CommonBond Communities recently received a $10,000 grant from the Cedar Valley United Way for services provided to the 130 residents at Unity Square in Waterloo, Iowa. This first-time, two-year grant will be used to support the Education and Advancement Program already in place.
Unity Square consists of two-, three- and four-bedroom units and the Mercy Advantage Center where free, onsite programs and services are provided. Our Education and Advancement program supports adult residents, and the 79 children who call Unity Square their home. The United Way-funded program focuses on providing onsite employment services, financial coaching and services, and assistance with accessing income supports.
CommonBond is thrilled to partner with the Cedar Valley United Way to help create strong communities and be a positive agent for change. Special thanks to our Advantage Service Coordinator, Shinita Crawley, and Property Manager, Coretta Crawley, for their important work with residents on a daily basis.
Help young residents of CommonBond Communities get off to a great start with the school year. Many families living in CommonBond apartments struggle to provide their children with materials for school. By purchasing a backpack for a kindergartner, elementary school student, or teen, you can give students from families with low incomes the supplies they need to succeed in school.
The primary bundle is for students in grades PreK – 2, the elementary bundle is for those in grades 3 – 6, and the junior high bundle is for those in grades 7 – 12.
Purchase a backpack today (the backpack drive ends on August 5), and it’ll be distributed before the start of the school year. On behalf of the 2,000 youth who live in CommonBond homes, thank you for your support!
Save the dates for CommonBond’s seventh annual Birdies for Hope event. The golf event will take place at the Minneapolis Golf Club on Monday, September 19, and the hunt event at the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club on Friday, September 23. The hunters will be joined by celebrity guest emcee Laura Schara.
Laura appears weekly on Fox Sports Network’s Due North Outdoors and nationally televised Destination Polaris.She also hosts MN Bound’s Wild in the Kitchen segments on NBC, creating easy wild game recipes. Laura’s passion for the outdoors was passed onto her from her outdoor enthusiast father, Ron Schara, who taught her to be a successful hunter and angler. Her best catch to date is a 46-inch Muskie caught on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. She’s s also an avid sporting clay shooter and will participate in the Birdies for Hope shoot.
These exclusive events host up to 80 hunters and 144 golfers. Both events conclude with dinner, awards, raffles, exciting giveaways, and live and silent auctions. All proceeds benefit CommonBond’s youth programming. Together, we can provide brighter and stronger futures for the youth living in our housing communities.
Kanisha moved to Des Moines two years ago after losing her housing in Atlanta. She and her son were fleeing domestic violence and arrived in Iowa without a car, driver’s license, job, home, money, or any knowledge of the city. She was worried about finding a safe place for her and her son to stay.
They stayed with her mother for a short time, but after that Kanisha could not find the support and stability she hoped for and soon found herself homeless and in a shelter. There, they were given 30 days – an incredibly short time to navigate the area and to find income, childcare, and housing. At that point, she connected with CommonBond and met Evelyn, an Advantage Services Coordinator for CommonBond.
“CommonBond was my light at the end of the tunnel,” said Kanisha.
Evelyn assisted Kanisha through the extensive process of applying for an available apartment and referred her to agencies that could provide financial support until she was on her feet. Three weeks later, Kanisha moved into a CommonBond apartment and finally had a place to call home. There, she was able to fully utilize the services offered. She looked for better employment, enrolled her son in school, and set goals of getting a driver’s license and familiarizing herself with the city.
“When I needed to fax papers or search the internet, I didn’t have to go far. When I didn’t have quite enough food, I knew Ms. Evelyn would know how to find help,” Kanisha says. “My son found a staff mentor in CommonBond’s after-school program and he loved it. I knew that despite my family composition, there was still some support available to me and my son. I was never treated poorly nor disrespected.”
A home is a foundation that makes so much else possible. With an affordable, stable home and the support of Advantage Services, Kanisha has flourished in the two years since she moved to Des Moines. Today, she owns her own business, Tutus & Tennis Shoes, where she provides salon services and supports education, creativity, and positive self-image in youth and families. She has also assisted with the homework study program at her property, and is described by staff as a “natural connector” between other residents. Kanisha achieved her initial goals and continues to grow – persevering as an amazing mom and business owner.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without this community. I thank CommonBond and Evelyn for all the support!” says Kanisha.