11th Annual Valentine Brunch a huge success!

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On February 9th, over 400 friends and supporters of Project Place gathered for the 11th Annual Valentine Brunch at the InterContinental Hotel Boston, with former Channel 5 Meteorologist David Brown as the exciting Master of Ceremonies. The day began with a sensational and diverse silent auction that included a vacation package to Miami Beach, a Boston tavern tour, a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, a Dustin Pedroia signed baseball and much more. The Fund-A-Need, where supporters gave from their hearts to areas of need for Project Place clients, was preceded by a competitive live auction which included Celtic’s owner’s tickets, lunch for two with new Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh and tickets to Chicago and REO Speedwagon. Mayor Thomas Menino surprised guests by joining the festivities to reinforce his ongoing support of the organization, and brought with him a few live auction items to boost the fundraising efforts, including two tickets to this summer’s sold out Billy Joel concert at Fenway Park!

Project Place supporters enjoyed performances by The Next Band and Either/Orchestra, a world renowned ten-piece band from Cambridge. Lead singer Chris Cote sang to the big band sound, getting people up and dancing before the day ended. As always, the event proved to be a success and guests went home knowing they had fun for a good cause. Overall the brunch raised $165,000 to benefit Project Place and its programs- the most ever raised at this signature event.

Client Spotlight: Anthony Pizzi

Anthony Pizzi grew up on the South Shore with his mom and brothers. As the younger sibling, Tony tried to keep up with an older crowd which soon led to trouble. Anthony was forced to leave school by his senior year. After hitting a personal low, Tony decided to take the first brave step towards recovery by entering himself into a detox center in Bridgewater. After a few months in the system, he moved to the Reflections Court Alternative Program where he had his first of many breakthroughs; “I started learning how to actually listen to people.” That winter, Tony was introduced to Project Place. Going in to what he assumed was a temporary work agency, he was pleasantly surprised by the warmth and acceptance he received on day one. The instructors in Work Ready class broke everything down and opened Anthony up to a new world. “They showed me how to draft a resume and taught me how to speak to people. They rebuilt me; mind, body and spirit. I gained confidence, I started raising my hand in class, and I got more involved in my own recovery.” After working with Project Place, Tony gained the skills he needed to obtain a job and the tools he needed to rebuild relationships with his family and true friends.

Today, Anthony is two years sober and proudly sponsors other people in recovery. He continues to work with Project Place and other organizations by sharing his story, and has the full support of his family. Tony now has a full-time job and recently accepted a part-time counselor position at the Reflections CAP.

Happening At Project Place… Special Visits

During the fall and winter, we hosted some notable friends of Project Place! In September, Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino (right) was honored for “leading the way” in reducing long-term and family homelessness in the city. Over 80 colleagues in the field to end homelessness were present to honor Mr. Mayor. Mayor Menino briefly spoke, and told the crowd to “never give up the fight” for affordable housing and comprehensive support for our most vulnerable and voiceless neighbors. Thank you, Mayor Menino for your 20+ years of service and friendship!

In November, Governor Deval L. Patrick and his staffers visited Project Place to learn more about our transformative work and to meet our clients. Governor Patrick’s staff and Project Place clients participated in a mock job interview and in turn, staffers shared their paths to employment with the governor. All were treated to a lunch prepared by Governor Patrick and HomePlate (left), one of Project Place’s three Social Enterprises.

Jack Gantos (right), an accomplished author and our neighbor in the South End, spoke to Project Place clients and friends about his life and second chances. Using his great sense of humor, Jack spoke honestly about his experiences before and after serving time in jail during his youth. Jack Gantos’ works include Hole in My Life, a memoir about his prior incarceration that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors. He is a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Medal Winner, awarded for his children’s’ literature which includes the Rotten Ralph and Joey Pigza series.

Young Professionals Wanted!

Project Place Young Professionals (PPYP), formerly known as the Open Door Network, is looking for steering committee members to organize and execute our social fundraising events. We are open to all young, or young-at-heart, professionals willing to donate their time, energy and skills to support the mission of Project Place. Please email info@projectplace.org for more information and to apply. On Tuesday July 15 at 6:30pm, please join us for a night of fun and painting to support Project Place. The event takes place at The Paint Bar, 248 Newbury Street in Boston. To register, please visit the Events Calendar for July at thepaintbar.com or call 617-467-5777 If you are interested in PYPP, please find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Client of the Quarter: Kevin Canada

When Kevin connected with Project Place, he was chronically homeless and in a period of extended unemployment. As an honorably-discharged member of the United States Army, he worked with Project Place’s veterans’ services to find housing while participating in our Work Ready class. Upon graduation, Kevin applied his positive attitude and strong work ethic to each of Project Place’s three social enterprises, working first for Clean Corners….Bright Hopes, and then in HomePlate and Project Pepsi. The City of Boston took note of his dedication and hired him to a temporary and seasonal position, which translated into an offer for full-time, permanent work.

Within a year of graduating from Project Place, Kevin achieved his goal of securing an apartment. Kevin’s intentionality in his engagement with Project Place’s services and his tireless motivation to find permanent work left a strong impression on Project Place staff members and on his current employers. He is known to reach out to his peers to offer support and encouragement, both at Project Place and at his job at the City of Boston.

Boston’s 34th Annual Homeless Census

On the evening of December 16, 2013 several Project Place staff members braved single-digit temperatures to participate in the Boston Continuum of Care’s effort, coordinated by the Emergency Shelter Commission. They joined 350 other volunteers to count the number of homeless individuals on the street with unmet needs for housing, shelter, and other services. Team Project Place canvassed the South End and aided a few homeless individuals in accessing shelter for the night.

To read a summary of the census’ findings, visit Boston Public Health Commission’s website.

Our Place

Executive Director: Suzanne Kenney

Director of Development: Marcie Laden Director of Finance & Social Enterprise: Frank Woods

Newsletter Editors: Andrew Malloy Alexa Peyton Alissa Weintraub

(p) 617-542-3740 (f) 617-542-3860.

Your Place

We welcome readers’ questions and comments, and are grateful for your interest and support.

Letters may be submitted to:

Email: info@projectplace.org

Or: Newsletter Project Place 1145 Washington Street Boston, MA 02118

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