Volunteer Spotlight: AWARE

March 25, 2021

Four AWARE volunteers with gift bagsAWARE (Assisting Women through Action, Resources and Education) members were excited to partner again with our Homeward Upper West Side location.

The group was inspired by the diverse, mixed- age community of formerly homeless young family and older adult residents we serve.

AWARE is a grassroots organization focused on promoting awareness and generating funds to make meaningful improvements in the lives of women and girls.

They typically partner with one nonprofit for the entire year for fundraisers and volunteer events. This year, they reached out to past partners to provide extra support during the pandemic.

“In our past partnership, we met many of the residents and witnessed the transformation Homeward NYC provides in giving them a home and a community to thrive and prosper,” says Ellen Friedman. “It was a place of warmth and true hands-on support that addressed the individuals and the collective. It truly reflects the values of AWARE.”

Ellen, Lauren Laquerre and Brenda Smith coordinated two recent projects. The first AWARE project fulfilled Christmas wish lists for the young families. The holiday gifts included electronics, clothes, toys, gift cards and baby supplies.

The second project was creating beautiful and festive Valentine’s Day gift bags for all of our residents.

The bags were filled with a welcome mix of practical and luxurious items plus some candy treats. Each bag included a homemade card made by members of AWARE and their children, including AWARE Connecticut’s Staples High School group, led by Erica Davis, and the Schessel, Barborosa, Rosner and Justus families.

AWARE members and their extended circles donated generously to make these projects a reality, and were thrilled to receive a thank you email from one of our seniors after she opened her Valentine’s bag.

“Working with AWARE to put together the Valentine’s Day gift bags was such a wonderful opportunity to spread a little love and light during these difficult times,” says Lauren Laquerre. “My heart was so full looking at these bags, hoping that they would brighten someone’s day and serve as a reminder that they are loved.”

Thank you, AWARE!