As Latitude Commercial considered organizations to partner with to enrich the community, a staff member’s family ties with a local social services nonprofit proved to be the connection they needed. Director of Property Management, Ryne Pishkur, said that his mother and his wife’s cousin had both previously worked with St. Jude House.
Pishkur’s wife’s cousin used to work in management for the organization and encouraged him and Latitude Commercial to reach out to St. Jude House. This led to a tour of the facility and a look at the daily operations, which affirmed for Latitude Commercial that St. Jude House was exactly the kind of community partner they were seeking.
“This is such a worthwhile endeavor that these guys are taking on,” Pishkur said. “We got hooked and wanted to do what we could to support them.”
St. Jude House serves as a refuge within the community to shelter those who have suffered from domestic abuse. It both protects those who have been abused and helps them build a new life. St. Jude House Executive Director, Ryan Elinkowski, explained how St. Jude helps domestic abuse survivors get back on their feet.
“St. Jude House offers non-residential and residential programming and support for adults and children via a full-time Adult Advocate who leads sessions about domestic violence, hope, and financial empowerment and identifies specific counseling needs; a Legal Advocate who assists with custody and protective orders; a Children’s Advocate who helps with homework but also works to unpack the trauma via therapeutic play, anger management, and explorative art projects; and a Case Manager who helps with housing, employment, education, and transportation,” Elinkowski said.
Latitude Commercial made a monetary donation that allowed them to become a designated St. Jude House partner. Beyond an initial donation, Latitude Commercial has encouraged guests to bring charitable items to their annual Christmas party. For this past Christmas party, Latitude Commercial requested that guests bring gift cards. Gift cards are particularly helpful for those taking shelter at St. Jude House.
St. Jude House aims to help people save their money to get out of their dangerous situations. In giving domestic abuse survivors gift cards, Latitude Commercial is enabling them to save their money. Those gift cards helped them do things like get gas, purchase groceries, and buy new clothes. Being able to cover these expenses with gift cards allows those at St. Jude House to save their money to get out of their situations and purchase permanent homes for themselves and their families.
“When we delivered the gift cards, monetary donations, and breakfast bacon to the shelter last Christmas, we didn’t realize how deeply the tour would impact us,” Pishkur said. “To learn that 20,000 domestic violence calls are received nationally on a daily basis and that every nine seconds a woman is beaten or assaulted, we knew that Latitude Commercial was in a position to do more for the families who are escaping from a life of violence. The fact is, we realized that those still living silently in a home with domestic violence could be our neighbor, our customers, our employees, our family member, or a close friend. This is an issue that could be impacting someone in your circle, whether you know it or not.”
Pishkur and Elinkowski are thrilled that Latitude Commercial and St. Jude House have partnered together to empower domestic abuse survivors in the community.
“More than 1,600 people called the St. Jude House 24-hour crisis line last year and more than 650 women and children found emergency shelter at St. Jude House,” Pishkur said. “Because all the programs and services at St. Jude House are offered free-of-charge, we knew that financial support was an important factor of our involvement, so Latitude Commercial became a corporate Community Partner.”
Pishkur felt so passionate about what St. Jude House is doing in the community that he was invited to become a volunteer member on one of their committees and accepted the invitation. Elinkowski expressed St. Jude House’s gratitude for Latitude Commercial’s support, particularly noting Pishkur’s involvement.
“We are so grateful to our Community Partner, Latitude Commercial, for their gifts of both time and treasure,” said Elinkowski said. “Ryne has been a pivotal member of the Development Committee and the monetary gift plays an important role in St. Jude House’s ability to empower our clients and their children with tools and resources to break the cycle of violence in their lives.”