Community West Blog

Peter Schindler

Recent Posts

Why Celebrate World Refugee Day?

Posted by Peter Schindler on Mon, Jun 13, 2016

For tens of thousands of people, the United States offers an opportunity to start over, as we are the No. 1 resettlement country in the world for refugees.

On June 20, the International Rescue Committee will host World Refugee Day to pay tribute to America’s legacy as a nation that welcomes refugees and helps them thrive. Community West Foundation will help the Refugee Services Collaborative kick off the celebration early by sponsoring a community picnic from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, June 18 at Edgewater Kite Field in Cleveland. Families are encouraged to bring a dish to share and a blanket. There, they can try new foods while meeting some of the hundreds of refugees who have become part of our community in the past few years. 

Sadly, we realize many people still have a negative perception of refugees. They are quick to believe common myths about refugees, why they have come here and the impact they have on our country.

Here are just a few reasons why we believe refugees make America great.

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It Is Enough

Posted by Peter Schindler on Tue, Apr 26, 2016

Photo Courtesy of

As Senior Program Officer for the Community West Foundation, I try my best to keep up with what is happening with the over 60 non-profit agencies we support. Yes, I do read as many newsletters and blogs as time will allow. I also enjoy talking with staff members from these agencies, as the conversation never ends without me learning something new about the challenges the agencies, and the people that they serve, are facing.

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MetroHealth Donates Ambulance Full of Socks

Posted by Peter Schindler on Wed, Mar 23, 2016


Thanks to MetroHealth hospital for caring in a BIG way by donating an ambulance full of socks – 6,000 pairs – to our SocksPLUS campaign!

Akram Boutros, President and CEO of MetroHealth, spoke about how happy they were to be involved in collecting these socks for the homeless, and thanked those from Metro and DrugMart, who both coordinated and donated the socks.
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Cleveland's 25th Homeless Stand Down Draws Record Crowds

Posted by Peter Schindler on Thu, Jan 28, 2016

This past Saturday there was an incredible energy throughout Public Hall as 1,670 of Cleveland’s homeless, including 400 veterans, stopped to gather donated items, eat a meal or just get out of the cold.

It was a record turnout for the 25th Annual Homeless Stand Down, which has grown substantially since it first began as a small event aimed at serving veterans.

The fact that it continues to grow shows we’ve got a long way to go in addressing the many needs of our community, but more and more organizations are stepping up to the challenge.

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More Ways You Can Help The Homeless In Cleveland

Posted by Peter Schindler on Mon, Aug 24, 2015

Last Friday evening I had the opportunity to visit the 78th Street Studios and headed straight for my favorite place, Gallery +, to see the photography of one of my favorite artists, Zach Hoon. 

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Refugee Response CEO: What Cleveland Refugees Need Most

Posted by Peter Schindler on Wed, Aug 19, 2015

About a quarter of the 600 and 700 refugees resettled in Northeast Ohio each year are children. 

After leaving their home countries and the only life they’ve known, their challenges are just beginning. Fortunately, a network of refugee support services in Cleveland is there to help them find jobs, enroll their children in schools and begin the long journey to citizenship.  

The Refugee Response is just one part of that equation, teaming up with resettlement agencies and Refugee Services Collaborative to provide job skills training, tutoring and other assistance.

On Saturday, Aug. 29, The Refugee Response and Community West Foundation will host “REAP the Benefit 2015: A Night on the Farm” to support the important work the Refugee Response does with job trainees at the Ohio City Farm, as well as its tutoring program. 

We recently spoke with Refugee Response CEO Darren Hamm, who shared insights into the most pressing needs of our local Cleveland refugees and how the community can support them.

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12 Striking Portraits That Reveal What It's Like To Be Homeless in Cleveland

Posted by Peter Schindler on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

The men at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry men's shelter come from all walks of life. Some are young adults kicked out of their homes by family members; others are long retired veterans. There are poets, former salesmen and proud fathers among them.

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Cleveland Poet Challenges Us To See the Homeless Differently

Posted by Peter Schindler on Fri, Mar 27, 2015


We may see someone walking the streets, asking for change, and think we know them when we're really just making assumptions. 

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Celebrate Spring and Help Cleveland’s Homeless With Upcoming Events

Posted by Peter Schindler on Fri, Mar 13, 2015

The snow may be melting with the first signs of spring, but the damp, chilly weather will linger for several more months. For those living on the street, spring is actually one of the most dangerous times of year.

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Finding Courage to Change: One Man’s Journey From Homelessness to Hope

Posted by Peter Schindler on Thu, Feb 19, 2015

As the program director for Metanoia Project, Carl Cook knows what a new pair of shoes can mean or how something as simple as a pair of socks can brighten someone’s day.

He knows, because he sees the reactions he gets from those he serves at his outreach programs. He also knows because he has been in their shoes in the most literal sense.  

Prior to coming to Metanoia, Cook spent several years living on the streets of Cleveland. Born into a successful family—his father was a federal judge; his mother a doctor—his life took a sharp turn when he became addicted to alcohol in his early 20s. He found hope again at the men’s homeless shelter at 2100 Lakeside Avenue, where he found recovery and a passion for helping others.

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