Hundreds of people in our community give regularly to Second Story to support the sustainability of our programs. Hear from a few of them about why they’ve chosen Second Story by reading their giving stories.
Benita Stocks (NAIOP Northern Virginia)
This would have been the ninth year that NAIOP Northern Virginia held their annual snack pack drive. In years past they have solicited corporate sponsors, ordered food and supplies, and gathered in person to pack and deliver snack packs for Second Story in the Community. Last year they provided 4,500 snack packs!
When the pandemic began the committee switched to virtual meetings to check in and offer support. No business was discussed, but “one topic that was raised multiple times during those first meetings was how to hold our annual Snack Pack event to help the children at Second Story,” recalls Benita Stocks, Director of Membership and Programs at NAIOP. They knew it wouldn’t be safe to gather in person, but started brainstorming what to do next. They invited a Second Story representative to share about how things were going in Culmore at the Teen Center and offer suggestions on how to adapt the snack packing event.
“The more we know about the services provided to the children by Second Story the more we are committed to helping,” Benita says. “We needed to come up with a fundraiser that allowed participants to work together virtually. We decided to hold a fitness challenge with the goal of raising $10,000 and achieving 3.5 million steps.” The fitness challenge was a huge success! Participation doubled and the group was proud of how they were able to pivot and be innovative to still effectively support youth. This year they donated over $13,500 – their biggest year yet!
Second Story has distributed more food than ever to vulnerable communities to help them through the pandemic this year, and donations like these are critical to ensuring youth and families can make it through this critical moment.
“Growing up in the area, I had driven by the teens in crisis shelter many times and saw the purple door. I never quite knew what exactly the house was for, but it always intrigued me. After I had my first child, I was trying to grasp this new chapter in my life and reflecting on how hard everything seemed and yet how easy of a situation I was in. I immediately wanted to help teen moms and did a search for local programs for young mothers. Second Story popped up and I connected the dots of Second Story and the house with the purple door. I signed up for an Open Door Information Session and was blown away with the impact that Second Story was having in the community and the very real problems that exist in the county that might seem invisible to most. I signed up for volunteer training and began volunteering Sunday evenings at Second Story for Teens in Crisis and now serve as a community ambassador.
I give to Second Story because being able to help change the trajectory in a young person’s life for the better is a prudent investment. Just like I had many people that invested in me over my life, I feel that it is important to continue the cycle. It feels like an easy choice when I give to Second Story.
Second Story understands that in order to support youth in crisis, they need not only the support of someone to listen, but a plan and tools to help them achieve that plan. Second Story is not interested in the quick fix but rather to empower their clients to play an active role in determining how they want to live their life. We are lucky to have an organization like Second Story that has the expertise, relationships, and heart to connect with youth in our community and to serve as that guidepost for young people during critical times in their life.”
Gina Choe (Christ Central Presbyterian Church)
Members of Christ Central Presbyterian Church (CCPC) were used to coming to Second Story for Teens in Crisis on Saturday mornings to make a hot breakfast for the young people staying with us, both meeting a physical need but also encouraging youth and counselors on a weekly basis.
Then, in March, for the safety of youth, staff, and volunteers, we cancelled these sorts of visits. Gina Choe and her fellow community members knew that youth still needed breakfast on Saturdays, and without donations from the church we would need to fill in the gap and pay for another meal. So, they instead began donating financially to make up the difference.
“COVID or no COVID, CCPC is committed to support Second Story in prayer and financially. We believe it is crucial for youth to have a caring and safe place to turn to especially during these hard times. Children (of all ages) are a precious gift from above and by supporting them financially during these difficult times we are able to love and serve them through Second Story,” Gina explains. And because of donations like these, Second Story has been able to continue to serve youth, stepping up to meet their increased needs, even during the pandemic.
“A few years ago, I was looking for ways to get more involved in the community. Not knowing where to start, I reached out to my company’s community relations team and they recommended that I reach out to Second Story because of the organization’s important work in our community. For the next two years, I volunteered every other Friday night at Second Story, helping out staff, hanging out with the teens, and answering phone calls. It was an incredibly inspiring to see how Second Story’s staff and programs help our local teens and their families during some of their most challenging moments.
Having seen Second Story’s work firsthand, it is obvious that the organization plays a critical role in helping local youth and their families. But, it is equally clear that, at moments, the organization is meaningfully constrained. For example, there are wait-lists for some of Second Story’s programs, which is in large part due to constrained funding. Giving to Second Story is what enables Second Story to maintain and hopefully continue to expand the services it offers to our community.
Simply put, in moments when kids in our community have no one else to turn to, Second Story is there. I believe that for kids struggling and in some cases without a stable home environment, Second Story is a game changer. Second Story’s investment in them serves as the catalyst for kids in our community to build the confidence they need to handle the challenges they are facing and ultimately achieve their goals in life.”
“I heard about Second Story from the leader of my team at work, and I became involved as a donor and volunteer.
To me, Second Story’s mission is one of opportunity, of giving people the resources and support they need to help themselves and follow their passions. I grew up with two loving parents who supported me through school and as I started my career. When I met the kids at the Teen Center or listened to the speakers at the breakfast, I saw kids that have the same level (if not a higher level) of intelligence, creativity, and dedication as myself and people I grew up with and yet were at risk of falling behind because of numerous factors outside of their control. Everyone deserves the chance to follow their dreams, to better themselves, and to support the people they love, and I believe Second Story promotes that for kids who might not have it otherwise.
I give to Second Story for two reasons: I strongly believe in what the organization stands for and because I trust the people leading the organization to use my money well to make a difference. I’ve seen the broad scope of Second Story’s impact through both the volunteering I’ve done and the other events I’ve attended and I’m consistently impressed by both the staff’s dedication and the consistent impact the programs have for the kids and young adults they support. I trust Second Story with my money and I know that it’s going directly to people who need it.”