Northwest NEWS

December 18, 2000

Editorial

Extend a hand to help others

from Snoqualmie Valley Network
   Looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit of giving? The Extend a Hand - Make a Difference volunteer initiative, sponsored by the Snoqualmie Valley Network, would like to spotlight an organization which needs and deserves the community's help Acres of Diamonds in Duvall.
   Acres of Diamonds is a transitional housing program located just south of downtown Duvall on Kennedy Drive. This non-profit organization provides temporary housing for homeless women from a variety of different situations. Many of these women have children; most do not have a high school diploma, nor little chance of success.
   They are referred to Acres of Diamonds by social service agencies, hospitals, rehab centers and parole officers.
   The obstacles these women face are substantial, but director Laura Wandoishine believes they can be taught their own worth and to make better decisions in the future. Speaking to her about the 135 women and countless children who have passed through her doors in the previous five years is both inspirational and eye-opening. She has seen it all, but her enthusiasm for what is being done at Acres of Diamonds is boundless.
   The Acres of Diamonds program is aimed at giving these women a good chance at a self-sufficient life by establishing a set of goals for them to meet.
   These goals include stable housing, earning a GED or high school diploma, income from a job, attending school full time, decreasing debt, obtaining a valid driver's license and maintaining sobriety.
   The women achieve these goals by attending Christian counseling sessions, abstaining from dating for the first six months, learning life and household skills such as budgeting all with the help of a sponsor within the program.
   Some of these women are able to accomplish what is required in a short amount of time, while some take longer. As long as the rules of the house are being followed and the women are working towards self-sufficiency, they can remain there.
   Acres of Diamonds is a Christian-based organization and is in need of both one-time volunteers and ongoing support. They also have opportunities for other organizations to furnish rooms or lend a hand with rides (to and from jobs, etc.).
   Those interested in helping should contact Wandoishine at (425) 788-9999. For a list of volunteer opportunities at Acres of Diamonds and other organizations around the Valley, go to www.uwkc.org.