

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Too cold to call home.

Too cold to call home.

Burr….., it is cold outside. 

According to my favorite weather forecaster, it is going to be 6 degrees when I roll out of my warm bed tomorrow morning.  “Cold and breezy with highs near 20 and wind chill values near zero.”  Thank goodness for a warm place to call home.  I count my blessings daily.

Could you imagine calling a bridge along the river home?  There is no warm bed to roll out of; instead, you shake off the snow from the thin blanket that barely covers your body.  Don’t forget to pack your belongings up in your back pack because you know if leave them, they will not be there tonight. The focus of life is survival and on days like today, the elements can be your greatest enemy.

Again, I count my blessings daily that this is not my story but it is the story of many men, women, and children in our own community.  In fact, last week I was shocked to learn that one of our Lindsey House mothers had spent many nights by the river, under a bridge.  She was separated from her daughter and deep in her addiction.  So deep, that she spent days working for a dealer doing home improvements in exchange for drugs and a little bit of cash.  At the end of her workday, drugs in hand, she would stop to purchase oil to light her lamp through the night.  This was necessary to scare away the possums.  She was so afraid of the possums that she would place the lamp close enough to her head that she would awake with a burn on her face. 

This mother has come so far since then.  With the support of Women in Recovery she has more than two years of sobriety.  Just over a year ago, she moved into Lindsey House with her daughter.  Their first night at Lindsey House was the first night in a long time that they slept under the same roof.  It doesn’t surprise me that they fell asleep in each other’s arms. 

The story of this family is inspiring.  Mom works full-time and daughter is learning what it is like to be a teenager.  Thanks to Lindsey House, they will be rolling out of a warm bed tomorrow morning.  Lindsey House provides families a place to come in from the cold. 

 

 

 

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Tiffany Egdorf <![CDATA[The Times Are A Changing]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=2079 2013-03-05T22:25:56Z 2013-02-26T22:25:00Z It’s Tuesday afternoon and Tulsa has escaped another “snowmageddon” that dumped a foot or more of snow in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.  As I savour a wonderful latte at one of Tulsa’s new hot spots, I see no … see more

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The art of coffee by     Hodges Bend.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and Tulsa has escaped another “snowmageddon” that dumped a foot or more of snow in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.  As I savour a wonderful latte at one of Tulsa’s new hot spots, I see no remnants of the little bit of snow I brushed off the window of my car this morning.  Instead, I look west down third street and notice nothing but revival.  Cafes, coffee houses, restaurants, and businesses populate an area between Elgin and Lansing that once sat desolate.  The times are a changing across our community and it is being driven by businesses large and small that are committed to downtown and nearby districts galore from Brady, to Blue Dome, to Pearl. 

The times are a changing for the families who call Lindsey House home.  Sitting in the shadows of downtown, TLC’s first program is providing a place of hope and refuge to mothers caring for children that are experiencing situational homelessness.  Their revival is a personal one.  One day at a time, they are putting into practice, the life lessons that will enable them transition out of homelessness into self-sufficiency. 

At the core of our work is an understanding that what a person does is much more important than what they say.   James W. Frick said it best, “Don’t tell me where your priorities are.  Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”  Lindsey House ladies learn to show and tell when it comes to their finances.  Three of our agency goals relate to the financial health of our families.  First, we work with them, utilizing a monthly program fee, to reduce or eliminate their housing related debt.  Housing related debt prevents families from moving into safe, affordable housing.  Second, by prioritizing the concept of “paying oneself first”, our families work to achieve the goal of saving $500-$1,000 for an emergency savings account.  In 2012, our ladies saved a total of $11,300.  Finally, we teach our mothers how to create and live off of a ‘cash basis’ budget.  Each week, during their Case Management meeting, the Lindsey Ladies they get to “show” Tiffany Kirkland exactly how they spent their money over the past week. This kind of accountability makes it possible to see an alignment between what a mother says is important and how she is living her life. 

The times are a changing.  The families of Lindsey House are getting stronger and learning the lessons they need to make it on their own.  TLC is a part of a new and improved downtown Tulsa.  We love being in the shadows of major corporations and just around the corner from small businesses that believe in community investment.  If you think of it, TLC believes in community investment as well.  We are doing it one family at a time.  If you are looking for an opportunity to be a part of Tulsa’s revitalization, join us at TLC’s Lindsey House. 

Karen K. Streeter, Executive Director
karen@lindseyhouse.org

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admin <![CDATA[It is the Little Things]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=1509 2013-02-25T16:40:52Z 2013-01-01T23:40:21Z What makes OU or OSU produce outstanding football teams each year? Why does the University of Kansas return to the “big dance” year after year? Is there magic in the plains? Although Sooner, Cowboy, and Jayhawk fans might argue that … see more

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What makes OU or OSU produce outstanding football teams each year? Why does the University of Kansas return to the “big dance” year after year? Is there magic in the plains?

Although Sooner, Cowboy, and Jayhawk fans might argue that there is magic in the plains, the reality is very simple. It is the basics! Practice after practice focuses on the little things that produce victories on the football field or the basketball court. Things like:

  • Catch the ball before you run
  • Block out your opponent
  • Watch the ball

UCLA coaching legend John Wooden left a legacy on the basketball court. He also left us many thoughts to live by. “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

Athletic teams, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals succeed in their fields because they pay attention to the details. Nothing is too small, and often times the greatest effort is expended on the little things.

Transitional Living Centers of Oklahoma (TLC) has developed programs designed to teach the women of Lindsey House to focus on the little things. Things like:

  • Keep your receipts and track your expenses
  • Create goals and action steps to meet them
  • Be on time and ready for meetings
  • Respect the advice and experiences of others

Big things happen when we pay attention to the little things. Overcoming the challenges of poverty is not a simple task, but it is the goal of the mothers that call Lindsey House home. Vital steps include learning to manage their income and expenses, creating and growing an emergency savings account, and being very deliberate about their actions. Staff and volunteer partners work with each mother to help her learn and practice the little things that will help her accomplish her goal of self-sufficiency. Trust me, there is nothing more rewarding than watching one of the Lindsey House mothers “hit it out of the park!”

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admin <![CDATA[Escaping Poverty]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=1506 2013-02-25T01:11:01Z 2012-12-01T23:39:51Z I spent some time at home last weekend with my family in Topeka, Kansas. I got into a spirited yet respectful discussion with my mother about a person’s ability to support themselves making $15.00/hr. Mom and I often agree but … see more

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I spent some time at home last weekend with my family in Topeka, Kansas. I got into a spirited yet respectful discussion with my mother about a person’s ability to support themselves making $15.00/hr. Mom and I often agree but in this case, we were on opposite sides of the debate. She was confident that earning only $15.00/hr was a roadblock to self-sufficiency. “There is just no way,” she stated, “that someone could support themself at this rate.” Although challenging, I know it is possible because I have witnessed mothers supporting their children earning $8.00 – $11.00/hr. In fact, the target population of TLC’s Lindsey House program is working poor families headed by women. 

The working poor are those people who work full time jobs and yet remain in poverty. They barely make enough money to cover the essentials, let alone the curve balls that life throws their way. In many cases, they earn too much to receive any type of assistance such as food stamps, subsidized housing, or other services. Yet their jobs do not offer health insurance coverage nor can they afford it. The working poor are in a very difficult position; however, they are committed to supporting their families through employment. They understand that work is a critical link to escaping poverty.

“Escaping poverty!” Does that seem like a rather dramatic picture to you? The word escape brings several movies to mind including Escape from Alcatraz and one of my favorites, PapillonPapillon is the true story of French convict Henri Charrière’s repeated attempts to escape the notorious French penal system after being wrongly convicted of murder. He must overcome obstacle after obstacle, and time after time little victories are replaced with big disappointments. After years of imprisonment, Henri is finally freed. He is broken, has lost years of his life, and does not trust that he will have a future.

Henri’s experiences are similar to those of the working poor. Obstacle after obstacle challenges the mere sanity of those striving daily to break the chains of poverty. It seems every time they get ahead, something happens that causes them to fall further behind. Their boss reduces their hours from 40 hours to 30 hours a week. The fuel pump in their car goes out. The babysitter decides to charge $50 more each week to watch the children. In the words of Mom, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another!”

Escaping poverty is not an easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, support, and an occasional break instead of bad luck. It can be done. Fortunately, TLC exists to provide mothers caring for children just the break they are looking for. We teach them the skills they need to slowly even the odds. We also provide the emotional support needed to stand strong against life’s curve balls. Like Henri, the women of Lindsey House must be able to see things differently. They must be able to envision life without poverty.

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admin <![CDATA[Hug Quota]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=1504 2013-02-25T01:09:18Z 2012-11-01T22:39:16Z It’s been a good day. My hug count is at two and climbing. Hug #1 was granted by 4-year-old Isaiah early this morning in the Lindsey House parking lot. His mom was trying to get him and his baby sister … see more

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It’s been a good day. My hug count is at two and climbing. Hug #1 was granted by 4-year-old Isaiah early this morning in the Lindsey House parking lot. His mom was trying to get him and his baby sister loaded into the car so she could take them to school before heading to work. Isaiah had another idea. As soon as he saw me get out of my car, he headed straight over with arms wide open. “Good morning Miss Karen!” I return his hug with my own greeting and a big hug for my little friend.

My day had barely begun and yet I had already been blessed by the gratitude of a Lindsey House family. I am showered with love and appreciation every day, if not from the families of Lindsey House, from the countless volunteers who fill the halls with joy. I get hugs from them as well!  Oscar Wilde’s thoughts about giving summarize my experience with TLC volunteers and the families of Lindsey House. “To give and not expect return, that is what lies at the heart of love.”

Recently seven Vacation Bible School kids and their teachers spent the morning cleaning Lindsey House and making “Happy Fourth of July” posters for each family. Another volunteer sorted donations. Two other volunteers hung sponsor plaques outside each apartment door. Each of these volunteers spent their time at Lindsey House trying to make it a special place for our families. They gave their love through the gift of time without any expectation or hesitation.

While I did my best to express my sincere appreciation to each of these special people, I wish they could feel Isaiah’s arms wrapped around their necks and hear his sweet, thankful voice.

Hug #2 came from 3-year-old Justus, but I’m not sure you would call what Justus did as just a hug. Instead, he crawled into my arms and wrapped himself around me. Justus gives hugs away as often as he can. His love for us is apparent. How do you put a value on a job benefit like hugs?

Have you reached your hug quota? Can we ever get enough hugs? Are you ready to share the greatest gift by volunteering at TLC’s Lindsey House? Come on down! Unlike Peanuts’ Lucy and her advice, we do not charge a cent for hugs! And watch out; you might just get a hug from Isaiah or Justus!

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admin <![CDATA[Seventy-Five Days That Changed My Life]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=1502 2013-02-25T01:07:04Z 2012-10-01T22:38:57Z When I headed to John Brown University as a college freshman, I never planned on working in social services. In fact, I had not planned to graduate from JBU. I would spend two years in Siloam Springs and finish most … see more

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When I headed to John Brown University as a college freshman, I never planned on working in social services. In fact, I had not planned to graduate from JBU. I would spend two years in Siloam Springs and finish most of the general education classes. Then I would transfer to the University of Kansas, finish my psychology degree, and return home to Topeka to work in my field. But then, many things came together to change my mind. First, I loved the classes, teachers, and attention I received as a JBU student. Second, I was provided an opportunity to spend the summer between my freshman and sophomore year in Kansas City serving as an intern at City Union Mission.

With the blessing of my parents, I headed to KC to work with the dedicated staff at the Mission’s family center. Many experiences opened my eyes, including interviewing and packing food for families seeking emergency help; preparing a room in the shelter for a new family; and visiting my camp kids in their bug-infested homes. However, nothing had a greater impact than going to sleep in the shelter. I shared breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the families and single women. Each evening after work and on the weekends, I played with the children. And I listened to children crying at night while their mothers rocked them to sleep. Their stories became real to me and something inside me began to change.

When I returned to JBU in the fall, I saw things differently. The abundance of food in the cafeteria reminded me of the hungry children sitting in the waiting room with their mothers. My private dorm room with its comfortable bed brought to mind the families sleeping in their cars awaiting an open room at the shelter. The choir at chapel reminded me of the mothers singing to their children. I was physically in Siloam Springs, Arkansas but my heart was still playing duck-duck-goose with kids at Camp CUMCITO.

From that point on, I spent every summer break working as an intern at City Union Mission. I am confident that I learned more valuable lessons there than I did in the classrooms at John Brown University. A month before my graduation I received a call that I never expected. The mission wanted me to take over as the Family Shelter Administrator at the same place I had spent seventy-five nights each summer during my college breaks. What of the plans to return to my hometown and begin my career using my psychology degree? It seemed that God had other plans. I said “yes,” and in less than two months, my career in homeless services began.

Almost thirty years later, I still recall the lessons I learned during my first 75 days at City Union Mission. Probably one of the most challenging lessons I learned was that helping others can hurt if you do not learn take care of yourself. I also learned that you could not fix anyone. You can only show them options and pray that they utilize those options to make different decisions. Since then I have I have learned that you are never too old to learn new lessons. Thank goodness for the opportunity to continue my growth and share my experiences with the staff, board and volunteers of Transitional Living Centers of Oklahoma.

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admin <![CDATA[The Homeless Child]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=1500 2013-02-25T01:01:50Z 2012-09-01T22:38:10Z The most shocking statistic I have ever read reports that the average age of a homeless person in the United States is nine years old. Not nineteen or twenty-nine. You read correctly the first time. Nine. Nine? Seriously? “In many … see more

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The most shocking statistic I have ever read reports that the average age of a homeless person in the United States is nine years old. Not nineteen or twenty-nine. You read correctly the first time. Nine.

Nine? Seriously? “In many ways, nine-year-olds are still young children; but they are becoming much more independent, and are developmentally mature enough to handle many responsibilities and situations with minimal adult intervention” (Katherine Lee, “Child Development: Your Nine-Year Old Child”). Nine-year-old children are on the brink of adolescence and rely upon their parents to understand the changes they can expect over the next few years. Their social circle is getting larger and many enjoy group activities with peers.  Most nine-year-old boys are 5’4” tall, while the average nine-year-old girl weighs 60 pounds.

Typically, nine-year-old children do not spend their time worrying about their mom’s inability to pay the rent, keep food in the house, or keep the family car running. Further, nine-year-olds do not normally get off the school bus and walk three blocks out of their way just to keep the other kids on the bus from knowing that they live at a homeless shelter. Most nine-year-olds have never curled up in the back seat of the family car with their younger sister while their mother stays awake all night to make sure no one harms her family.

For the first time in our history, including after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, more children than ever are falling asleep without a place to call home. According to a report created by The National Center on Family Homelessness (America’s Youngest Outcasts, December 2011), one out of every 45 children in the United States is homeless. That represents 1.6 million children. The majority of these children are under the age of nine.

Like the child who walked three blocks out of his way so the others wouldn’t know he was going home to a shelter, homeless children are invisible to most.  “Without a bed to call their own, these children have lost safety, privacy, and the comforts of home, as well as their friends, possessions, pets, reassuring routines and communities” (America’s Youngest Outcasts, December 2011).

I am not sure what is more disheartening: to be a nine-year-old homeless child or to be invisible. What I do know is that Transitional Living Centers of Oklahoma (TLC) is committed to providing a home and a future for homeless families. No child should ever have to long for a bed, food, or safety. Since opening our doors in February 2010, more than 65 children have called Lindsey House home. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the TLC Board of Directors, volunteers, and staff, these children have experienced the love and respect of a community that demands better than average for its children.

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admin <![CDATA[Welcome Home]]> http://lindseyhouse.org/?p=1424 2013-02-23T21:52:03Z 2012-08-01T20:10:36Z Don’t you love being welcomed home after a long day at work? One of the first things that I do when I arrive is to take my shoes off. There is nothing more satisfying. Our rituals, no matter what they … see more

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Don’t you love being welcomed home after a long day at work? One of the first things that I do when I arrive is to take my shoes off. There is nothing more satisfying. Our rituals, no matter what they are, signal the end of our hectic day. With the removal of my shoes comes a big sigh of relief. With a little luck, no emergency calls will change my plans. Home is our refuge from all of the challenges of life. It is a place of peace, family, love, comfort, and friends.

For many, home is a mirage. They dream and plan for its existence, but it is always just out of their reach. There is no place to call home. Today 130,000 families are just one paycheck away from losing their homes in Tulsa. Poor families headed by single mothers are especially vulnerable.

When there is no place to call home, where do families go? Where do children do their homework after school? Where do moms bath her children before tucking them into bed? When there is no place to call home, how can they maintain the rituals that define family? Home – it’s the place where families belong.

Transitional Living Centers of Oklahoma (TLC) believes that every family should have a place to call home. Lindsey House was created to ensure that mothers do not have to put their children to bed in the back of the family car. We recognize that homelessness is a community problem that requires a community solution. As a result, we partner with the Tulsa community to provide mothers with children a safe place to call home and a hope for the future.

When families enter Lindsey House, they are welcomed home. A child finds a teddy bear resting against the pillow on a freshly made bed. A mother finds food in the refrigerator and pantry that will enable her to make a healthy meal for her children. Families find the place where their rituals can be restored. Before long, the shoes have been removed. Welcome home.

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