Dear Friends,

When you see a woman you think is homeless, do you ever try to imagine what is going through her mind?  Here’s one woman’s description of how she started out:

“When I first came to On The Rise, I wasn’t really interested in getting any services. I didn’t really want to sit down with anybody and tell people how I felt.  I was only here because I wanted a good shower, or a nap, or something to eat.  I didn’t think I could change my situation – I just wanted it to become a little easier.”

Debbie’s biggest goal was to make day-to-day living on the streets a little easier with some food and rest.  She had no hope that the fundamentals of her life would change.

If you are used to having your basic needs met – safety, shelter, sleep, food – it may be difficult for you to relate.  How could Debbie aspire to so little?  Why did she see so few possibilities?  What could possibly change her outlook, and give her hope?

Each year, On The Rise helps hundreds of women; women who first rang our doorbell in Debbie’s frame of mind.  We help them with basic essentials and create the time and space for their relationships with us to grow, at the pace they choose.  When a woman trusts a staff person to help her, when she can open up a little – that’s when the new possibilities begin to open up.  Then our staff can help even more.

For Debbie, the idea of “services” was overwhelming at first.  Try to imagine how she got to that point.  If you guessed decades of painful and harmful relationships starting in childhood, loss, betrayal, grief, isolation, addiction, incarceration and trauma – you guessed right.  Years of these experiences diminish the hope that things can get better.

On The Rise prepares the groundwork of safety and relationships so the women can take a chance on something new. We’re making a bet: that a welcoming, safe space filled with supportive, nonjudgmental, knowledgeable people can help Debbie pass through hopelessness, to a better place.

A place that is better for her.  A place that’s more in tune with your values.  A place where the community’s resources are used more effectively.  We’re betting on you to help us, and most of all, we’re betting on unlocking the strength and initiative of the women of On The Rise.

Thank you,





Martha Sandler
Executive Director