Happy day 11 of the 12 Days of CHRISelle!
This is probably by far my favorite day of the 12 days of CHRISelle! Last Friday, the CINCteam and I spent the day volunteering at a women’s shelter in LA called Alexandria House which is a transitional home for women who are trying to get back on their feet and it was a day to remember!
This year, I wanted to do something really special for 12 Days where we physically gave back and did something together. Jane, from my team, found the Alexandria House through her friend’s organization, We Are Lightwork, and came back beaming after she volunteered earlier in the year. She was raving about it for months so I knew that this was the house we would end up volunteering for.
When most of us think of homelessness, we generally think of people living the streets, but what I’ve realized is that homelessness can really happen to any of us. All of these women are unique and have their own life story. Being able to sit down with them was such an enlightening experience for the whole team and myself.
I was able to spend some quality time with one woman in particular, who was kind enough to open up to me and share her story. For her privacy, I won’t mention her name or any specifics, but she told me how basically overnight, her life changed. From living a totally normal life to separating from her husband, losing her job and having no place to live with her three children, she told me how she’s been staying positive through this extremely dark time for her. She tells herself every morning how lucky she is to have all of her kids together and a roof over her head thanks to the Alexandria House. She knows that this is only temporary and that she’ll get back on her feet in no time.
It was so inspiring to me to see how uplifting and positive she is. She kept telling me to tell my husband I love him when I got home, and to be thankful for my kids even on the tough days because that’s all that really matters.
Even though I went to the Alexandria House hoping I would help someone, what ended up happening was that someone helped me.
A lot of the women had children, so the team and I were able to play and entertain them too! A special thanks to our favorite fried chicken spot in DTLA, Birdies – for providing some delicious breakfast sandwiches and donuts while we got to know each other in the morning!
A huge thank you to all of the brands who contributed and donated for a great cause! The women were beyond excited and thankful for the goodies. Below is a list of what each woman was able to receive that day:
- Loq Shoes – each woman received 2 pairs of shoes. One fun shoe for everyday life and another pair to help with interviews/more professional settings.
- Lait Candle – to promote peace, a sense of calmness and self-love/reflection. I love that these candles are made in LA and hand-poured.
- Anese Beauty Products – Each woman got to pick out a couple items they needed to update their beauty regimen. We also love Anese for their inspirational woman power messaging.
- Floral bath soak – we can all use a little R&R – especially during the holidays.
- Kate Somerville Cleansers – for healthy skin/self-care because we all know skincare is an important part of taking care of yourself.
- $50 Target gift card – to buy what they need for themselves and their kids this holiday. We thought it would be fun to let them pick out things on their own plus there’s a Target nearby the house.
- $50 Lyft gift card – the gift of transportation and freedom.
To see these women light up with these things that we sometimes take for granted was such a great reminder that no matter what circumstance we’re in, we should always be thankful for everything we have and to give back when we can. I’m so impressed with the Alexandria House – mostly because there was truly a sense of family and community there and you can tell everyone really loves each other and is looking out for one another. From helping with doctor’s appointments, camaraderie, to sharing food with each other- it’s such a nurturing environment for the women.
I hope that this post has inspired you to give back this holiday season and if anything, to reflect on everything that’s happened this year.
To learn more about the amazing things the Alexandria House does, be sure to click here!
See you guys tomorrow for the final day of 12 Days of CHRISelle!!!
Photography by Karla Ticas