Happy Wednesday friends!
I’m so excited to post this update for all of my Love Gives Way clients. It’s been a joy partnering with you to show love on the women restoring their lives in the Restore NYC safe house. It’s so encouraging to see that together we can do something so wonderful because of your love. Even beyond capturing beautiful photographs, we are making a tangible difference in these women’s lives.
In the last several months (since my last post at their annual gala this Spring!), they have done a lot of restructuring of their programs. Several women that I had met and photographed have now graduated from the safe house. When I visited the women again last month, I was sad to see their smiles no longer there – but was deeply happy that they have moved on to a more independent life.
The safe house coordinators are now rotating, rather than permanently living at the house. It helps them have greater freedom and boundaries in their own lives and also be fully engaged with the women the hours that they are at the house. There are new coordinators and counselors on staff at Restore, who are so awesome and were so hospitable during my visit!
And there are tons of new afternoon programs for the women put on by artists and yoga instructors, counselors and professionals sharing important skills and talents with these women.
I was asked to visit and take photographs at the Safe House for a Mexican dinner being put on by 2 new safe house residents, for the women of the house and the board members of Restore. I LOVE Mexican food so I jumped out of my skin when I heard about this! And I didn’t even know until I got there how authentic the food would be. The tortilla dough was literally made by hand. The women used ingredients from a specifically Mexican grocery store. The meal was flawless and so beautifully done.
When the board members arrived, the meal was ready to eat! Everyone gathered around and introduced themselves, saying their names and one thing about them (such as a relative or pet they loved). One of the board members brought each of the women at the house a gift. Their faces lit up when they opened them – so sweet! Then, the meal started and everyone went in! The board members and ladies were able to chat throughout the night, which was so awesome to see. Then, as the activities slowed down a little, one member of the Restore staff brought out Jenga, and several of the ladies played, and a few of the guests did too! They really had a great game going – and oh my was that a blast to the past! It was wonderful seeing the women laughing and smiling and just having a great night.
It was such a blessing to be a part of the evening and be able to document the night! (And of course, eat that delicious food with the ladies!) Here is my photojournalistic capture of the beautiful meal and night we shared at the Safe House. Enjoy!!
Stella, a safe house coordinator, setting the table to get ready for the guests!
I could just smell this food as they prepared it – SO good…
Getting ready for all of the guests…
Introductions, led by another safe house coordinator.
The women loved their gifts! Candles!
Doesn’t it look delicious?! (It was.)
Some of the board members coming in to prepare their plates.
The guests engaging in conversation…and then, Jenga! Perfect way to finish the night!
Thank you to Stella, Amanda and the staff of Restore NYC for having me be a part of such a wonderful evening. I’m so grateful to know you ladies and to be a part of this story, ever-unfolding!
And a huge thank you to all of my Love Gives Way clients who, through your love, are helping these women in ways you may never even know!