The staff of Women’s Lunch Place celebrated two of our own, Hannah Evangelidis and Kyle Ahlers, as they embark on new and creative career paths!
Hannah completed her one-year of service with WLP as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She is an amazing, compassionate, and industrious young woman. She quickly became an invaluable member of the WLP team working in both direct care, the Healthy Meals Program, and administration. Hannah’s initiative was most impactful in the guest outings program that she oversaw, fully doubling the number of trips! She incorporated new venues and ideas that helped guests build relationships with each other. In the kitchen, she was a team player and leader who fully managed the meal prep one day a week. Hannah enthusiastically supported special projects and events, even bringing fellow JV’s along for the ride! We will miss her strong presence in the shelter.
“One of my favorite parts of this year has been getting to know each of you, whether you volunteer in the resource center, kitchen, or welcome center. With your wide variety of talents and wisdom, you have taught me how to best serve the ladies in wonderfully different ways. You all truly embody the spirit of volunteering, a humility and graciousness that I will hold onto regardless of where my future takes me. I genuinely cannot thank you enough for the millions of ways you have supported me throughout the year: answering my questions, listening to me complain, helping me with the Metro crossword, showing me how to cut an obscure vegetable, or making me laugh when I’m having a bad day. I would not have made it through the year without you. My next steps will be moving home to save up for my move to Los Angeles, where I will be pursuing my dream of becoming a TV writer! I’m from Worcester so I will still be in the area and hope to have time to pop into WLP to say hi.” –Hannah
Kyle served as the Volunteer Coordinator and she possesses both intelligence and a passion for social justice. A natural relationship builder, she worked hard to connect with every volunteer and ensure they knew they were invaluable to WLP. She was recognized for stepping up and seamlessly bridging the gap in volunteer services during the hiring process for a new manager. She also led an initiative to reach out to our partners at Rosie’s Place to tour the facility and share best practices. In the office, Kyle was the leader on all “green efforts” including recycling, temperature control, and plant management! Her knowledge of government policy, advocacy initiatives, and the non-profit landscape, along with her insightful comments and critiques will be sorely missed.
“I have so enjoyed working with all of you for the past year. Your warmth and dedication to our ladies is inspiring, whether in the kitchen, Welcome Center, Resource Center, or special programs. When I arrived at WLP, I knew it was a special place, but I never really thought that a homeless shelter could be a community. However, I was wrong. Though many guests and volunteers may come through our doors only once, the majority of folks are regulars who mutually benefit from the warm and dignified space we have created together. The community we have created to improve a society full of inequality is more important now than ever.
For the immediate future, I will be working on some campaigns for the November 6th election. One particular issue that is very close to my heart is the Yes on 3 campaign. As many of you know, our transgender guests are some of the most at-risk folks in the homeless community. Two years ago, our state legislature passed protections for transgender people so that they cannot be discriminated against in public spaces. Unfortunately, a small but outspoken fringe group has managed to bring those protections up for a possible repeal via ballot initiative. So I’m working to help voters understand this as a civil rights issue and vote to keep these important protections. If you’d like to be involved, let me know! I will also be maintaining my connection to WLP by doing some grant-writing. In the long-term, I’ll be working with a friend of mine to set up a community farm & garden in Ashland where we live! In my absence, I’ll expect all of you to be recycling warriors and make sure everything at WLP ends up in the right bins!” –Kyle
We wish Hannah and Kyle all good things on the road ahead and know that they will change the world for the good of all!