Books: “The Girl’s Guide To Homelessness”

Brianna Karp is an employed, educated capable young woman who has been working her whole life.  She is also homeless.  Her first book, “The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness” chronicles the journey from typical Southern California teen to becoming one voice out of millions of people without a permanent address.  Her book is touching, funny, infuriating and hopeful.  You can check it out in Fresh Start’s Library, too!

As we enter the summer months here in Arizona, it becomes an especially dangerous time for people without shelter.  The heat can kill, and keeping cool and healthy can be a challenge.   

If you are currently seeking shelter, here are some resources:

  • CONTACTS Shelter Hotline: 602-263-8900 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • HOPE Homeless Outreach: 480-350-8950  M-F/7am-5pm
  • Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness: 602-340-9393

 If you want to get to know Brianna, you can also follow her blog at:


School’s Out, Summer is here

Can you believe summer is here?  School’s out for summer!  Now that the kiddos are home for summer break, enjoy that extra time for family.  Say good-bye to boredom and hello to free family fun! Here are some budget friendly ideas for you and your family to enjoy.

1. Visit Fresh Start! Fresh Start is offering a free workshop this summer, called Building Peaceful Families. While you’re attending any  class or using any Fresh Start service,  your children can have fun at Fresh Start’s free Child Watch.  Child Watch services are free of charge to Fresh Start mothers and their children.  Child Watch is available  for children from infancy to 12 years of age on Mondays-Thursdays from 11 am-8pm and Saturdays 9am-2pm.

2.  Take your kids to the library.   All of the area libraries have story times for the younger kids, and programs and events for the older ones.

3.  Got skates or a skateboard? The valley now has several free skate parks. Novice skaters can watch the more experienced ones practice.

4.  There are more than 400 animals on display at the Cabela’s store  in Glendale, AZ. Some were real animals that were stuffed, and some are original creations. All are very lifelike, from the tiny mouse to the huge elephant. Sure, it’s primarily a hunting and fishing store but the exhibits are great.

5.  Take the kids swimming! There are several community pools  all around the valley. Most charge a very nominal fee. If your kids don’t swim yet, many of the area parks now have splash pads and splash playgrounds during the summer.

Multi-tasking Through Volunteerism! – Ways that you can fulfill your desire to give back to the community and check-off items on your “To-Do” list at the same time!

These days we live in what seems to be a time-deprived world. We sit on our couch at the end of the day wondering, “Just where did the time go?” With the fast-paced drive that we all seem to have, multi-tasking is always a necessary method of ensuring we’ve accomplished at least 80 out of the quadrillion things on our list!

Listening to an audio book while we drive, visiting the super marts where we can shop for our son’s shoes, pick up a chicken dinner and movie rental all while scheduling a doctor appointment over the phone are just a few of the many ways we’ve learned to cut time and pressure.

But, have you ever thought of volunteering as a way to multi-task? Many of us have had the passion for giving back to the communities in which we live but just don’t seem to have the time to do it. Here are just a few samples of how to clear a few extra minutes on the dreaded clock:

  • Quality Time with Family & Friends – Think of an opportunity to volunteer at a location where you can join a group. Maybe packing food boxes at a local food bank with your family, schedule an outing to assist with a neighborhood project or join a friend at a local youth organization where you can read to kids or organize an activity where everyone is involved.
  • Make New Friends – Meet others with similar passions and interests and also have an opportunity to network, building relationships that may land you that new job while you contribute time and talent to those in need.
  • Newly Retired – Miss having that regular schedule? Volunteer at a non-profit agency on a weekly basis. Just a few hours per week will bring much needed help to the organization and fulfill your need to have a schedule without the required 9 to 5.
  • Expand Your Resume with New Skills and Experience – Adding new skills through volunteer experience is always a positive whether for resume building or personal fulfillment. Brush up on your marketing skills by assisting with a fundraiser or add to your excellent planting skills with an Earth Day project.

There are several ways that you can check items off of your list while donating a small amount of time. And even when you feel you just can’t commit to an hour or two out of your day, find a worthy cause you are most passionate about and take a few moments to make a small monetary donation. A little always goes a long way.

If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation to Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, please contact our office at 602-252-8494 or visit our website at