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Acres of Diamonds

  • Written by Leanne Christensen

Making a meaningful difference and providing hope for homeless women
and their families

vvacresofdiamondsAcres of Diamonds (AOD) was established in 1995, as a transitional Christian home to provide a loving, safe and nurturing environment for homeless women and their families.

For over 17 years, hundreds of women residing at AOD have been given life altering opportunities – opportunities which allow them to seek heart-felt counsel, and to receive support and loving guidance on a daily basis through programs that help break the cycles of addiction, poverty and homelessness.

Did you know that on any given night, there are close to 800 homeless women on the streets of Seattle? To those at Acres of Diamonds, these women are so much more than a number. They are moms, sisters, daughters, aunts and grandmothers each with a name, a purpose, a hope, and often times a child.

Over the years, Acres of Diamonds has not only transformed the lives of its residents and their families, the program itself has gone through its own significant transformation. Early last year due to unexpected budget cuts, there were staff layoffs and the AOD board of directors underwent a reorganization.

However, along with these tough decisions and newfound challenges, there were also great achievements due to the board’s dedication and outreach, and the inspiring support from local community members.  For instance, the 2012 annual AOD Dinner Auction raised over $20,000  for the program, due in large part to the support of countless local businesses and the volunteer efforts of many.

These much needed funds helped with the purchase of a new roof, new siding and several other maintenance issues at both the AOD main house and the resident apartment buildings.

In the past year alone, there have been dozens of clean-up/ beautification projects completed to the interior and exterior facilities and to the grounds at AOD as well.  Along with the many projects, such as interior painting, the building of a new play structure, new plantings and mulch, volunteers also embraced AOD through their support in providing house moms, office assistants, and dedicated Christian mentors. All in all, these services given by local churches, service groups and school volunteer groups averaged 450 - 600 volunteer hours each and every month.

The support given to AOD from our community has been truly overwhelming. Director Peggy McNamara shares, “The women residing at Acres of Diamonds have been deeply touched by the outpouring of support our program has received from so many of our community members. Not only do they appreciate the time, donations and efforts given by the many volunteers, they are also inspired by the genuine care and compassion they witness time and time again, as children, teens and adults one by one ‘show up’ in their lives.

“This type of outreach is something many of these women have never experienced, and it allows them to witness God’s grace, love and compassion in a very real and tangible way. For instance, one of our residents in particular has shown extraordinary growth this year ... she arrived at AOD after being released from jail for drug possession.

“In the beginning, she came into my office for weekly one on one discussions, and while not saying much, she most times just sat and cried.  We wondered if she would be able to function in the world at large... she was in a tough spot. However, God was at work! She began reading the bible, praying daily and engaging in regular discussions about Jesus, and truly trying to make sense of Christianity, all the while trying to make sense of what her life had become.

“Fast forward six months... how things have changed! She is now on stable ground, and is one of the most responsible women we have here.  She is engaged in her church, and volunteers often in our community.  She is rebuilding relationships in her family, overcoming codependency, staying sober and working through her issues. How wonderful it is to see our mission for these women being realized in such a meaningful way.”

Acres of Diamonds is dedicated to continue its remarkable work with the women and children in their care.  Below are several ways in which community members can make a difference and support of this program:

•Monthly financial assistance/one time donation. AOD is a non profit 501(c) (3) organization - Tax ID #91-1684691

• Volunteer your time/talents (see AOD website for current opportunities)

• Help with grounds/home maintenance

• Donate needed items... paper goods, household cleaning supplies, firewood, bedding, furniture, kitchen items, clothes and toys.

The Board of Directors and volunteer leaders at AOD are gearing up for the 2013 Acres of Diamonds Dinner Auction.

The auction will be held in Duvall this year at the Riverview School District Educational Service Center on Saturday, October 5, 2013. Acres of Diamonds encourages everyone to  “Mark your calendars for what will most definitely be a truly inspiring event!”

Acres of Diamonds reminds us... “Whether you give time or money, what you are really providing is hope.”

Acres of Diamonds –www.acresofdiamonds.org, PO Box 1672, Duvall, WA  98019 – (425) 788-9999.

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