I have volunteered with the YWCA of Seattle and Bellevue, WA on five separate occasions and met some amazing people while helping make a difference together with other community members. For example, Tami Gillman, the Director of Development at The Sophia Way, reached out to me about volunteering at their annual benefit dinner and auction on March 2. The Sophia Way is a Bellevue-based nonprofit agency that exists to assist women from homelessness to independence. The nonprofit provides women in its King County shelter with life skills training, social services, and supportive permanent housing that ideally leads to stable independent living.
I told Tami that I would love to help with the event and we exchanged contact information. When she found out that I worked at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) she was very excited and had nothing but great things to say about the company. I decided to apply for a WE Volunteer Grant and used the $150 to create two baskets for the silent auction held at the Hilton in Bellevue. Next, I recruited my colleague Diana (Deeds) Cansino to volunteer with me at the event.
At the auction, Deeds and I were given the task of selling raffle tickets. For example, a winner of one of the $50 raffle tickets received a nine night stay in a luxury hotel in Argentina and Chile with roundtrip airfare and one of the $10 raffle ticket winners won airfare and a four night hotel stay in either Santa Fe, New Mexico or Napa Valley, California. Deeds and I sold our stack of the raffle tickets quickly and raised at least $1,000 as a result.
The silent auction took place before the main event started; and yes, my baskets were sold and helped raise more money for The Sophia Way! After an authentic Italian meal was served to all of the guests, the event concluded with a live auction where a wide range of items were sold including a South African Safari, ski holiday getaway and a Seattle Sounders package.
In just one night, Deeds and I were both able to use 10 WE volunteer hours together and the total amount raised at benefit for The Sophia Way was $110,000. This was a very successful night for The Sophia Way. The money raised will help so many women in the King County develop skills needed to become financial stable, hopefully leading them to securing a home of their own. There remains a critical lack of affordable or subsidized housing; it is estimated that 245 additional housing units with supportive services for homeless women are needed in East King County.
I encourage everyone at WE to take advantage of our company’s WE Volunteer benefits including 16 volunteer hours annually and WE volunteer grants. The little things we do can have such an impact and can change people’s lives.
For more information about the Sophia Way check out their website here. And if you have questions about the organization or want to participate in the benefit next year feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to exploring other ways I can get involved with The Sophia Way on an ongoing basis.