Rosie’s Place- making a difference and spreading kindness

July 12, 2017

Rahul Mehta, 19, grew up in Millstone, New Jersey and is currently a freshman at Northeastern University studying Behavioral Neuroscience on a pre-medical track. Rahul is intrigued by how the chemical and biological makeup of the brain affects behavior. His interest in spreading kindness began in high school when he founded a club that aimed to reduce bullying in school, and this passion has extended into college. In his free time, Rahul enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, and going to the gym.

Providing support to those around us who need it is important. Putting race, religion, gender, and any other differences aside, people should be able to get help if they need it. With that belief in mind, I set out to find people or places that do just that – provide help for those who need it.

After conducting some research, I found Rosie’s Place, a local sanctuary for homeless and low income women that provides all sorts of services that they may need at no cost. This embodies the definition of kindness: doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.

I reached out to Rosie’s Place to gather more information and spoke to Michele Chausse, the Director of Communications for the organization.

What is Rosie’s Place?
Rosie’s Place is a community center that provides food, shelter, and sanctuary to more than 12,000 women a year in the South End of Boston. Rosie’s Place offers women with a variety of services, such as free showers, lockers, three meals a day and food pantry, overnight shelter, one-on-one support, and job and permanent housing search assistance. Other services offered include English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes. The organization strives to meet women’s needs based on wherever they are in their lives.

As Channel Kindness reporters, we are trained to keep our eyes peeled for kindness. We define kindness as doing something for someone without expecting anything in return. My question is, how do you think this definition applies to Rosie’s Place?
Our guiding principle at Rosie’s Place is to treat every woman who walks through the door with open arms, no judgement, and unconditional love and understanding. Our philosophy of kindness is shown in the way we treat our guests. All our services are free; we never ask them for any form of compensation. Our organization’s goals are also never imposed on guests. We’re able to do what we feel is best for the women in the community due to private donations and no government money. This allows us to have no limits on what we do. Through this, we are able to see kindness through the special approach we have towards our guests and the relationships that grow from that. When founded in 1974, Kip Tiernan, our founder, wanted to create a warm and welcoming place for women. She wanted to create a space where it felt like someone cared for you, where you could go get a cup of coffee, or just hang out. The interesting part is, Rosie from “Rosie’s Place” doesn’t really exist, but she exists to the employees of the organization as a kind, welcoming, and helpful person. We use these ideas to guide us in our actions at Rosie’s Place.

I was wondering if you could tell me about your experiences with Rosie’s Place and what impact you’ve seen that it has on the community?
Rosie’s Place is able to fill a need that was not met at the time it was founded in 1974. We help women to try to imagine a better future for themselves. We help women leave homelessness and find permanent housing. We also help them find the services they need in the form of mental health services or medical care. We also have begun to offer our services at satellite locations in order to better serve more Boston women’s needs. Overall, we help women get their footing and move towards a difference in their lives, and perhaps a better future.

What has been your favorite part of working at Rosie’s Place?
Getting to know certain guests very well. I feel privileged when I get to hear their stories. It really allows me to see how strong they are and how we can hopefully have an impact on their life.

This interview was edited for flow and clarity.

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