7th Annual Cornhole Tournament

September 24, 2021 • aaitken

The best party this side of Front Street (for a good cause, too)!

The numbers are in and you guys absolutely killed it!

$12,355 in donations to Star House.

This has been our biggest Cornhole Tournament thus far and we have a lot of shout outs to dole out.

First off, congratulations to Bob Stohr and Jason Minser, the champions of this year’s Cornhole Tournament. Out of 38 teams, these guys came out on top. We hope you put those Yetis to good use and display those WSA Duck trophies with pride!

Second off, major shout out to Melissa Brofford from DISH Network who won the 50/50 raffle and donated the entire amount back to Star House! We are loving that spirit of giving and appreciate your generosity.

The silent auction really blew up this year with paintings and other art pieces raking in the highest donations. Thank you to all of the bidders and those who brought in donation items for joining in on the fun.

Cornhole would not have been possible without our awesome sponsors: Premier Commercial Construction, Dupler, King Business Interiors, Lighting Systems of Columbus, RJE Business Interiors, Patcraft, DIRTT, and Daltile.

Special thank yous to Cory Klein Photography for documenting the event, Seven Little Sliders & Columbus Brewing Company for keeping us full, Trent Harmon & Anthony Mossburg for the jams, and last, but certainly not least, our very own Tim Hawk for having a birthday and throwing the first cornhole tournament that sparked this whole party 8 years ago. We’ve really come a long way and are already brainstorming how we’ll top this for next year.

Now that we’ve piqued your interest in Star House, check out our chat with Brittany Stricklen-Hyland, Development Director at Star House, about how we can continue supporting Star House Columbus.

So, tell us a little bit about Star House.

“Star House is a social service agency that operates Central Ohio’s only drop-in center for youth, ages 14-24, who are experiencing homelessness and their small children. We offer young people a safe respite from the streets, immediate access to basic needs and connections to stabilizing resources, such as housing, transportation, health care, employment, education, addiction services, legal aid, government benefits, ID cards and more. In addition, along with Finance Fund and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Star House operates Carol Stewart Village (CSV)—a neighborhood for young adults, ages 18-24, with on-site programs and services.”

What makes Star House unique?

“There is no requirement to access Star House services except age (14-24) and housing instability. This allows youth to feel that they can approach our center without being denied treatment due to lack of proper documents, files or money. Once at our drop-in center, located in the Milo Grogan neighborhood of Columbus, youth have immediate access to food, clothing and a safe place to be and rest. Beyond basic needs, the center provides low barrier access to case management, mental health therapy, medical care and connection to housing, jobs, education, transportation, legal assistance, and more crucial resources. The unique importance of a drop-in center is the immediacy of access to services and the patient, relational approach to resource connection.

Star House is the only drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness in Central Ohio. It is also the only drop-in center in the country offering continuous best-practice research, effective engagement, linkage, and treatment strategies that are tested and put into practice without myriad barriers in many other research-to-practice efforts. Through our partnership with OSU, Star House is always testing and implementing state of the art, evidence-based practices. The research component significantly enhances the quality and effectiveness of the services we provide.

Something that makes Star House particularly unique is how we are addressing systemic housing instability and employment. To successfully transition into long-term housing stability, any one of us needs to sustain the following: housing, a livable-wage career, health and well-being and a supportive community. Without all four in place, we are susceptible to chronic mobility—living without a place to call home.

To address this need, Star House established a partnership with Finance Fund to transform two blighted motels, situated on four acres in Franklinton, into an affordable, supportive neighborhood for youth, ages 18 to 24. In August 2020, we opened Carol Stewart Village. Named after a long-time Franklinton civic advocate, Carol Stewart Village offers 62 efficiency apartments and on-site access to transitional jobs, education, health care and social connections through mentorships, peer support and community engagement options.”

Can you give us a glimpse into how Star House has impacted the youth of Columbus?

“There are just so many ways.

A young guest of Star House, as an example, had been homeless for many years. She was in and out of the foster care system for a decade and aged out at age 18. She had been living on the streets ever since. Recently, Star House’s clinical team was able to connect the young woman with housing at Carol Stewart Village, Star House and Finance Fund’s affordable, supportive neighborhood for youth, ages 18 to 24. When the guest learned that she had officially obtained an apartment, she became very emotional, sharing that this will be the first time she has had a bed of her own since she was 8 years old. Being housed at Carol Stewart Village will allow this guest to continue to make amazing strides in her healing and receive the support she needs to thrive.

Another guest’s journey with Star House began a few years ago. She suffered from addiction and was in an abusive relationship, sleeping in abandoned alleyways and tents and doing whatever she could to survive (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic). She didn’t know what to do to get her life back on track, but over the years, she visited the drop-in center and Star House staff and partners, like Mount Carmel, did everything they could to keep her alive. At the beginning of 2021, she was incarcerated. And even while she was incarcerated, her therapy with Star House staff continued. She recently shared the following: “Now I know how to use my brokenness to be empowered…it’s like the more I work on my traumas, the less hold they have on me. And it feels so good.” The guest credits getting arrested and Star House for why she is alive today.

Star House recently served a guest who is a new American who only speaks Swahili. As is customary, our staff reached out to our translation partners for translation services. However, we found that no one had a Swahili translator. Star House team members did their best to communicate with the guest using Google Translate, but the translations were difficult for him to understand. Our team continued searching for a translator in the community. Fortunately, thanks to a connection with Heritage Christian Church—one of our supporters—we were able to find a Swahili translator to better connect the young man with resources.

Plus, many Star House guests participate in YouthBuild, a dropout recovery high school that provides a more flexible way to complete

graduation requirements for young people, ages 16-24. With the support of YouthBuild staff, Star House’s Clinical Team and Youth Advocates, three Star House guests graduated in June 2021, receiving their GEDs as well as certifications in trade fields.”

Wow, Star House truly has a holistic approach and commitment to Columbus’ youth. How can we continue to support these important efforts?

“We have a wide variety of potential volunteer opportunities and ways to donate. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in supporting our program and the youth we serve to visit our website at starhouse.us. Our website contains all the information to help find the opportunity that’s best for you.”

Check out Star House here: https://www.starhouse.us/

 

Next year, same time, same place.

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