“We share these stories, and are reminded just how profound it is to be a part CEF. We share them with gratitude for the whole wide CEF family—Members, Advocates, supporters, and friends. Thank you for reading, writing, and living this story with us!”
How one Member’s passion for quilting is spreading love and togetherness at CEF
David believes that every quilt is an opportunity for connection. “Our society is losing that personal touch, and in that process of us making that quilt, if someone is bothered about something, we have the chance to talk about it.” Originally from Sanford, North Carolina, David moved to Chapel Hill last summer to receive better medical care for his sickness and quickly found himself without a place to stay. “I’ve never experienced homelessness until now.”
David’s passion for quilting is life long. “I have been quilting for 30 years or more. When I was young I couldn’t play outside too much, I used to sew my mother’s clothes and when I got older I took an industrial sewing class.”
David was initially connected to CEF through the IFC men’s shelter. “I wanted to see all I could about all the people around, and I found out about CEF the day during that time I was sick. He (his advocate Kevin) was just like a brother. What I did is a lot of the meetings, and during that time and I was going to Opportunity Class. I was just trying to get a feel for what things were going.” David also enjoys engaging in Talking Sidewalks and CEF’s Advocacy Choir, where he performed for the CEF TED Talk in Memorial Hall this past April. His weekly meetings with his Advocate Kevin, however, sometimes included searching for local quilting groups to join “I liked taking something you would throw away and making something beautiful.”
In February of 2017, David, alongside Kevin, launched the first ever Quilting Circle in the Chapel Hill office. The Quilting Circle allows Members and Advocates to enjoy a community that socializes, relaxes and celebrates each other. “The thing about old-fashioned quilting is that it takes everyone together in the circle to make it. Quilting forces us to talk to each other about things and, in turn, we start to form a strong bond.” Each week, that is exactly what Members and Advocates do, gathering in the CEF office for a collaborative craft and safe space to support and celebrate one another. David, who is currently staying in the shelter, provides all the fabric and supplies himself. He has successfully gotten some supplies donated through the Scrap Exchange in Durham. His quilting projects vary from week to week as he brings new projects to keep people interested and learning. “I just take everything and look at the goodness of it because you can turn everything around and make it pretty, Cause you know, everybody has faults, everyone has needs, everyone is human so live and let live.”
The first quilt is set to be put up in the office this summer. “This is my way of giving back for everything y’all have done for me. If it wasn’t for CEF in this moment, in this time, these people would not be able to come together and make something so beautiful.”
So what is David looking forward to? ”To be in my own place so I can keep on quilting. I am going to quilt and sew until the day I leave the earth.”
Sound amazing? Come to Quilting Circle any Thursday at 6:00pm in the Chapel Hill office and see for yourself! No experience necessary.
The CEF Community is proud to announce the 6th annual Financial Independence Day on Saturday July 8th at Umstead Park in Chapel Hill. Join us as we celebrate member savings, accomplishments and financial freedom!
Things to get excited about
- Performances by the infamous CEF Advocacy Choir
- The Safe Savings raffle with prizes
- Live entertainment and a showcasing of community talents
- Arts and crafts and other fun activities for children
Things to know:
- Carpools are available (make sure to RSVP)
- Bringing a side dish if you want to share!
- Bring a chair or a picnic blanket to share if you have extra!
Thanks for coming to the Party on April 13th!
Presented at the 2017 TEDxUNC event at Memorial Hall: CEF’s Co-Founders / Co-Directors sharing the transformative story of a group of college students and shelter residents who built a community organization and financial tools that support sustained transitions out of homelessness. The CEF Advocacy Choir sings to close out the talk, with an original song about the joy of finding a home after experiencing homelessness.
Join us Sunday, April 2nd from 1-2pm at UNC Memorial Hall to hear Co-founders and Co-Directors Maggie West, Jon Young, and Janet Xiao share the story of how a student group transformed into a non-profit and a community that strives together towards better solutions and supports for individuals experiencing and at-risk of homelessness. The CEF Advocacy Choir and will be unveiling a new celebration song, that captures the joy of moving from homelessness into housing.
TEDxUNC is an all afternoon event from 12-6pm, with speakers of all kinds speaking about topics related to the idea of home. CEF’s presentation will be at the end of the 2nd section called “Boroughs” that is happening from 1-2pm. Please come at 1 pm if you can to catch our talk!
You don’t need tickets to attend – it’s open to the public at Memorial Hall. Hope to see you there!
Members and Advocates, join in a special part of the talk by singing with the CEF Advocacy Choir. Contact us at (919) 200-0233 or reach out to Yvette at email@example.com to join in!
“CEF helped me find my place in the world. I’ve had the good fortune to leave CEF twice, first when I graduated from UNC and now as I leave the professional staff. Both times I’ve left with a truer understanding of the world, a deeper sense of my own passions and abilities, and a clearer vision for making the biggest impact I possibly can. CEF has exposed, challenged, and stretched me in ways that I cannot imagine happening anywhere else, so I give CEF a lot of credit. I’ll add that I would not have gotten into grad school were it not for CEF Opportunity Class!” — Matt Kauffmann
Quotes from Advocates and Members at the final SOWO 490 – Tools for Financial Coaching class at UNC.
“There is this sort of magic and common-ground found when people start to talk about the people they love.”
“I had a stumble in my life, but I’m back now, I’m all the way back. I just thank God that there is a CEF as a whole, and for getting me to open up about my life because I’m normally guarded, even with the positive stuff. Basically, this is thanksgiving after Thanksgiving. I’m in a good place now.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about how… no decision you make or thing you do is going to guarantee you any outcome.”
“This is my baby, the attributes that she has, all the suggestions… she does a lot of homework for me, but I do work with her. I look forward to our weekly meetings, she knows what I’m going to talk about next week. I like her analytical mind and frame of thought, she looks at me as an individual and I look forward to seeing her prosper!”
“I was reminded that everyone has a story and everyone has been through different experiences and learned through them.”
“No two people are alike — we all have challenges we have obstacles we have strengths — and I think all of us would agree that we would not know where we would be without CEF — true, we all fall down, but we have someone who can assist us. We are all grateful and thankful.”
“Young people have in their mind, that things can happen; but you need to have a plan B, C, D, E… go all the way to Z, because anything can happen.”
“No matter what level of what it may be, it’s how you come back from it that matters”
“We take everything for granted that it’s going to be the same way the next day, but you could have a stroke while you’re sleeping and everything will change for you. But learn to be yourself and to love yourself. I used to work hard and have 3 jobs working all the time, but then a little simple thing like riding a bus took my job away. And then I got sick and I had to juggle it, do you want the medicine, or your food, or the lights? But I’m a proud individual today because I love myself, even though I’m not able to talk 100% the way I want to, I’m able to stand in the middle in the storm because I made it!”
Darcia is not a typical Advocate. Once a week she volunteers her time through CEF’s Orange Community Hub to help Members establish or reestablish identification and documentation. This work of obtaining photos IDs, birth certificates, and social security cards can become very complex, and requires the time of someone like Darcia who can offer her dedication and deep understanding of all different factors at play!
What is the role of documentation?
Documentation is the bedrock or the foundation of life’s needs in our society. It is fundamental to securing housing and employment. It is not a barrier to—as much as it is essential.
How has this work affected your views on poverty?
I always thought of myself as someone who thinks about others, but this work makes me feel the weight and enormity of it all, how overwhelming it must be. We as individuals often live in our own space with our own worries, and then you have people with such different—more vital concerns
What have you learned about the systems that provide and sometimes complicate the process of securing identification?
I have found that people really do want to be helpful for the most part, but there are a lot of rules. Sometimes it can be very challenging when people are not moving forward with the process or it is simply taking forever. One birth certificate was weeks overdue. I called many times and they consistently told me they were processing it, but a week later there would be no progress. The Member stopped coming as a result, so I’m not sure what happened with that case.
How did you get involved?
I was previously involved with Love Chapel Hill, an action-orientated, church-based organization whose mission is to help the homeless within our community. And then I think I met Jon or Maggie(CEF’s Co-founders) at Starbucks and they told me about CEF.
Ultimately, I saw the need. I had friends who were already coming to me asking if I could help them procure documentation for others. I approached Maggie or Jon and said “what if I came in for a few hours a week and helped members with this sort of thing,” and that is exactly what ended up happening!
What is the hardest case you have worked on?
Often times I am asked to establish ID for individuals who need to keep their whereabouts confidential. My concern has been that an individual trying to get an ID would end up on the public record, and risk them being found. Usually, I tell the individuals that this is a risk that cannot be taken in their situation and that the best course of action is to talk to the attorney general or someone in the state department.
What has been your most inspirational case?
I once had a member that was so persistent in asking me, ‘when am I gonna get it, when am I gonna get it’ because he urgently needed it for a job application. He was so persistent that when I saw him on Columbia Street, he came up to me to tell me he still had not received his ID. At that very moment, I put my stuff down and called up vital records right then and there. He got his ID not long after.
CEF is offering community nonprofits, premium downtown offices!
Starting at $350/month — 5 Offices Available!
Discounted rates when leasing multiple offices!
- Utilities, high-speed Wi-Fi and janitorial services
- Furnished offices available at no extra cost
- Shared conference room
- Non-Profit Partners!
- Opportunities for program collaboration
- Shared resources and collective impact
- Where: Ground floor of 208 N. Columbia Street, Chapel Hill
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 919-200-0233
- More about the OC Hub at: www.communityef.org/oc-hub