It's Feel Good Friday and for those of you in the market for a Christmas tree, I suggest visiting one of the lots run by the Delancey Street Foundation.
If you live in the Bay Area, you may recognize the Delancey Street Foundation for their Christmas tree lots, moving services or namesake restaurant along the Embarcadero. What you may not know is the history of Delancey Street and what they're all about.
As they explain on their website, "we are a community where people with nowhere to turn, turn their lives around." Since 1971, Delancey Street has been taking in "people in poverty, substance abusers, former felons, and others who have hit bottom."
If you've got 16 minutes to spare, I'd recommend watching this PBS New Heroes segment about Mimi Silbert, the Founder and CEO of Delancey Street. You get to hear about the program directly from her and current residents, and you get to see how hard it is to move a piano out of a San Francisco apartment.
Residents of Delancey Street stay a minimum of 2 years, with an average stay of 4. During that time, they learn three marketable skills and get their GED. Both the vocational and educational training is based on the "each one teach one" model with residents teaching each other the skills they've learned.
Their model is further explained on the website: "Our daily operations are not funded and we charge no fees. We pool all of our resources. There is no staff. The whole place is run by the residents themselves. All money is funded into the community, and each resident receives food, housing, clothing, education, entertainment and all other services at no cost."
In the 45 years Delancey Street has been operating, they have graduated over 18,000 students as "successful, taxpaying citizens leading decent, legitimate and productive lives." They now have facilities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York and South Carolina. You can read more about their accomplishments here.
If you already have your Christmas tree for this season, you can still support Delancey Street with a donation or by hiring them for catering, landscaping or moving services. You can also show your love on social media by liking both the foundation Facebook page and the restaurant Facebook page. Delancey Street Foundation, "Enter with a history, leave with a future."