You Are the Fuel

the Fuel of our Mission 

Our volunteers and supporters are the fuel for our mission. With your love and support, we have been able to help families and youth in need, but we are not done! If you are new to our mission or are looking for ways to give back to the community, look no further. Figuring out how to get involved can sometimes be the most challenging part. We’re here to make it a little easier. Walk with us as we explore a few of the ways you can help us Grow Stronger Together.

 

 

 

 

Treasure

Let’s find the giving plan that’s right for you. Without monetary support, our mission wouldn’t be possible. Below you can find a few of the options we recommend.

Monthly Gift: monthly recurring donations virtually or through check

Annual Gift: yearly recurring donations virtually or through check

Planned Giving: for more info about Planned Giving, see the graphic below

 

 

Time 

There’s nothing we love more than having our supporters get involved! Our volunteers allow us to increase our capacity and provide better care for our participants. Here are some ways to get started.

Homework Helpers: provide support for students to help them better understand and work towards their academic goals

Mentoring: a great way to provide stability and friendship for one of our youth

Transportation Support: helps our participants be transported safely and responsibly from one place to another

Hospitality Team: If you are looking for ways to volunteer with low exposure because of COVID-19, this is the opportunity for you. The hospitality team greets guests, answers questions, and helps direct them

 

Your gift makes a difference

The Matthews House would not be where it is without you. Everything you give directly betters the lives of our participants. We are grateful and appreciative of the ways you support our mission. Thank you for joining our journey as we strive to help as many people as possible!

‘Tis the Season

Bustling + Hustling

The holidays are always busy around The Matthews House, and this year was no different. Our families experienced greater needs than in years prior, and we fought to meet them right where they were. Thanks to many community partners, we provided numerous resources to our participants and made this holiday season special for their families!

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Spreading Joy

Realities for Children has always been an integral partner of ours. This December, Realities donated over forty bikes to our families. We know that this surprise brought big smiles to many faces!

Another spectacular resource was The Genesis Project Christmas Store! Our single mamas were able to shop and pick out gifts they wanted to give to their loved ones. This opportunity allowed our participants to be part of the process, take ownership, and feel empowered.

Additionally, five local Starbucks stores adopted a family and donated presents. The stores posted fliers allowing their customers to participate in the giving, as well! We know these families felt loved and appreciated.

Elevate Chiropractic hosted a Giving Tree for our families and youth, Laborjack decorated our Youth and Family Center, and so much more! These are just a few of the amazing businesses that helped our participants these past couple of months and assisted our mission.

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Grateful + Thankful

Thanks to everyone who helped make our participants feel special this season! Many things changed this year, but our collaborative and generous community did not! We are grateful for this community and thankful for how our staff and participants were able to deepen their relationships and grow. However you celebrated, we hope it was filled with love and joy.

Experiential Education Expansion

The only constant is change, and we’ll experience it together.

We’ve been saying this a lot lately to the youth in our Experiential Education (EE) groups, and our programming has exemplified it. Like most, we halted all in-person activities in March and scrambled to shift groups to an online format. During the summer, we had all groups meet outside in a community park with limited capacities. As the cooler weather moved in, we transitioned to even smaller groups inside and a hybrid schedule with in-person and virtual groups.

 

Looking ahead, we are excited to continue these changes by announcing a new music program called “Raise the Youth! Studios.” This unique and innovative program will provide instruction and equipment from learning an instrument to recording and beyond. Our mission is to make the youth voice be heard!

 

 

Music Lessons + Music Production Group 

Youth will begin with music lessons, learning a new instrument, or continuing with one they already have. We’ll provide transportation plus have instruments available for loan. Our instructors will work as trauma-informed mentors to develop trusting relationships and life skills alongside the music. We’re excited to offer guitar, bass, banjo, piano, ukulele, electronic beats, and singing/rapping!

 

Students will continue their progression with the Music Production group, which will provide a complete experience from concept to delivery. It’s a space for youth to discover their voice, collaborate, experiment, and have access to industry-standard equipment and instruction. Starting with songwriting, the group will explore emotions and experiences and how to articulate them. They will then learn how to compose and arrange music around those lyrics. Lastly, they will have the opportunity to record in a studio, perform live, and participate in other parts of the music business.

 

 

More than Music

Our regular EE programming will continue to provide opportunities for youth to have new experiences while developing skills for success. With a wide range of activities, including rock climbing, role-playing tabletop games, visual and performing arts, open gym, and much more, we continue to engage youth in weekly positive prosocial groups.

 

The Dream

We have a dream to offer any instrument of choice, plus be able to gift that instrument to the youth after graduating from the program. If you’re interested in helping make that dream happen through donating an instrument or instruction or funding, please contact our EE Coordinator, Andy Whilden, at andy@thematthewhouse.org. If you are interested in volunteering with this program, please contact Emily Fleming, our Volunteer Coordinator at emilyf@thematthewshouse.org.

TMH Updates & Accomplishments

            The Matthews House

Curious about what’s happening?

There are always exciting things going on at The Matthews House! We wanted to take a moment to share a few updates and accomplishments from the past few months.

 

Day in and Day out

We can’t begin to tell you how proud we are of our participants. We are inspired by their hard work and perseverance daily.

-A couple of months ago, we had a hesitant youth reluctantly join our Experiential Education groups. When she first attended, she was distant and barely engaged. Within a month’s time, this youth’s attitude has completely flipped. She is now leading one of the groups and has expressed her gratitude for The Matthews House. She has been prioritizing her groups, even though her school schedule has become busier.

-Our Family Assessment and Planning Team successfully closed with three families this past month!

-One of our clients was able to receive some much-needed car parts. With this help, she was able to get her car fixed! She is now able to get to work and better provide for her three kiddos.

-This year, we have been able to train 120 individuals to become Foster Parents. This means about 60 families can now welcome youth-in-need into their homes!

There are so many more stories that we would love to share with you! Stay up-to-date on our Facebook page for our weekly posts.

 

The need never stops

Our youth and families are always making progress. We feel honored to assist in the process, but there is still so much work to be done. This year has shown us that the need is greater than ever. We have been called to lean in and give even more. We ask that you consider the same. Thank you for helping make our mission possible, and know you are changing lives.

Homework Helpers, COVID Edition

*This photo was taken in 2019.*

Homework helpers, Covid edition

School has changed immensely over the past nine months. Some schools are in person, some are hybrid, and some are strictly online. The Matthews House has been working hard to navigate and adapt Homework Helpers (HH) to best meet the needs of our youth and families.

 

The learning lowdown

We have determined that the best way to accommodate our youth is by expanding our program and taking the necessary precautions to protect their health and wellbeing. Here’s a quick overview of the in-person academic learning programs we are now providing:

Homework Helpers- This program continues to run in-person groups of 10 to help students with their online learning at our Community Life Centers and Orchard Place. We have shifted hours and created two sessions per day to help more students. Our kiddos have access to snacks and lunch, a safe environment to socialize, and the opportunity to gain academic support with the help of our volunteers and staff.

Homework Helpers at CARE Housing- This new partnership stemmed from the desire to provide kiddos with fun and academic support. The program mimics HH and will continue to be available at all six CARE locations from this point forward.

Remote Learning Centers (RLC)- We created two RLC’s in collaboration with Poudre School District (PSD) and other community partners. Our First Pres location runs all day Mon-Thurs to give secondary students a place to work and receive help. Our Cloverleaf Community location runs Mon-Thurs afternoons. Our priority for both locations is serving students who qualify as homeless through the McKinney-Vento Act for homeless education. RLC’s will continue as PSD transitions back to in-person.

 

Change, CHange, and CHange again

We know that parts are always moving, and things continue to change, but we hope this provides you with a clearer image of how HH has evolved. We desire to meet the needs of our participants while making sure we abide by the COVID-19 regulations. With this in mind, we are always evaluating our programs! For more information, feel free to contact lise@thematthewshouse.org, our Education and Enrichment Director at the Community Life Centers.

The Story Behind Our Logo

From the beginning

“I grew up climbing trees, and many times my parents couldn’t find me because I would take a book and climb up high, find a comfortable limb and read and talk to the birds,” said Jerri Schmitz, founder of The Matthews House. Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind our logo? Well, keep reading to find out more.

 

deeply rooted

The simple answer is that our logo stems from an analogy, no pun intended. A tree provides shade, protection, and grows when firmly rooted while the house represents families. This answer may satisfy some people’s curiosity, but below the surface, there is much more to uncover.

Walt Whitman once explained 11 things trees teach us. Jerri, being a lover of poetry from a young age, was introduced to Whitman’s writing early on. Not only has his writing translated into Jerri’s life, but it also translated into the work we do here.

Some might say that all the lessons Whitman states could apply to our organization, but here are some of our favorites:

 

-Trees teach us authenticity

-Trees teach us what it means to belong to a community

-Trees teach us to grow, even if we are alone

-Trees teach us that our roots will sustain us

-Trees teach us that we can be a source of protection for others

 

These simple statements may seem small, but isn’t that the point? Words have power, but actions create change. If we remind ourselves of these small things and then spend time investing in ourselves and others, we can truly make a difference.

To see the rest of the lessons and full descriptions click here.

 

Growing Stronger together

Whether you prefer the analogy or the story behind our logo, we hope it gives you a better look into our mission at The Matthews House. We believe in taking a holistic approach and desire to enter into relationship with our participants and the community at large. Next time you are admiring the beautiful trees we hope you think of us!

Collaborative Community

LEARN, ADAPT, AND OVERCOME

If there is anything we have learned from 2020 so far, it is that none of us can do it alone. During this time, The Matthews House has had to learn, adapt, and overcome. 2020 may not have been what we envisioned the year looking like, but we don’t want to forget all of the victories that have come our way! This experience has allowed The Matthews House to lean on the community, while we navigate serving our participants during this time.

 

BREAKING BARRIERS

The Matthews House has always believed in the power of community, and the pandemic has only reinforced this belief. Building relationships with our clients and providing them with the resources they need has always been a priority for us. Through the navigation of this year, we have had the opportunity to continue partnering with exceptional organizations to guarantee the wellbeing of our participants!

For instance, this pandemic has left some of our families in need of food. We were and still are determined to make sure this does not become a barrier. The Bohemian Foundation has been providing us with meals that we can deliver to our families. This donation not only allows us to minimize food insecurity, but it also allows us to check-in and continue to build relationships with our participants.

Another organization that has made a difference in our client’s lives is The Nappie Project. This organization has been providing us with loads of diapers and baby wipes. Again, this helps us to remove barriers and support our participants.

 

A COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY

The Matthews House has seen firsthand that there is strength in numbers. Our mission has remained the same, but our strategies have improved. Community collaboration only makes us stronger! We are so grateful to all the partnerships we have in the community.

The organizations mentioned here are just a couple of the many who have stacked hands to fill a need in our community. Click HERE to see more resources. We are all in this fight together because we are always GROWING STRONGER TOGETHER.

Summer Zone

 

 

SUMMER WHAT…

Have you ever heard us mention Summer Zone and wonder what it’s all about? Well, let us tell you a little more about it. Summer Zone started in the summer of 2016 as a hot lunch program site called Kids Cafe. We provided kiddos with activities before and after lunch. We soon realized kids were coming just as much for the activities as the food. Fast forward and in 2018 Summer Zone was born!

With this shift, we created a program that not only allowed kids to have fun, but also provided learning and growth opportunities throughout the summer. Throughout this programs existence we have been striving to create a positive environment where kids have the opportunity to make new friends, practice their relationship skills, get some exercise, explore Larimer County, and learn through a variety of activities.

 

GAMES, GROWING, AND MORE

Summer Zone provides kids ages 8-16, with the opportunity to participate in games, crafts, activities and fun! There are weekly opportunities to visit different Larimer County parks, field trips every Friday, and crafts and games for some of the chill days! We want our kids to have fun, but we also want to serve them in a greater way. Our activities are aimed to enrich summer learning, grow respect for others and property, build community and relationships, encourage physical activity, and much more!

This summer our kids have already been able to get out of their comfort zones. One of the days we were able to take the kids to a bowling alley. Some of our kiddos had never been bowling before, so it was an adventure, to say the least! It put a smile on all our staffs’ faces to see them learning, developing new skills, and having a blast!

Right now Summer Zone looks a little bit different than previous years due to changes regarding COVID-19. We can assure you that we have made necessary changes to our program to make sure it meets the rules and regulations of the state. We are offering morning and afternoon sessions, along with limiting the number of kiddos per group. Despite these changes, we are still going to make sure our youth are having fun and learning lots.

 

QUESTIONS?

Due to limited spaces, all our spots have been filled for summer of 2020.

If you have any more questions regarding the program, feel free to contact Emily Fleming at emilyf@thematthewshouse.org.

Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos

 

What is INEA?

INEA, short for Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos, is a program based out of Mexico that is designed to give adults from Spanish-speaking countries a new opportunity to receive a primary and secondary education. It was founded by former Mexican President José López Portillo in 1981 as a means to help thousands of individuals in Mexico who grew up in poverty and had to abandon their educational pursuit at a young age. It is run by the Mexican consulate, but has expanded outside of Mexico and into the United States via non-profits such as The Matthews House.

We talked to Yamel Alfaro, our INEA instructor with The Matthews House, to learn and share more about the program:

 

How many people usually attend INEA?

I have four students attending one day a week for two hours.

 

What subjects are taught within these classes?

Beginner students are learning to read and write in Spanish. Intermediate to Advanced students learn general topics equivalent to subjects taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school.

 

What motivates individuals to pursue this education?

One motivation is the ability to be independent. My students want to do regular activities such as reading or writing without the help of someone else. Simple things in life, such as reading and responding to a text message or note from their child’s teacher is incredibly meaningful to them. Also being able to give more help back to their families by doing activities such as going over their children’s homework is exceptionally important to them. Reaching this level of independence makes them more confident and motivated to explore new job opportunities – so many doors open when education is made available.

 

What do they hope to gain from it?

Once they have gone through the program, they will receive a high school equivalency certificate that is recognized by the Mexican government. However, my students are more interested in the knowledge they gain from INEA than from the certificate itself. As mentioned before, they have more skills to offer to their families, jobs, and communities – which means the world to them.

 

What subjects are covered in INEA?

Students are first taught how to read and write in Spanish. Once they have become proficient in reading and writing, they are able to move on to other subjects such as math, science, more advanced Spanish, and civil topics. In math, we cover arithmetic operations, geometry, and algebra. In science, we cover time, seasons, the solar system, and topics pertaining to the Earth.

 

The Matthews House’s Involvement

The Matthews House brought this program to Fort Collins five years ago. That year, we had four students graduate and a wonderful ceremony in which people from the Mexican consulate attended. That same year, we had two beginner students who had learned how to read and write after just four months of attending the program.

I know INEA is a wonderful project and I think The Matthews House is a super awesome agency that cares enough about our community to bring this type of programs to our locality. I know even when we only have four students, those individuals are worth a million to me.

 

This information is reflective specifically of our spring semester until we adapted due to regulations around COVID-19.