Helping the Homeless Feels Selfish

By Sandra Fathi | On March 24, 2015

A few weeks ago we issued a press release about how companies can be more profitable by giving time and money away to charity. In a few weeks, we’ll have the distinct pleasure of hosting a carnival for children and their families at the Jennie A. Clarke residence, a homeless shelter, in Harlem, for the third year in a row. The shelter is part of the Women in Need (WIN) program, that provides transitional housing and vital services to break the cycle of homelessness.

Typically, our team plans for months to host approximately 100 children (toddlers to teenagers) and their parents, we operate carnival games, serve food, give away prizes and provide gifts to all of the children who have birthdays that quarter. Often, these gifts are the only ones the children receive for their birthdays and the only cake they have to celebrate. We naively ask them questions about their hobbies, their siblings or school while they choose a tattoo or have their faces painted. Sometimes when we hear their responses, we have to hold back the tears as they tell us about hardships that we can only imagine. They live in a New York that most of us have never seen and never experienced. We smile and try to focus on giving them this one happy moment at a very difficult time in their childhood. We hope that we are making a difference for them but more than anything, I know that they are making a difference for us.

As a team, we walk away from this event with a greater appreciation for all that we have, for our homes, for our families, for our jobs, for our colleagues and for the opportunities that we have been afforded in life. It is one of the annual events that I look forward to the most at Affect, yet I often feel that we take away much more value than we can ever give to these children. I am so grateful that we have the opportunity at Affect to support this charity and I hope that you will consider joining us as well in supporting this worthy cause.

We’ve set up a YouCaring campaign where you can donate, or consider visiting WIN to volunteer or get involved, or even share this information on social media. Thank you for your support.


Sandra Fathi

Sandra Fathi is President and Founder of Affect, a public relations and social media agency. She is also the current PRSA Tri-State District Chair. Sandra has spent the past 20 years helping technology companies achieve their communications goals. Prior to founding Affect in 2002, Sandra led corporate communications and investor relations for RADVISION, a provider of video conferencing infrastructure products.