Change And Sameness

In any not-for-profit agency, the executive leadership has two primary obligations.  The first is to ensure that the work being done reflects the agency’s mission effectively.  The second obligation is to ensure that the essential aspects of the mission continue to be possible.

 

Most of the time this second obligation takes the form of adequate fund-raising, administrative functionalism and appropriate staffing and delegation of duties.  However, there is an aspect of the obligation which doesn’t come up often: How does the agency move forward when the current leadership is no longer in a position to continue in that role?

 

It is time to address that question with you.

 

For over three decades, my wife & I have loved and guided The Open Shelter through tumultuous times & transitions.  We have believed that our primary obligation has been to stay behind with those who feel left behind.  We have struggled to be an ally for those who are alone on our streets.  We have tried, by example, to show our most vulnerable neighbors that they are loved, respected and cared about – equally to all others.  We have tried to demonstrate God’s presence, responding to their needs.
              

I am almost 70 years old and, this August, my wife was freed from and concluded her two year struggle with brain cancer.  While we continue to love and believe in the role of The Open Shelter, we are no longer in a position to continue in our executive leadership role.

 

While Mary’s battle with cancer intensified the transitioning process, she and I had been preparing for the need for a transition for almost five years.  We began by recognizing that there were three possible ways to conclude our leadership role: 1) Admit that The Open Shelter was no longer necessary and prepare to close while trying to redirect the incredible impact and offerings of so many meal groups, volunteers and material assistance efforts.  2) Find an agency which is similar to The Open Shelter and negotiate a merger, transferring the volunteer involvement to that place and stipulating that Solomon Dean & Harry Yeprem are offered positions out of respect of their twenty years each of exceptional service on behalf of homeless & marginally housed persons.  3) Find a way to survive because The Open Shelter is genuinely unique & serves an essential role in the continuum of care on the streets of Columbus.

 

We talked to other service providers, board members, volunteers and guests.  All of the feedback was that we have an important and unique role in this community’s continuum of care and need to preserve the style and commitment of our pastoral care emphasis and alliances-for-the-long-haul.

 

Having received the message that The Open Shelter needed to survive, we started to seek the people who would carry the agency into the future, providing both CHANGE & SAMENESS.

 

Just as we believe that God brought us to The Open Shelter, we also believe that Sheli Mathias was sent to us.  She brings a faith, a spirit and an appreciation for the attitude and efforts of The Open Shelter which we believe can carry our work into the future.
I am not going away.  But I am shifting more of the daily management of The Open Shelter to Sheli, who brings her unique gifts as offerings to our most vulnerable neighbors and can defend CHANGE & SAMENESS on this covered piece of the sidewalk.

 

With Undying Thanks,

 

 

Kent R. Beittel, Half of The Executive Team

Kenneth Shares His Story Of “Help & Hope” From The Open Shelter

Kenneth has been a guest of ours for many years.  He is one of nearly 50 guests we assist through our Payeeship Program.  Kenneth sat down with us to talk about how The Open Shelter has helped him.

“I grew up in a foster home.  I was one of seven children.  There was a little bit of abuse.  It was trying at times.  There were people living with us that sexually abused us.  I didn’t get along with my mom and dad that well.  I spent a lot of time by myself.”

“My father was a Deputy Sheriff and my mom was a stay-at-home mother.  We lived in a middle class neighborhood on the south side of Columbus.  We were all foster children.  I didn’t meet my real mother until I was 16.”

“I left my foster home to live with my real mother when I was 17.   She had some disabilities and was going through some mental health issues.  She was in a nursing home for most of the time I knew her.  She did live with my brother for a time, so I went to live with them.”

“When I was 18, I was accused of robbery.  I went to jail for a little over six months.  I was released into my foster father’s custody, so I went back with him.   It was found out that I didn’t do it, so they dismissed all the charges.”

“I eventually joined the Army.  I spent three and a half years in the service.  It was a learning experience.  I completed Basic Training and got a $2500 bonus.  I got in a lot of scrapes.  I got in a lot of trouble.  They took my bonus back and kicked me out six months early.  I got a DUI while I was with the Army.”

“I was stationed in Alabama and in Germany during my time in the Army.  Germany was a beautiful place.  It was really beautiful.  If I had known then what I know now, it would have been a lot better for me.  I went nightclubbing most of the time.” 

“I went back to live with my foster dad when I left the Army.  I found a couple of jobs, but didn’t keep any of them for more than six months.  I worked at General Motors, worked as a security guard.”

“I found myself homeless in 1985.  I was renting a house from a lady.  I wasn’t able to pay the bills after a period of time.  I eventually ended up at Friends of The Homeless.  I had an experience there where I got to enjoy Christmas for the very first time.  Even though I had got gifts as a child, it was there where I got to realize how beautiful Christmas really was.”

“I was at Friends of The Homeless for about three months.  I got into an altercation with someone.  They put me out.  I ended up on the streets of Downtown Columbus, living in empty buildings.  I would grab a bag from White Castle and go to restaurants & bars grabbing all the free popcorn and peanuts I could.  I would eat that.  Burger King used to be Downtown.  They would throw out food.  I would eat out of their garbage.  I would get jumped on a regular basis.  I got my ribs broke, head punched and had to sleep outside.”

“I eventually found out about The Open Shelter.  That was probably around 1987.  I got a mat at The Open Shelter.  I probably stayed there for about six months.  It really was an experience.  The churches that came by and fed, donated clothing.  I was indulging in drugs back then.  So it was off and on if I missed my bed call.”

“I have battles with drugs & alcohol.  I was using on a daily basis.  I was living in laundry rooms & empty buildings.  I was using crack cocaine & alcohol.  I have had treatment on a number of occasions.  Currently, I am going through a process.  I have been clean and sober for about six months.  I am going to two groups a week.  I am also get a shot for paranoid schizophrenia.”

“The Open Shelter has been my payee off and on for at least 15-16 years.  I have been housed currently for about nine months.  The Open Shelter has helped me maintain my living status by being my payee on a number of occasions because of my drug abuse.  It would have been impossible for me to maintain my housing.  Clean clothes, food, paying my rent, paying my utilities.  I was able to do the necessary things I needed to do because you were my payee.”

“My most recent struggle is on a daily basis.  It’s a process.  There are occasions where I think it would be nice to have a drink.  But if I have a couple of drinks, my guard goes down.  I go right back to the crack.  They work hand in hand.  I can’t do either one.”

“I really appreciate the fact The Open Shelter was there for me.  I was homeless, dirty, nothing to eat, nowhere to go.  They were there to help feed me, give me clothes and just be there for me.  It was a difficult time for me.  It means a lot to me.  I can still come get meals.  If it wasn’t for them, who knows what may have happened to me?”

YOUR support provides “Help & Hope” to guests like Kenneth.
Please donate to keep that “Help & Hope” alive.

Meet Sheli Mathias; Executive Assistant To The Director

I have been on the journey of a lifetime.  Never did I think I would be spending my days working with the homeless and marginally housed population of Columbus.

My journey into adulthood started when I graduated from Capital University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Education.  I started a teaching career in Reynoldsburg and earned a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Dayton in 1997.  I then met my husband and soon started a family.  I was home with our three kids for about 12 years.

The church my family attends, Peace United Methodist Church, participates in The Open Shelter’s dinner program.  I volunteered to serve a meal and was introduced to Kent & Mary Beittel.  Mary invited me to come to the shelter and take a tour.  I was overwhelmed by all the small staff of the shelter was able to accomplish for this population of people while running on a budget comprised solely of private donations.  The faith in God this requires really appealed to me.

I was also impressed by the longevity of the careers with The Open Shelter of Solomon Dean, our Deputy Director of Day Services & Harry Yeprem, our Development Coordinator.  This is a rare thing in an industry where job turnover is rampant, so I knew The Open Shelter was a special place to be.

I started volunteering, then working part time coordinating donations that came in as well as working in the office with Mary on paperwork associated with the Payeeship Program.  I saw Mary work with the guests in a respectful, caring way.  She was very much focused on the fact that these were adults who needed to be loved as well as guided.  Her expectation was that they would be treated like and expected to act like adults.

Once I took on a full-time role in the agency, Kent worked slowly, teaching me not only the approach used at The Open Shelter but why they believed it was the right way to do it.

Though I was immersed in the work I always felt incredible support from Kent, Harry and Solomon.

As we transition to new leadership we have spent time revisiting our programs and their purpose and have found that what we have been doing is exactly what we believe should continue to be done.  So, though there will be change, there will be sameness.

I believe God has opened these doors for me and filled my heart with the desire to continue the work started by Kent & Mary over 34 years ago.

I hope each of you will continue this journey with us through your continued financial support.  We have been and will continue to be the place where your generosity comes to life.

Give BIG For The Open Shelter During The BIG Give!

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The Big Give is a 26-hour online giving rally to make a difference through kindness. The Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and community and corporate partners have provided a $1.3 Million+ Bonus Pool. Donations received during the event will be amplified by Bonus Pool funds on a pro-rated basis. Everyone who gives will have their donation(s) increased. In addition, the Foundation is covering all credit card fees, so 100 percent of donations go to participating nonprofits with a Directory Listing in the Foundation’s Giving Store.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, October 10 through 12:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 11, go to www.columbusfoundation.org/giving-events/big-give-2017 and give to The Open Shelter listed in The Giving Store. 

By giving BIG, you can help us help the homeless & marginally housed in our community.  This is also a great way to KEEP THE OPEN SHELTER OPEN during a time of transition & financial hardship.  It is also a blessed way to celebrate the legacy of Mary Beittel, our longtime Director & Advocate for the most vulnerable.

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You can also Text2Connect your donation for The Open Shelter during THE BIG GIVE.  

1) Just text 458 to 614-230-0347

2) Text2Connect will send you a link to complete your donation!

3) Easy Peasy!

THE OPEN SHELTER  61 E. Mound St.  
Columbus OH  43215-5121

www.TheOpenShelter.org   614-222-2885
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Enjoy A Barrrrrrrrgain at HOOT!

On the final Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM, Gateway Film Center provides stimulating activities for families, including games, story readings, Dance Cam where kids and their families can watch themselves bust a move on the big screen and more. At 11:00 AM, enjoy live music by The Shazzbots! and kid-friendly short films. All presentations in the HOOT Family Film Series at the Gateway Film Center are “G” rated and admission to the series is free with a suggested donation of a canned good to benefit The Open Shelter.

This month’s (9/30) theme is PIRATES.

Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201.

Hope For The Homeless Fundraiser!

We had so much fun we are doing it again!
Join us at the Crazee Mule Pub & Grill (6188 Cleveland Ave., Columbus OH  43231) for a fun day of music from One Notch Down & Ancient Alien Theorists, food, drinks, prize drawings, silent auctions & raffles .
Proceeds will benefit The Open Shelter and those we serve.
It all happens Sunday, September 24th kicking off at 1pm with Former Buckeye & Co-Host of ABC 6’s “The Football Fever”, Matt Finkes!

           

ITEMS UP FOR BID AT THE “HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS” FUNDRAISER!

(10) Columbus Square Bowling Palace passes for two free games of bowling. Retail Value $100.

(8) Columbus Zoo Complimentary Admission Passes from 98.9 The Answer.  Retail Value $120.

(5) Pairs of Columbus Blue Jackets Tickets (10/25 vs Buffalo, 11/28 vs Carolina, 12/31 vs Tampa, 1/12 vs Vancouver, 3/8 vs Colorado) from Jill Fetzer.  Retail Value $375.

(5) FanMugs (2 Cleveland Browns, 2 Ohio State Buckeyes & 1 Spielman Gridiron Classic autographed by Chris Spielman) from Doug Lessells.  Retail Value $85.

(4) Columbus Zoo Complimentary Admission Passes.  Retail Value $60.

(4) Hilliard Wall Systems Decorative Wall Plaques.  Retail Value $100.

(2) Lion’s Den Prize Packs (Each has an $100 gift card, bottle of “toy cleaner”, bottle of personal lubricant, edible massage candle & 3 bottles of flavored lubricant).  Retail Value $179 each.

(2) Shadowbox Live Ticket Packages (1 good for 8 free admissions to an evening performance & 1 good for 8 free admissions to a “Lunchbox” performance.)  Retail Value $320.
               

(2) Crystal Mountain Water Coolers.  Retail Value $700.

(2) Alex & Ani Bracelets from Meyer’s Jewelers (1 Stand Up Energy, 1 Compass) Retail $30 each.

(2) Gateway Film Center Guest Passes.  Retail Value $20.

(2)  $20 Schmidt’s Sausage Haus Gift Certificates.

(2) Rooster’s $10 Gift Certificates.

(2) CAPA Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” at The Ohio Theatre 11/26 at 7:30pm. Retail Value $64.

(2) Haunted Mountain (Chillicothe) Complimentary Tickets.  Retail Value $26.

(2) COSI Complimentary Admission Guest Passes.   Retail Value $40.

(1) Allie’s Originals Photography One Hour Family Session.  Retail Value $200.

(1) Cleveland Browns Autographed Wilson NFL Football (Emmanuel Ogbah #90).  Retail Value $100.

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers Gift Pack (Insignia Soft Bag, T-Shirt, Pen, Pencil, Hat, Squeeze Ball & Notepad).  Retail Value $55.

(1) Too’s & Three’s Gift Pack ($25 Gift Certificate & 2 T-Shirts) Retail Value $80.

(1) Chick-Fil-A Gift Bag (2 Small Souvenir Cows, Sunglasses, 3 Promo Cards for a free sandwich, 2 Promo Cards for a free kid’s meal, 2 Promo Cards for a free treat & 1 Promo Card for a free medium hot coffee).  Retail Value $40.

(1) Columbus Museum of Art Gift Pack (1 Complimentary Family Admission Pass, 1 T-Shirt, 1 CMOA Program, 1 CMOA Collection Pocket Guide, 1 Poster, 1 Notepad, 1 Pen, 1 Pair of Sunglasses, 3 Postcards & 4 Collectible Buttons).  Retail Value $80.

(1) Auto Smarts Radio Gift Pack (2 Free Coupons for a 12-Pack of any Pepsi Product, 2 Columbus Zoo Complimentary Admission Passes & $50 in Rooster’s Gift Certificates). $75 Retail Value.

(1) Lindey’s Restaurant German Village $50 Gift Card.

(1) City Barbeque $20 Gift Card.

(1) Dirty Frank’s $20 Gift Card.

(1) Northland Heating & Cooling Certificate Good for a Free Furnace Tune-Up.  Retail Value $100.

 

Celebrating The Life Of Mary Beittel

We would like to thank everyone who attended & volunteered for the Memorial Service for Mary A. Beittel, who served so many years by the side of her husband, Kent Beittel as Executive Team of The Open Shelter.  It was heartwarming to see so many familiar faces come out to pay respect to her memory.  Thank you to Broad Street United Methodist Church, St. Agatha & Our Lady Of Peace Parishes for helping.
     

Rita Price wrote a wonderful article for The Columbus Dispatch about the service.  We also would like to thank Barbara J. Perenic for poignant pictures of the service.

The article can be read HERE.

Please consider making a contribution to continue Mary’s legacy of helping the homeless and marginally housed in our community.  Thank You.

HELP THE OPEN SHELTER BY ATTENDING THE NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP FOR FREE!

YOU can help support The Open Shelter by attending the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (8/31-9/3) and redeeming our Charity Ticket at the gate!  YOU get in FREE with the ticket!  Even better, with every Open Shelter ticket redeemed, a $10 donation will be made to The Open Shelter, which will help the homeless & marginally housed in our community.

 

To help The Open Shelter, PRINT this ticket The Open Shelter and hand it in at the gate.  The gates will be staffed daily until 4 pm.  Tickets can be printed in black & white.  You can use an Open Shelter Charity Ticket for each day of the tournament & also give them out to you friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, classmates & fellow parishioners!  So print as many as you can & SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!!


The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is held annually at The Ohio State University Golf Club, Scarlet Course. It is the third of four Web.com Tour Finals events that help determine which players will earn PGA TOUR membership each season. At the end of the four Finals events, PGA TOUR cards will be awarded to the 25 leading money winners on the Web.com Tour with the remaining 25 cards going to those players who earn the most cumulative money in the four Finals events.

The Tournament has lots of fun activities for attendees including “Birdie Time Is Miller Time” at Pub Thirteen (located on Hole 13), a Putting Challenge for fans on the Practice Green & a FREE Pancake Breakfast on Sunday (9/3) Morning)!  Get more info at http://www.ncc-golf.com.

 

We would like to thank the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship & the HNS Sports Group for allowing us to be a a part of this exciting event!

Beat The Back To School Blues With “HOOT”!

On the final Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM, Gateway Film Center provides stimulating activities for families, including games, story readings, Dance Cam where kids and their families can watch themselves bust a move on the big screen and more. At 11:00 AM, enjoy live music by The Shazzbots! and kid-friendly short films. All presentations in the HOOT Family Film Series at the Gateway Film Center are “G” rated and admission to the series is free with a suggested donation of a canned good to benefit The Open Shelter.

This month’s (8/26) theme is BACK TO SCHOOL.
Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201.