Progress at Naomi's House

City crews have begun digging a trench at the back of the H.O.S.T. House property for the water line that will soon be installed for Naomi's House. This work marks the beginning of construction for the shelter for women. Construction work will begin soon, and must be completed by the end of May.

Imagine yourself on a train, chugging steadily along a familiar track. You know you’ll need to change trains at some point and that when you do, you’ll find yourself heading in a new direction. You don’t yet know what that direction will be, but you know that you have to get on that train, in order to get to wherever your next destination is.

And suddenly the train is at the station, and you’re hastily saying, ‘see you soon,’ to your traveling companions. You’re looking forward to connecting with them occasionally, as you all continue on your separate journeys.

And then you realize, as you’re stepping down onto the platform, that you’ll have to run flat-out to catch that other train – it’s moving pretty fast.

The last two weeks, since I accepted the offer from Cambridge Academies to run the Enterprise RESTART program at Naomi’s House, have felt like that.

It has been such a privilege to serve the community via the Irrigator for the past three years. I really hope I have been able to help shed some light on how government policies and processes work during my tenure, and sincerely hope there weren’t too many occasions when I accidentally got things wrong. For those, I apologize.

I am grateful for the relationships I’ve built with the people in my Irrigator orbit. There are a lot of professionals in our community who are dedicated to working for the common good, and I’m fortunate to have had a chance to work with and get to know some of them. I’m very thankful for those relationships, and look forward to seeing how they evolve as the work we’re doing at Naomi’s House takes shape and form.

I will miss working with my friends at the Irrigator to put out the paper each week. In the three years we’ve worked together, they’ve become like family. I am grateful to have learned something from each of them.

It’s very exciting to see a coworker get a chance to try something new professionally. I wish Erick Torres the best in his new adventure covering the everything-but-sports beat, and hope the community will join me in supporting him as he makes this transition.

As of Monday, my focus has been on Naomi’s House. There’s so much to do, and it’s both a real challenge and a true blessing to have a part in the effort from the beginning.

Almost invariably, the mention of Naomi’s House brings an offer of help, including donations of clothing and other items that might be useful to the ladies – including a ping pong table! This community support is a real blessing, for which we’re very grateful.

Thanks to that support, along with absolutely invaluable support from the City of Patterson, as well as the huge investment the County has contributed for getting the facility built and staff hired, we are just about in position to get off the ground.

Our a goal is to help a lot of women who need a safe place to stay and a hand in turning their lives around over the next year, and it will take the support of everyone in the community who’s in our court for us to accomplish that.

We still need another piece of the puzzle: Support from our corporate community.

We’re looking for sponsors for a few things like beds and bedding, along with materials and supplies to run the program itself – grist for the mill. We’ll be focusing on some of the lost arts – canning, brine pickling, yarn and fabric arts. We’ll soon spend a day canning jam, for example, and another making sauerkraut.

We’ll also be having a spa day, with haircuts and manicures. We’re looking for volunteers to provide these, and maybe even some makeup.

We’ll also be doing some community service, such as helping out at the Westside Food Pantry.

Of course we’re very excited about the beautiful new facility we’re about to get, but we’re not waiting for it to be built. We’re working now to help these women. And they have an example in Jennifer, who has gone through the program, a recent graduate who now has a full-time job and a home, and has reunited with her children.

Enterprise RESTART, which has already made a huge difference in reducing our population of homeless men, will be held twice a week, and we’ll be doing fun and interesting activities the other three days. We’ll be cooking on Fridays, and the activities the other two days will vary, depending on what the group’s interests are.

One of our ultimate goals is to start a business that will allow these women to work toward becoming self-supporting. With the commercial kitchen soon to be built at H.O.S.T. House, we’ll be able to explore some of the possibilities.

More to come on that, as things develop.

For now, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do, starting with finding out what support the ladies we’ll be working with can hope to receive from the members of our corporate community.

We are very grateful that so many members of the community are eager to help. We will soon be in a position to accept the donations that have been so generously offered.

Once the Naomi’s House facility is built and the dust begins to settle, we will also be able to assess what we might still need, and share that with the community, as well.

We are planning a Construction Kickoff event, the date of which will be announced soon. We hope the community will come out and show these ladies their support!

In the meantime, we’ll be doing some cool things, such as making newspaper pots and planting seeds for the garden we’re planning to build.

We’ll be posting the goings-on at Naomi’s House on our Facebook page, Naomi’s House – Patterson. Please follow us, and watch this newspaper for updates when there’s something special coming up!

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