Mikail Graham has been producing "Night of Giving," every December in the community of Nevada County for 12 years. Because of his friendship with Utah (Bruce) Phillips and Joanna Robinson, he knew about their project to open a homeless shelter. It was when a close musician friend stepped up to suggest doing a benefit for their cause that "Night of Giving" was born. 

"Night of Giving" is a Nevada County together-ness event. Mikhail describes it as a time for this special community to come together to celebrate, and raise some funds for those in need. He manages 2 stages, 30-40 different acts, and $20 admission/donation. No one is turned away.

Mikail has seen this event go from making $11,000 the first year in a bar in Nevada City, to last December, 2016 bringing in over $64,000 in one night. 

Mikhail mentioned his good friend, Utah Phillips' wise words in "What We Need," and why it pretty much says it all.  

Mikail is multi-media professional, and we are thrilled to have him handling t...

Stormy May grew up in a household where she had the support to do whatever she wanted to do. So Stormy decided to think big. She is very serious about creating world peace and ending world hunger. She clarifies, saying she believes she will see the end of resolving conflicts through physical violence. She states that the emotional violence will take a bit longer.

She is currently working on a documentary film, "The Path of the Human." This film is about the search for how to get to peace and ending poverty. Stormy talks of the connection between peace and hunger. She shares, if you don't know where your next meal is coming from, it can cause you to act outside your normal behaviors and stir up violence. Stormy poses, "We can go to Mars, but we can't get food to people who need it."

Because she had such a good foundation growing up, she always felt like it was important to do good in the world. She asked what she could do in her community. She heard about an idea, popular in Europe called...

Debbie McDonald has been involved with Hospitality House for the last 10+ years. She started as a volunteer when it was a nomadic shelter, and grew her relationship with the shelter so that now she serves as staff.

Susan and I worked with Debbie to set up a spa day for the women guests at Hospitality House, which included our Purses with Purpose. It was a special day for all of us. The appreciation the women expressed for "thinking" about them was so sincere and touching. One woman soaking her feet in a tub of epsom salts, who lives on her feet all day long for many days in a row, said "I have never done this. I had no idea it felt so good." Simple, and sweet. Debbie shared a couple of the letters the guests who participated in spa day on this segment. 

Debbie is an angel who feels a deep desire to help those less fortunate. We are so lucky to have her in Nevada County!

Listen HERE to a bit of Debbie's story.

While living in Sacramento, CA, Joyce Rasmussen reached out to help homeless families through a program called Family Promise. Joyce helped her church bring this program in Sacramento, and talks about when there were a few workers but no clients yet. It is now a thriving program and so needed in our world today.

The model of the program for the 10 years that Joyce was involved, included a day center and 13 churches providing a meal and shelter at night. The families would move every week to a different church, and have one backpack with all their worldly goods. Joyce talked about how appreciative the families were to have good food and a warm, dry and safe place to stay at night. 

She shared a story of a man who was unable to read so found it difficult to hold a job. Part of the Family Promise prescription for him was to teach him to read. Nice!

Joyce also remember how grateful people were that they were treated like someone cared, but didn't get pushed for too much information. 

Joyce rec...

It's in John Foster's DNA to be a servant to the community. His heart is huge! He started out wanting to be James Bond, secret agent. When he pursued that course, he was steered towards law enforcement and found he loved it.

He understands struggle from his own upbringing, and therefore knows not to judge someone on the surface. He talks of being in law enforcement as being kind of like social work. He has heard lots of stories, and has many stories in working with homeless people. He listens to homeless people, and has experienced some great rewards for doing so. He shares the story of how he ran into a formerly homeless person who changed his life because of what John told him. Listen to part1 to find out what he told him.

John has been in law enforcement in Nevada County for almost 18 years. He is now running for Sheriff in 2018, and from our perspective, it is hard to think of a better candidate. He is all about the people! He is a co-creator, and instituted a community policing stra...

When I first met Pastor Roland Meyer, my own perceptions of what people "should" look like showed up. He didn't look like I expected him to look. He looked too young to be a Pastor. Wow, I was surprised at my own judgments. Here he is with his beautiful wife. They have two adorable little boys too.

Pastor Roland has a beautiful way of expressing his passion for helping homeless people, without judgments. He refers to them as house-less people who could be any one of us. He offers his church for many special events, like lunch for Sierra Roots on Thursdays in the winter and opening his space to special meetings for homeless people. The church is also exploring having a clothes closet with clothing for homeless people and those in need.

Friday evenings he holds coffee gatherings where everyone is welcome. He has connected with many of the Nevada City homeless population and many now attend his church services.

Listen HERE to and excerpt from this inspiring man's story.

Heidi Hall became a District 1 Nevada County Supervisor in January, 2017. She immediately took on the issue of homelessness, and began bringing agencies together to identify the gaps in services for this vulnerable population. Her efforts have resulted in positive moves, and there is better communication among the agencies involved.

Finding solutions for homelessness is not an easy issue. One of the things that Heidi says is so difficult to see is when homeless people reject services from the county. It may be hard to understand, and may not even make sense to those of us housed, but many homeless people have deep trust issues and will even reject a helping hand sometimes.

Heidi shares a couple of personal stories where she was touched by a homeless man in Berkeley working at a restaurant. As a single mom with two grown boys, she can see how a serious medical condition or losing a job can tip the balance and have the dramatic impact of homelessness.  

She learned about community...

Suzanne Marriott had a very big role in the project "A Place to Call Home." She was the consultant and retired grant writer who helped us receive monies from both California Humanities and California Arts Council. We are so grateful to have gotten that financial start to make all of this possible. Thank you Suzanne!!

Suzanne is a writer and one of my neighbors at Wolf Creek Lodge, a co-housing community. We sat down to discuss her experience and feelings about homelessness.

She talked about when she was a hippie in the 60s, living in Berkeley, and experiencing homelessness as a cool adventure. She spent time in Berkeley, Reno, and Europe traveling without her own address, but says that was so different because it was a choice. She had relatives to live with, including her parents, and never felt desperate. 

"Our country is not doing its best," she says as she passionately talks about greed and the suffering economy. "We are not taking care of people," and she believes that we need more so...

Julie Lang, LMFT has served as a mental health therapist in the Grass Valley Community for 20 years. She has a local private practice and currently is the mental health therapist at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility. She counsels inmates and heads a Mindfulness Program. She has a Master’s degree in both Psychology and Counseling Psychology. 

Julie shared with us that there is significant mental health issues among homeless people, because the stress of survival increases depression and anxiety. Many also turn to substance abuse to ease the pain of homelessness. 

She tells some heartbreaking stories in these audio segments, and you begin to understand the real life situations that cause someone to lose their home. She says, "Anybody can become homeless." 

When asked how she helps these homeless people who have one thing after another happen to them, she says "the biggest thing I do is listen." She asks them to tell her their story, and she lets them know she cares and can relate to the pai...

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