Written by Kim Meyer-Webb
Inviting Arkansas http://www.invitingarkansas.com/featured/tie-one-on
Each holiday season, families gather at homes of loved ones to celebrate. For some, however, there’s no home. Our House provides resources to more than 1,200 homeless people annually to develop the skills, savings and confidence to climb out of homelessness permanently.
The organizational capacity, coupled with the expectations that Our House expects from their residents, is what attracted Jonathan Shively to join Our House Board of Directors. “When it comes to getting involved with philanthropy, it is important to do more than just give money – I wanted to give my business expertise to help a nonprofit that places value on efficiency, accountability and productivity.”
Valerie and Jonathan met at a Halloween party. She was dressed as Peter Pan, he was a racecar driver. He’s been trying to keep up with her busy volunteer schedule ever since. Valerie began her community service resume as a graduate student at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, where she volunteered for a variety of organizations. As an associate at Noble Strategies, Valerie continues to volunteer and holds a leadership role with Junior League of Little Rock. This is their first team effort to support Our House. They’ve renovated a home together, they’re settling into their first home as a married couple and they’re improving the lives of homeless Arkansans with the proceeds from this year’s Tie One On event.
“Our House is a working homeless shelter that provides housing, meals, job training, counseling and education to the residents, but what Jonathan and I feel like is their biggest service is their work to break the cycle of homelessness for the residents. It’s more than just a temporary place to stay, it changes lives,” Valerie explains.
As co-chairs of Tie One On, Valerie and Jonathan are doing a little bit of everything to ensure the event’s success – from soliciting sponsors to choosing the signature cocktail, the Shivelys focus on the Our House mission throughout the planning process. Proceeds from the event support the organization’s operating budget as well as the capital campaign to build a new children’s center. “Our House told us the No. 1 contributing factor to homelessness is being a homeless child, so this center will put resources to breaking the cycle of homelessness for children that live at Our House,” Valerie says.
Scheduled for Dec. 6, the highlight of the evening is the auction of aprons designed by local artists. Originally, Our House simply provided meals to the homeless community. This unique auction item came from the idea ~ “tie on your apron and get busy serving.”
Valerie grew up cooking with her mom in their South Arkansas home, “You have to wear an apron when you fry chicken with purple hull peas and gravy, or you’ll ruin your clothes.” Now her service, along with her husband’s support, provides Our House with visibility and funding for the shelter, meals, training, counseling and education it offers residents.
To join the Shivelys for a cocktail at Tie One On, visit www.ourhouseshelter.org/events for ticket information.
“Our House is lucky to have supporters like Valerie and Jonathan. They get our mission of helping people to help themselves, and they are actively taking part in building that starting block from which our residents can begin their journey out of homelessness.”
– Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director of Our House