Hard Goodbyes 2020 – Final Edition

Mary and Anneke at the HEH Hall of Fame happy hour in February. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

After more than 10 years of working with students, our project must say goodbye to our final team of project assistants, Anneke Karreman and Mary Lacey. Mary graduated from Seattle University in March 2020 and continued with us as a temporary employee; Anneke, who started working with us two years ago as a rising junior, graduated in June and has been freelancing. We never want to say goodbye to our students; knowing this is the last team is bittersweet, but what a tremendous year of accomplishments it’s been. This, in spite of our team working together from a very long distance as of March. In their words, we share their favorite work on behalf of our partners, and reflect on what they learned.

 

We always ask our student assistants to reflect on what made them proud. Not surprisingly, both Anneke and Mary chose the same activity as their proudest accomplishment as a team member.

What is your proudest accomplishment (personally)? How about as a team member?

Mary: As a team member, my proudest moment was Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) 2020, hosted by Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and our Housing Postcard Mosaic. It was rewarding to see our effort to represent Seattle University and ourselves at the state capitol to directly impact legislation. We were able to create a mosaic postcard project to visualize ending homelessness by building affordable housing. We illustrated individual efforts coming together as one to solve homelessness. Through our project, we were able to bring the voices of the Seattle University community to legislators and gather voices at HHAD to impact housing policies within our state. Anneke and I further describe our experience in a blog post that goes into depth about HHAD 2020.

A closer look at some of the postcard designs from the mosaic. From afar, the postcards resemble different apartment buildings.

Anneke: As a Project Assistant, my proudest accomplishment this year was the Postcard Mosaic we brought to the Capitol for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) in early February. Working for the Project for almost two years now, I am privileged to have gone to two HHAD rallies and have created two installations. What made this one special, besides attending with my wonderful co-workers and vocal supporters, was the feeling of community and unity that the display created. Not only did we gain support from Seattle University, we also set up a table beside the display in Olympia so that people at the rally could voice their support in written form. Some of the lawmakers did not show up to meet with HHAD attendees during their scheduled times; I like to think that by providing an option of written support, the HHAD advocates who wrote and signed postcards were able to have a lasting impact on representatives’ perspectives of the needs of people experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

Here are a couple pictures of the HHAD Mosaic and action in Olympia!

Mary and Anneke proudly present the display in Olympia.
A view of the exhibit from the steps of the Legislative Building, HHAD 2020.
A sea of red scarves on the steps of the Legislative Building in Olympia, HHAD 2020.

Shifting to a different state…When campus closed in mid-March due to the pandemic, Mary — who had just graduated days before — flew home to Wisconsin. There she pondered whether to vote in person for the April primary.

Mary: The proudest moment I felt personally was writing about my experience voting in Wisconsin during the pandemic. At first, I was nervous to write about my experience, but to see the positive messages from my family and friends was assuring that my story came across well. I felt that I brought a unique perspective to the project by sharing my experience in Wisconsin and my family’s influence on my passion for civic engagement.

A voter with a homemade sign waiting in line outside Washington High School, one of Milwaukee’s five polling places open on Election Day. Photo: Patricia McKnight, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What did you most enjoy working on, if different from above?

Mary: I really enjoyed working on the 2019 Seattle City Council Housing and Homelessness Voters Guide alongside Tech 4 Housing and Resolution to End Homelessness. I got the opportunity to reach out to candidates from each of the seven districts to learn about their proposed solutions to addressing homelessness. Additionally, I became more interested in local politics and the role of city council in passing legislation and allocating resources that affect housing issues in our city. Although I do not vote in King County, because of my involvement in this project I became a better-informed Seattle resident by learning about city council candidates and elections.

Housing Voter Forum in July 2019, moderated by Michael Hobbes. Speakers: Lauren McGowan, Dr. Richard Waters, Colleen Echohawk, Lisa Daugaard.

What skills have you developed/enhanced?

Mary: One of the greatest skills I enhanced at the project was my communication skills. Being able to work with Catherine and other communications professionals increased my writing, social media, and oral presentation skills. Another skill I improved was my creativity in event planning and outreach efforts while working on the project. I learned how to effectively engage an audience in advocacy work which will help me in future career positions in public service.

Mary and Anneke set up a campus board promoting the October Housing Voter Forum.

Anneke: What I feel like I most developed this year was confidence in my work and in my decision-making. I am often the person to be most critical of my work. With the support my peers, colleagues, and partner organizations we’ve worked with, I’ve started to open up to the compliments and take them to heart (without reminiscing about what I should change after a project is over!). I also think my communications skills have improved over the last year by working with our partner organizations and creating specific pieces for them.

Anneke’s poster design for the HEH Hall of Fame in February, which honored SU community members working to solve homelessness.

What have you learned about family homelessness? How have your views changed?

Mary: Although I learned a lot about family homelessness as a project assistant, I continue to learn about the causes, effects, and struggles of those experiencing homelessness. One of the most important aspects of housing and homelessness is the relation to racial justice. While learning about disproportional data among King County residents and Washington students, I learned that Black and Native people experience higher rates of homelessness and housing insecurity. Additionally, understanding the racist policies and practices within the housing and homelessness sector helped me unlearn notions I had about the non-profit sector, American history, and our government’s role in creating and perpetuating institutional racism. As a project assistant, I understood the importance of having culturally appropriate services beyond building affordable housing to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness. I realized the importance of having those with lived experience at the head of the solutions to ensure effectiveness and accessibility to essential services and resources. [Mary wrote about unlearning the narrative about racism in housing here.]

Anneke: In light of the racial and systemic inequities and injustice exposed by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black lives cut too short, I am inspired to expand my awareness about homelessness and housing insecurity through many lenses. These include different lived experiences including (but not limited to) race, class, mental health, physical health, accessibility of education, employment, and location. Unfortunately, a combination of these differences can make a person more vulnerable to homelessness. I want to carry this intensified awareness with me so I can be supportive for people in different situations.

One of the infographics Anneke created for our partner Schoolhouse Washington focuses on the racial disparities among students experiencing homelessness.

How would you measure our impact among your family/friends, campus and the community?

Mary: Over the past ten years, the project has been creating helpful content that educates people on campus and among the greater Seattle community about homeless and housing insecurity. The project is able to educate those who may have not been involved with homelessness previously and facilitates an environment to help others be effective advocates for change. My casual conversations about Seattle’s expensive housing market led to important conversations with friends and family about issues within our housing system. Identifying racist policies, practices, and legislation led to discussions about housing and homelessness advocacy. This led to close friends and family taking action on an individual level to do their part, whether it’s saying hello to a person living on the street, building tiny homes through Facing Homelessness’ Block Project, or voting for a candidate who supports the Housing First model.

The popular sticker of Facing Homelessness.

Anneke: The Project definitely has had a profound impact on my family and close friends who are often a part of intense conversations on the topic of homelessness and housing insecurity. The knowledge and awareness I have gained during my time as a project assistant will stick with me as a voting citizen and wherever life takes me. I believe that our presence on the SU campus and within the Seattle community has had a positive impact on community engagement with opportunities for people to voice their support of affordable housing and people experiencing homelessness, as well as educate and congregate people around issues like the ones mentioned above.

Anneke with her dad, Frank, in Olympia. Frank, an architect, helped Anneke design and build the frame, and came to HHAD both 2019 and 2020 to help us set it up. Thank you Frank!

The project benefited from the fact that Anneke and Mary were already friends before working on this project.

How did your friendship affect what you were able to accomplish as a team?

Mary: Overall, I think our friendship improved our work at the project. We were able to have extensive conversations outside of work about how we can improve the work we do that led us to be able to problem-solve more effectively. We felt very comfortable sharing our thoughts with each other, including constructive criticism when necessary. Overall, I think working together improved our friendship, and I have a deeper appreciation for Anneke as I got to know her as a co-worker.

“Working Apart, Together” – An image Anneke created for use by our partners, and an apt description of our final six months together.

Anneke: At first, I was slightly worried that our friendship may have a negative impact on our productivity as Project Assistants, but that was proven wrong pretty quickly! Already having an understanding of each other and ability to talk openly about tough topics improved our productivity and we were able to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time! Even though some of our projects were no longer feasible given COVID-19 status [such as their plans for an Affordable Housing Week event on campus in May], I am super proud of what we did as a team and had fun along the way.

What are your goals and next steps professionally? How will you incorporate what you learned on our project into your career?

Mary: Working on the project opened up my understanding of intersectionality and the role housing has on many social issues that I am interested in, including urban planning, transportation, civic engagement, sustainability, youth incarceration, and so many more! Although I am unsure what the next steps are in my career, I will take a critical lens to our systems and institutions to improve the communities we live in.

Photo of light rail by SounderBruce/WikipediaCommons

Mary also used her interest in transportation to work with Anneke on a 15-second promotional video for Stand Down Seattle, displayed in Metro transit centers where bus drivers could see them.

Anneke: Below is a picture of my, Zephyr — how relaxed I wish to be!

Role model Zephyr. A good dog.

I would ideally apply to jobs that are at the intersection of my interests – art & design, social justice, racial equity, climate justice, and/or sustainability. As you can see I have a lot of interests so I feel like there should be something out there! (Fingers crossed). What I have learned during my experience at the Project is highly valuable as I have worked in a nonprofit, collaborated with partner organizations, engaged the community, and worked on a highly collaborative team. I will also take my expanded perspective from learning about homelessness and vulnerable communities to make sure they are equally represented and considered in my work.

Any final thoughts?

Mary: I am very grateful for this opportunity to work with an amazing team who has positively impacted my experience at Seattle University. Thank you to Catherine, Anneke, IPS faculty and staff, friends, and family for the constant support and encouragement that you had for our work and my personal development as a project assistant. I will carry the lessons and knowledge I gained from this experience into my personal and professional life to advocate for housing security for all people.

At the HEH Hall of Fame in February: Our IPS colleague Lindsay Ohab; Anneke; Mary: SU Social Work adjunct professor David Moser. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

Anneke: I will definitely miss everyone who I interacted with within the Institute of Public Service. It was such a pleasure and inspiration to be surrounded with people who truly care about the welfare of others and the environment we live in. This passion has become a part of me. Of course I will also miss our tiny but mighty Project team! The wealth of knowledge I have gained from you and experiences I have been privileged to be a part of will stay with me forever! THANK YOU!!!

The team at HHAD 2020 along with Professor Zach Wood, our colleague from SU’s Institute of Public Service, who joined us for the day.

 

Coda: After they wrote this post, Anneke and Mary finished two more projects:

The cover page from Anneke and Mary’s three-part COVID Kit for young people.
  1. A “COVID Kit” Instagram series for young people, produced mid-August to support Public Health – Seattle and King County.
  2. A slide show on our project’s history, highlighting some of our favorite projects and remembering some of our best collaborations. 

Thank you Anneke and Mary! Your contributions to our partners will last long after our project has ended.

HEH Hall of Fame – A Photo Essay

By Anneke Karreman, Digital Design Assistant, and Mary Lacey, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness

Note: Anneke and Mary put together this photo essay featuring some of our favorite memories of the HEH Hall of Fame event. For more, including the video and list of Hall of Fame honorees, see the event page. All photos are by Steve Schimmelman.

Thanks to all who came out Saturday, Feb. 22 for the first Higher Ed on Homelessness (HEH) Hall of Fame event!

 

HEH HOF Buttons

The Hall of Fame honored many of the SU students, staff, faculty, and alumni who work to solve homelessness, at the Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame Game against CSU-Bakersfield. We gave Hall of Famers honorary buttons (above), designed by Anneke, to acknowledge their efforts to fight homelessness, and invited them on court for recognition from the SU community at halftime.

HEH HOF Southpaw Outside

The night started off at Southpaw Pizza across from the SU campus, where Hall of Famers attended a happy hour event, to eat, drink, mingle and reminisce on their SU memories. We consumed delicious pizza and salad over fruitful conversation. Thank you, Southpaw, for kicking off the night with a great start!

Photo Southpaw Barry Lee Catherine
We were delighted to welcome guests like our project founder and original director Barry Mitzman and Journalism Fellow Lee Hochberg. L-R: Diane McDade; Barry; Lee’s guest, Nancy Strohm; Lee; and project director Catherine Hinrichsen.

Photo Lisa Danielle Stephanie
Our friend and “sister project” leader Lisa Gustaveson (SU MNPL), of the Faith & Family Homelessness Project (2011-2016), with Danielle Winslow (SU ’12) and our colleague Stephanie Velasco.

Photo Amy Catherine
The amazing alumni of our project included Amy Phung (SU ’15), here with Catherine.

Photo William Kollin McKenna Catherine Katya
Another alumna of our project, McKenna Haley (SU ’14), center, met up with our project’s senior program officer Kollin Min and his family, William (far left) and Katja Shaye (far right), next to Catherine. Kollin, who leads the Family Homelessness Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has funded all three of the family homelessness projects at SU; we are so grateful for his partnership the past 10+ years.

Photo Southpaw Armen

Our co-emcee, Armen Papyan (right), grabbed some pizza before heading to the Redhawk Center for the big event. Armen works in SU’s Albers School and is a grad student in the MPA program.

 

 

Photo Dean Powers Barry
Our Arts & Sciences Dean David Powers and Barry, showing some SU spirit.

 

Happy hour crowd shot

Honorees met each other to discuss their work on homelessness at their different organizations and make connections to collaborate in the future. Some of the many organizations represented included All Home, DESC, United Way King County, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Wellspring Family Services and YouthCare.

HEH HOF Food Donations

We asked attendees to bring a non-perishable food item for the SU Food Pantry, located in the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), which provides free food to the SU community along with other helpful resources. Donations support OMA’s Food Security Initiative that fights food insecurity on campus. We collected a tub full of food; thank you everyone who donated!

Click here for more information on OMA’s Food Security Initiative.

 

Photo Sally Zach Dean Powers

Prof. Zach Wood (center) of our department, the Institute of Public Service, gets an assist from Dean Powers as he checks in honoree Sally Hogan, budget manager for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Photo Paul David W Jennifer Catherine
David Wertheimer (right) was a funder of several projects on family homelessness at SU, including ours, during his time at the Gates Foundation; he now serves as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Theology & Ministry. His husband, Paul Beaudet, left, is an SU MNPL grad. Next to Paul is Catherine’s friend, Jennifer Fisch, a longtime supporter of our project (her son Jacques was one of the kids who came to our “Danny, King of the Basement” premiere).

With all this great company, the time flew by and soon it was time to head over to the Redhawk Center to get set up for our Action Table.

Anneke Desiree Mary

Project Assistants Anneke and Mary, alongside Desiree from the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), hosted an information and action table at the game. Hundreds came by to get action tips, grab stickers, and make buttons. They could also check out some of our students’ work, like Anneke’s infographics on K-12 student homelessness for Schoolhouse Washington, which were on display to highlight our community’s efforts in addressing homelessness. Many thanks to Desiree for volunteering at our table that night and to CCE for supporting our event.

Mary with table guest

Mary talking to game attendees about student homelessness and SU efforts to combat housing insecurity. Check out our website to learn about ways to act today, tomorrow and this year!

 

 

Anneke’s parents, Frank and Jennifer Karreman, came by to support us (below). Frank has been a big contributor to our project, having designed the art installation we’ve displayed at Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day in Olympia the past two years.

 

Photo Anneke and parents

Photo Lindsay Anneke Mary David M
Here’s the mighty team that did a ton of work the day before the event: Lindsay Ohab, our IPS colleague; Anneke and Mary; and David Moser, adjunct faculty member in Social Work.  You are awesome!

Photo Katie Amy McKenna
Four “generations” of Project on Family Homelessness assistants in one photo: L-R Anneke; Katie Bradley (SU ’18); Amy; and McKenna.

The Game Begins!

The game started out with the Redhawks behind on the board, but we were lucky to see them surge back for an exciting first half and eventual victory!

Game Photo

The positive energy from the court carried over into the HEH Hall of Fame halftime event, emceed by the new President & CEO of United Way and SU alum Gordon McHenry Jr. Accompanying him was Armen Papyan, SU staff member in the Albers School, masters student in Public Administration and active housing advocate since his days as a student leader at UW-Tacoma.

Halftime Gordon Armen 1

Addressing the halftime crowd, Gordon and Armen underscored the importance of taking action on homelessness advocacy. Gordon emphasized that every person can make a difference and talked about the power of people working together; the Seattle U community has made an impact on solving homelessness in many ways. We are thankful to Armen, who shared some personal insights into his experience with homelessness and his constant fight for others. Safe and stable housing is a fundamental human right.

Halftime coming onto court
The HEH Fall of Fame honorees begin coming down onto the court.

We realize not everyone could be there for the event; but as Gordon said, hundreds, if not thousands of members of the Seattle U community have been working on solving homelessness and making a difference. Thank you to all who came out to symbolize our supportive community around people experiencing homelessness.

Honoress on court

The surprise was that all the people asked to come onto the court were “inducted” into the Hall of Fame, meaning that roughly 100 people are part of the inaugural group. As we gathered on the court, the monitor displayed a video montage of all of the Seattle U Hall of Fame honorees and their contributions to solving homelessness. You can find the video on the HEH Hall of Fame home page.

 

Post-game group photo
Post-event joy, L-R: Catherine; Lincoln Vander Veen; Matthew Dick (SU ’16 JD) and his family; Mary; Desiree; Dean Powers; and Armen.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and also to those who couldn’t make it to the event. We want you to know how appreciative we are of your work! All of our individual actions add up, no matter what size, to address homelessness in our community.

For more background on this evening, see the Event Page.

“Communication and Collaboration” — Happy Hellos and Hard Goodbyes, 2019 Edition

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness

Connor Anneke June 2019
Dynamic duo: Project assistants Connor (L) and Anneke, June 2019 at SU’s Tsutakawa Fountain.

Saying goodbye to our graduating student assistants each year is always tough. This year, we had only one goodbye — along with one “so glad you’re coming back!” and one hello. Belatedly, here is this year’s edition of our tribute to the fantastic Seattle University student assistants who serve our project, with a spotlight on our 2018-19 team — Connor Crinion (SU ’19) and rising senior Anneke Karreman — and a nod to our incoming student, Mary Lacey. Continue reading

“When You’re Proud of What You’ve Done” — Inside the Pongo Poetry Training

Our new partnership will help bring this training to schools across the state

By Katie Bradley, Project Assistant, with Madison Vucci, Digital Design Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

 

Pongo Katie and Madison at training
Madison (R) and me smiling by the Pongo Teen Writing sign, feeling fulfilled after a day full of learning, writing, and growing. 

 

A good day is when you’re proud of what you’ve done. A bad day is when you forget all of what you can do.”

I hadn’t written poetry since I was in fourth grade. But after attending the Pongo Poetry Training in October, I had a subtle sense of accomplishment about what I had shared, and a sense of pride that I’ve been trained in a process that can help so many people.

As I rode back to campus, I had three takeaways from the training repeating in my mind.

Everyone has a story. The world wants to hear your story. Poetry can be about anything. Continue reading

Happy Hellos and Hard Goodbyes, 2017 Edition — Part Two, the Hellos

Tess Madison Katie

 

A few weeks ago, we said goodbye to our wonderful project team from the 2016-17 school year. Now comes the “happy” part — welcoming a new team of Seattle U students. Say hello to three new project assistants, all with different backgrounds but a common desire to make a difference in the work to end family homelessness.

 

Tess Riski, Project Assistant

Tess Riski headshot

A rising senior double-majoring in Journalism and Teaching for the Humanities, Tess Riski joined us in mid-June 2017. After some orientation and training, she quickly jumped into our busy summer.

On her first official day in the office, she wrote about what she learned during #SeaHomeless, the day of concerted reporting on homelessness by 20 different local media organizations. She’s also helping us with our collaboration on a voter education project about Seattle’s mayoral election with housing and homelessness partners, including an online voters’ guide and the fall candidate forum.

Finally, she’ll be helping us prepare for the upcoming project with Pongo Teen Writing and Schoolhouse Washington, before doing a study abroad this fall.

You can read more about her here. Welcome, Tess!

 

Madison Vucci, Digital Design Project Assistant

Madison Vucci photo

Senior Madison Vucci is the fifth Digital Design student to serve on our team. When she joins us in mid-July, we’ll draw upon her design skills to help promote the voter education project and the Pongo project.

Madison says an early understanding of inequality in America is the root of what pushed her to make an impact on society with her art.

Digital Design Prof. Naomi Kasumi, who every year recommends the design student she feels is the best fit for our project, connected us to Madison. Prof. Kasumi first introduced us to Madison’s work by showing Catherine one of her class projects — a phenomenally creative and highly functional civil rights tool that maybe Madison can share more about sometime. Thank you, Prof. Kasumi, for yet again sending a great design student our way.

Check out Madison’s background here. Welcome, Madison!

 

Katie Bradley, Project Assistant

Katie Bradley2

This fall, Katie Bradley will join our team after a summer internship at Amazon. Katie is a senior double-majoring in Strategic Communications and Public Affairs, which means her education straddles both our previous home in Communications and our current home in the Institute of Public Service.

Katie also works as a resident assistant in one of the SU residence halls and serves as executive vice president of SU American Marketing Association. She learned about our project from her friend and fellow Strat Comm major, our just-graduated project assistant Shan Yonamine. (Thanks, Shan!)

When she’s officially on campus this fall, we’ll ask her to write her bio. Till then, we await her arrival with great anticipation. Welcome, Katie!

 

 

Flashback: Revisit some of our previous project teams:

We’ve had many more awesome students on our team — most recently, Haley, Krista, Paige and Emma — and apparently we didn’t do a tribute to all of them because they graduated at different times during the year. You can see some of their great work by entering their names in the search box below.