We have some amazing news!
Dear Trojan Shelter Family,
It is with deep excitement that we share this much-anticipated news with our community: we are finally ready to open our space this November! As I mentioned in our last newsletter, we were ready to start this Fall semester running. As it turns out, this race to opening will be more of a sprint, and we could not be more thrilled to start serving our classmates. We are deeply thankful for the abundant support these last 10 months as we have laid the foundation necessary to open Trojan Shelter.
With this new momentum, we were welcomed with open arms to present our work and mission at the 2019 USC Alumni Leadership Conference. Our Presidents, Abigail Leung and Esther Cha, made an impactful presentation and truly upheld our Trojan values in their ambition and leadership.
On top of that, Students 4 Students (S4S), the parent nonprofit that oversees our efforts, received a $50,000 donation from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Lancaster, California to help us open Trojan Shelter. We are humbled by their generous support and grateful that much of the funds will go towards renovations for our space, supplies and food for our residents. With this news, we feel even more confident about our ability to open strongly and provide quality support to our fellow classmates in Los Angeles.
S4S was recognized as an effective solution to solving student hunger and homelessness by the Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA2050 initiative, a campaign to make Los Angeles a more equitable community by 2050. The Goldhirsh Foundation is a major foundation in Los Angeles that supports social innovation and entrepreneurship. We are deeply honored to see our efforts being shared and recognized in the Los Angeles community.
Now that we are planning to open in November, we are looking towards our Trojan Family to support us on our journey. As we finish up the recruitment season, we were able to get 150 students to fill out our interest form and start a conversation about college homelessness to those who were unaware of the issue. We are in the process of interviewing potential volunteers who will join our returning team of nearly 40 students. This semester, we have planned trainings for our general meetings as well as a volunteer staff retreat. These sessions will help prepare us for responsibilities such as overnight duties, crisis response, cooking, community building and more.
We are also looking to you. As we start preparing our space for our future residents, we will be needing items such as furniture, kitchenware, toiletries, non-perishable foods, blankets, school supplies and anything else to make a house a home. If you are looking to donate in-kind donations, please fill out this form and one of our directors will contact you personally! If you would like to donate financially, please go to trojanshelter.org/donate to learn more.
With the opening of Trojan Shelter fast upon us, here are some things to keep in mind when advocating for our organization and mission:
We are no longer a “shelter”. Though we are still called “Trojan Shelter,” our space will be formally considered a student housing/dormitory for college students in the Los Angeles area. Some ways you can describe our space include: “college housing”, “student housing”, “dormitory”, “house”, and/or “home”.
We will now be hosting six college students in two rooms of three. We are at the forefront of finding solutions because Trojan Shelter is only one of two organizations that address college homelessness in our region. Also, college homelessness is such a newly visible issue that is beginning to emerge. Starting with six residents will allow us to perfect and refine our model so that when we can become more capable of serving our fellow classmates in Los Angeles, we can share what we've done with other organizations to scale our efforts.
Use mindful and inclusive language like “college students experiencing homelessness”. Often times, “homeless people” and “homeless students” are adopted in our everyday language. Though a change in vocabulary may seem insignificant, this simple change in language reinforces that homelessness is not attached to anyone’s identity and reflects the mindful and inclusive programs Trojan Shelter is developing in order to best serve our residents.
Lastly, I would like to introduce our newest E-Board member, Macey Ibalio, our Director of Finance and Fundraising. Macey Ibalio is a senior in the World Bachelor in Business Program. Through this program, she studies business administration at USC and at universities in Hong Kong and Italy. She is also minoring in Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism.
She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she first began serving individuals experiencing homelessness at a young age. Macey is passionate about economic empowerment and joined Trojan Shelter because she wants every college student to have the resources and opportunities they need in order to thrive in this crucial stage of life. We are excited to have Macey’s skills and passions on our team and know she will make a meaningful impact at USC and in her community.
Thank you all for your support. Just last night, E-Board had their weekly meeting. We always like to start by sharing our highs and lows of the week. We all came to the consensus that Trojan Shelter has had many highs this week. With our approaching opening day, the Alumni Leadership Conference, the donation for Our Savior’s Church, and so much more -- it is clear to us that our mission is very special. We are so excited to keep you updated with more good news to come, and we thank you for walking this far with us on our journey.
Matthew Lee, Director of Media.
For more information about Trojan Shelter, go to our new website: trojanshelter.org
To help support us financially, go to trojanshelter.org/donate. Make sure to specify that your tax-deductible donation will be going to Trojan Shelter!