Aileen’s (Almost) June 2021 Update: Inaugural Cohort of Aileen’s Peer Leaders to Graduate (& Get Hired)

Hello friends of Aileen’s,

It’s been over a year since our beautiful community was dealt a huge blow as COVID-19 pandemic spread, forcing us to temporarily shut down our busy community organizing and hospitality space and improvise food and resource distribution out of parking lots as we all lived through a crisis.

Aileen’s peer leaders have been there all along, gathering several times every week to distribute food, personal protection equipment, supplies, clothing, and other resources to the community in dire need after many open public spaces and charity services disappeared. Out of our first cohort of ten peer leaders, seven of them still remain (our original plan was to add new folks and graduate older ones as we went, but it didn’t go as planned due to the pandemic), and they have come a long way in their personal healing and growth coinciding with the growth of Aileen’s as an organization. We are happy to report that majority of our peer leaders are no longer homeless. Other milestones for individual peer leaders include graduating from substance use treatment, making progress on court-related issues, restoration of driving privileges, progress on goals related to harm reduction and health, and surviving the pandemic.

In June, we are holding a graduation ceremony for our initial cohort of Aileen’s peer leadership team, some of whom will move on to paid staff positions at Aileen’s to mentor and support new groups of women. In fact, a couple of them have already been hired and we plan to add more as we can figure out finances and logistics. As staff, they will receive a yearlong staff training program with the goal of each of them developing their own case management caseloads and becoming Washington State certified peer counselors.

(Here goes the obligatory fundraising pitch): Thank you for your continued support for Aileen’s as we move out of the improvisational crisis response mode and embark on a long-term strategy to draw our peer leaders into more executive positions within the organization. We appreciate your financial support as well as donations of food, clothing, and other resources, and social support connecting us to people and resources you have access to via social media and word of mouth.

As always, one-time or monthly donations can be made on our online platforms, and if you have items to donate, please do not hesitate to email us at We are also looking for volunteers who are fully vaccinated who can come help with our outreach, especially if you can drive.

One-time donation – gofundme

Monthly donations – patreon

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