12 | SUMMER 2011 St. Vincent de Paul Village Continued from page 11
Creating a better world (one stitch at a time)
BY KRIS ACQUARELLI M
y name is Kris and I am a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Village’s Ladies Guild.
Before retiring, I served as
director of mathematics for the San Diego Unifi ed School District. I am an avid crochet artist and at one point crocheted scarves for all of the folks in my department; I think I originally made about 35 pieces. One day,
after giving a tough times scarf to my
supervisor’s assistant, I received an email from her saying that she was going through some
and that, whenever
she put the scarf on, it felt like she was receiving a hug. Well, we all need hugs and it suddenly occurred to me that the women living at St. Vincent’s could also use the love and support of a symbolic hug. So I began crocheting whenever I could — at USD basketball games, on airplanes traveling to and from my consulting sites, and while watching television. I made a total of 75 scarves, each taking between two to three hours to complete. I can now fi nish a single scarf in about the time it takes to play a basketball game (my husband and I have season tickets at USD). Although crocheting the required number of scarves was a challenge, I thought it important to give something to women who are trying to better their lives in spite of their diffi culties. The scarves were given to the women last Christmas and I understand that they were a big hit. Hopefully I can resume production this year (but perhaps with a little help this time!).
Although I am not a Catholic, I have supported
Father Joe’s work for many years. I make a donation each month and, upon my retirement, joined the Ladies Guild. I also co-chair the Easter Shopping event and calendar the dates for Santa’s Workshop. There are plenty of ways to contribute at the Village and I am glad to have so many opportunities in which to lend a helping hand. ■
Joe did for me. The blessings are for everyone who comes here. How you use them are up to you. “Keep your eyes on the prize. It will pay off in the end. You will be provided resources and the tools to achieve your fi nancial goals… Whatever you are going through, whatever you are dealing with, talk to your case manager and your allies. Allies always have your best interest at heart.”
To underscore his convictions, Arthur made sure that those allies — his comrades in the trenches — received their due. “David [Stivale] is an example of what Father Joe’s creed is all about,” he wrote. “With all that is put on his plate and all that he is responsible for, David goes above and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of veterans. His is a very positive person. When others are focused on the problem, David is focused on the solution.
“Coming to St. Vincent’s was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Arthur asserted.
Elizabeth Pinner, a registered nurse who serves as the V.A.’s
VILLAGE VETERANS BY THE NUMBERS
Kris Acquarelli is a longtime supporter of Father Joe’s Villages. Should you wish to join her in crocheting or knitting scarves for homeless women this Christmas, please contact Volunteer Services Program Manager Laura Kojima at (619) 233-8500 ext. 1102 or email@example.com
• Father Joe’s Villages’ Village Veteran Program (VVP) has been active since 2003 and is contracted to serve 60 homeless veterans at a time. To date, the program has assisted 518 vets. Of those who have exited the program, 309 transitioned into permanent housing, 171 were employed, and 150 obtained disability income or a pension.
• 127 veterans currently reside at the Village, representing approximately 20 percent of our entire population.
• Each month, 12 veterans are admitted into the VVP from the Veterans Administration’s Homeless Outreach program.
YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS HELP save, inspire and change the lives of our neighbors.
Please visit www.neighbor.org
where you can designate your gift giving. It’s easy and good for the environment. Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.
• Forty-fi ve individual veterans and one veteran-led family were admitted to the Village after Stand Down 2010.
• Seventy-fi ve percent of veterans with identifi ed substance abuse issues remained drug-free while participating in the VVP.
• 218 Village vets reported suffering from mental illness. However, because this disability is a self-reported condition, the actual number may be higher.
• Homeless Outreach maintains a Village presence every Wednesday. The program attends to the needs of veterans living at the Village and on the surrounding streets. The Village is the only facility to provide local access to this Veterans Administration program.
• The Veterans Benefi ts Administration visits the Village every other Monday to help veterans apply for pension benefi ts.
• A veterans’ luncheon meeting is held every Thursday in the Joan Kroc Center. The gathering serves to support the Village’s vet community and to provide topical presentations. Village graduates are also welcome to attend.
liaison to homeless vets living at the Village, knows where Arthur and Carl are coming from. “The drill from our secretary [U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates] is that he wants our country to end veteran homelessness in fi ve years. The goal for us is to get these vets into immediate transitional housing and, later, into permanent housing. This enables us to address their more chronic needs through the continuum of services and care that we provide.” In military parlance, “standing down” is the state in which a soldier is told to lay down his weapon and stop fi ghting. Even though the veterans of St. Vincent de Paul Village have long since stood down from the killing fi elds, they continue to battle poverty, substance abuse, and social isolation. Thanks to Father Joe and the Veterans Team, our vets can once again feel the surge of accomplishment that comes from performing one’s duty well — especially when that duty is toward one’s self fi rst. ■
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