November 2018 Newsletter
Give!Guide and Nightfest
Operation Nightwatch is proud to announce that we have been selected to participate in the 2018 Willamette Week Give!Guide! The Give!Guide is an online and print fundraising campaign designed with end-of-year giving in mind. Why is this such a big deal, you might ask? Last year, through the Give!Guide campaign $4.2 million was donated to 150 non-profits in the Portland Metro Area. Each non-profit averaged $28,000 raised, and donations came from 9,951 unique donors. With over 450 applicants, we are very excited to have been selected as one of the 150 organizations to participate this year.
The Give!Guide is an excellent opportunity for us to reach new donors who have yet to hear about us and the great work we are doing. We’ve had some exciting outreach opportunities of our own lately to help spread the word- our Executive Director has recorded an ad to be played regularly on X-Ray FM Radio, and we are creating a new series of videos to be released weekly during the duration of the Give!Guide Campaign. The Give!Guide gives us additional exposure through their website and print materials, and through their events over the next few weeks- including a Charity Smackdown Arm-Wrestling competition featuring our very own Rachel “The Reaper” Morse! This is a very fun and exciting time at Nightwatch, and we hope you will want to be a part of it!
This year we have set a goal of $30,000 raised through Give!Guide. We want to take a moment to thank our Sponsors- Kuni Lexus of Portland, Sizzle Pie, and Beneficial State Bank who are all making generous contributions this season. There are a number of ways you, as our longtime supporters, can get involved. If you are social media-inclined, a simple yet impactful way to show your support is to follow, like and re-tweet both Operation Nightwatch and Give!Guide this holiday season. Also, you can help us spread the word! Tell your family and friends to look for us in the Give!Guide and consider making a contribution.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we would love to have you join us at our annual Nightfest! This year, Nightfest will be held on November 15th, from 6-9 pm at Lagunitas Nonprofit Community Room, 237 NE Broadway. Please join us for a night of pizza, beer, wine, and a silent auction. Attendees will get VIP access to the new Nightwatch videos that others will have to wait weeks to see! This event will help us kick-off the Give!Guide, but is also our annual party to raise awareness and celebrate the work that we all do together through Nightwatch. Tickets are on sale now. A $25 ticket purchases admittance, pizza and a beer token. Visit www.operationnightwatch.org to purchase your tickets. Can’t wait to see you there!
A Message from our Mental Health Director, Kolin Busby
I am excited to tell you, our supporters, more about our Mental Health Initiative and the progress we have made this past year! First, some information about what it is we do. At the heart of our Mental Health Initiative, I provide trauma-informed crisis counseling, solution-focused brief therapy, and engages guests in harm reduction strategies. I offer strengths-based support to guests who do not typically engage with traditional mental healthcare services. I am available on a drop-in basis throughout the night for any guest at any time. I have also been working to bring peer support specialists in as volunteers as a means to better support our diverse population of guests.
There are many factors that affect people who do not have safe and stable housing. Isolation, trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, violence, sleep deprivation, the constant and often abrupt cycling between abundance and scarcity, the elements, and having basic human needs not met can drastically impact one's state of mind and well-being. Through our Mental Health Initiative, we support both those experiencing severe and persistent mental health issues, as well as those struggling with the hardships and stress of homelessness.
The primary focus of our Mental Health Initiative is to foster relationships with our guests that are built on trust and consistency. Our guests know that every week I will be there for them, supporting everyone who walks through our doors just as they are, free from judgment and prejudice. Within these relationships, I get to know our guests as individuals, helping them to recognize their unique strengths that already reside within them. I often also refer guests to medical clinics and other mental health, housing, and addiction agencies.
The positive psychological impact of our Mental Health Initiative on our guests cannot be underestimated. We have found when guests feel safe and cared for, they are more likely to embark on conversations about change, choices, and harm reduction.
At Operation Nightwatch, we believe everyone deserves to be seen and heard. We know our guests are more than their set of circumstances and stereotypes that can often bind them. For a few nights a week, we offer our guests a reprieve from the often curdling ebb and flow of life on the streets and hope that our Mental Health Initiative will help them to better face the mental, emotional, and physical challenges of homelessness.
We would like to introduce you to Zubaida Ula, our new Downtown Program Coordinator! Zubaida brings many strengths to our team- she has an MSW from University of Michigan, and has over 6 years of experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges and addiction at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare.
Beyond her impressive resume, we were blown away by her heart of service and her enthusiasm for our mission. Skills can be practiced and procedures can be taught, but we have found it is much more difficult to teach someone how to naturally meet people with compassion and kindness, how to operate from a place of love, and how to believe in and want to live out our mission. We are incredibly grateful to have found a team member who loves what we do, and who is excited about the hospitality and genuine human connection that makes Nightwatch so special.
Welcome to the team, Zubaida! We are lucky to have you!