A Season of Service–Intern with Lydia Place

Each year, Lydia Place helps hundreds of local families break the cycle of homelessness, and each quarter, Lydia Place offers students and those interested in pursuing new fields of learning, internship positions that help to support their work and mission.  Internships range from human services, to marketing, to retail management. Internships offer the opportunity to gain real world experience, while working in an environment that is meaningful, and fulfilling.

Meet Izabel “lzzy” Jo, a nineteen year old Stanford University student who spent her summer interning with Lydia Place. Izzy worked as part of the Community Re-Housing Program. She spent her time working with Case Managers Hannah Vandermay, Janelle Barton, and her supervisor, Jeremy Caplan. From her first day at Lydia Place, Izzy had the opportunity to put her classroom learning into practice.

As she prepared to head back to school, Izzy reflected on her internship experience, “With Jeremy and other Case Managers in the CR Program, I had the opportunity to help with weekly and monthly client home visits, unit inspections, massive filing projects, and ultimately had the chance to chance to support staff and clients become housed. Along the way I learned so much about Lydia Place, where the funding comes from, and the inner-workings of a non-profit housing agency,” Izzy stated.

Izzy had a unique connection to Lydia Place, being related to a family that received housing and support from Lydia Place in years past. This motivated her to want to find a way to reconnect with the agency in a way that supported the mission, and fulfilled her personal and professional goals. The Lydia Place Internship Program offered Izzy this opportunity, and allowed her to see the inner workings of a social service agency, and serve others vulnerable families. Izzy recalled, “I was looking to serve at a non-profit and Lydia Place seemed like the perfect way to work, express gratitude, learn, and humble myself.”

Izzy approached her internship with an intense desire to learn about the cycle of homelessness and the role Lydia Place plays locally. “Today there are so many assumptions and stereotypes about what homelessness looks like and means, what you should think if someone is homeless, and what you should do. Most people do not know what the reality of not having a home looks and feels like, they only know that they are made uncomfortable when they see people on the street asking for money,” she said.

The highlights of her internship came in small moments each day. Izzy said that she was able to see how impactful the program and services are,and what a tangible difference Lydia Place makes in the community.

“The product of this work is a collection of stories of struggle, redemption, frustration, and gratitude. On any hard day you will always be able to look back on the stories of success that were written because of you, and know that what you are doing has meaning. The best part of this internship was getting to feel like I contributed to some of those stories, and Lydia Place’s mission to end homelessness,” Izzy said.

Interns play an important role at Lydia Place, not only benefiting the organization and clients, but also providing valuable experience to those participants. Internships can range from one to two quarters and are available in a variety of departments.

For Izzy, her expectations and hopes for her internship with Lydia Place perfectly matched her experience. “Everyone at Lydia Place is passionate about their work and it was so inspiring to see how people with passion make a difference. Looking back on the internship and what my goals were, I believe I got out of it everything I wanted and learned so much more than I expected.”

Lydia Place is currently accepting applications in a variety of departments including: Volunteer Coordination, Mental Health, Family Services, Community Re-Housing, Community Outreach and Wise Buys. To find out more about available internships at Lydia Place or Wise Buys, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lindsey Vis at lindseyv@lydiaplace.org, or call (360) 671-7663 ext. 1000.

Raising the Roof with the Gladstone Renovation


Spring is here and Lydia Place is raising the roof, literally! For nearly three-decades, we have been committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness for families and their children while expanding to meet the needs the community, without increasing the physical footprint of our organization. To continue to support homeless families in Whatcom County, this desperately needed renovation on our Gladstone Office location will include adding on a second story and remodeling the ground floor.

“In the past five years we have added over ten staff, increased housing placements by 30%, and added a parenting program and counseling services,” Lydia Place Director Emily O’Connor said. “However, through this significant growth, our physical operation space has remained the same. Staff have been tripled up in single offices, and we have relocated some staff to an offsite location.”


This necessary expansion project involving our program office required a nearly two-year capital campaign, Strengthening Families, Building Futures, that included the leadership and support of both Bellingham Bay Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Bellingham, who contributed $50,000 and $100,000 respectively to the project. Further, both clubs committed representatives to Lydia Place to support the building and material acquisition process. Construction is expected to last upwards of six-months, with RAM Construction and RMC Architects guiding the way, and a celebration and  ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Fall 2017.

Although construction has started, our campaign is not over yet. The Strengthening Families, Building Futures Campaign is nearing its goal, and our agency directors hope to close out the final round by the late Spring. Our Development and Outreach Director Shultzie Willows passionately believes that the last stretch of funding will be achieved soon.


“We have been very fortunate to receive the support of some incredible local community members, our Board of Directors, local rotary clubs, First Federal Foundation, RAM Construction and Norcliffe Foundation,” Willows said. “We are hopeful we can connect the last few dots and raise the final $75,000 needed to complete this project. We have no doubt that the community, and our partners will support us in this goal.”

To learn about the Strengthening Families, Building Futures Campaign, make a gift of support, or learn about the programs and services of Lydia Place contact, Shultzie Willows at 360-671-7663 ext 2001, email info@lydiaplace.org or visit lydiaplace.org today. Be sure to follow our Instagram account, @lydiaplace to see construction updates!



Handbags for Housing is June 2nd!

Bring your friends, family, colleagues and besties to the Lydia Place ladies’ (and men’s) night out, Handbags For Housing. This not-to-miss event includes the celebrated “handbag bazaar,” eclectic fashion show featuring over ten local stores and boutiques, live handbag auction, and a fun-filled raffle. Wine and cocktail samplings, paired with mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres round out this exciting and unique event – raising essential support for housing and services benefiting homeless families in our community.

Watch the Video

Tickets & Sponsorship Info

To learn more about tickets and sponsorship information, please click the link below!

Fortunes & Facials

Fortunes & Facials

You’re invited to a celebration of moms, mother-figures, and the people who love them while raising money to house the homeless.

Treat yourself to a glowing complexion with a Rodan + Fields Macro Exfoliator facial, gain insight from an illuminating one-card tarot reading, delight your palette with a delicious cocktail and snacks, relive the evening with a photo from the photo booth, and take home a swag bag featuring well-curated local goodies.

Share the glow: All proceeds from Rodan + Fields product sales will be donated to Lydia Place.

Tickets are $20 (plus and include a skincare consultation, facial, tarot reading, drink ticket, snacks, photo booth, and swag bag.

Space is limited to the first 50 people so get your tickets now!
Please note this event is 21+


Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)


Shakedown – 1212 North State Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

Additional Info

For tickets & additional information, please click the link below.

Ciao Thyme Benefit Dinner

Ciao Thyme Dinner

Thank you for joining us for the Ciao Thyme Lydia Place Over the Rainbow Dinner!

This special evening includes an incredible 5-course meal, beer and wine, live music from Peadar MacMahon and fun filled delights; raising awarness and funds for the Lydia Place Strengthening Families campaign.

You have the luck of the Irish with this limited seat dinner party!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)


Ciao Thyme – 207 Unity Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

Additional Information

For tickets and additional information, please click the link below.

Happy Hour for Housing

Happy Hour for Housing

Thank you for ensuring that every family and individual at Lydia Place had a place to call home this year. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating with you this December.


Join us for a spooky and kooky, chillingly-thrilling community dance party on All Hallows’ Eve right here in Bellingham… It’s the 8th annual Thrillingham! And this year, all proceeds from the event are being donated to Lydia Place!

What is Thrillingham?

Each October, community members join and learn the dance moves to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, then come together to perform the routine on Halloween night dressed as zombies to support a local non-profit. This year, Lydia Place was selected as the donations recipient and we could not be more thrilled to benefit from this community event. And let’s be honest, we will never be over paying tribute to the late MJ.

Anyone interested in joining in on the fun is invited to attend weekly dance rehearsals held at Love to Move Studioz at 311 E. Holly Street. You will have the chance to showcase your SPOOKtacular moves at Thrillingham on October 31st, held at Maritime park at 8 pm.


There will be raffle tickets sold for $1 at the Wise Buys Thrift Store and The Bureau of Historical Investigation. Rumor has it that there will be some frightfully fantastic local prizes given away, plus all proceeds will go to Lydia Place, so buy in abundance and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Want to learn more?

For more info, check out the Thrillingham website – Thrillingham.com. You can also check out a video of last year’s Thrillingham performance below ( “Thriller” starts at 22:00). We look forward to an eerie evening and some freakish fun, all going to benefit Lydia Place! See you ghosts and ghouls there!

Watch the Video

Adopt-a-Room At Lydia Place

Adopt a Room Program


$2,000 per bedroom

To adopt the children’s group room, living room or dining area, please contact our business office.


Continue your commitment to healthy living, ending poverty & positive childhood outcomes by becoming a legacy partner. Individual adopted room named in your honor or on behalf of a loved one, special group, or individual. Additional personalization of room possible.


Make your pledge by September 11th!

Additional Information

For more information, please contact our business office at (360) 671-7663 to schedule a tour of our transitional house and make your legacy.


Presenting the Downtown Upcycle Throwdown!

Downtown Upcycle Throwdown

To get entry details about the collaborative art contest uniting Ragfinery and Wise Buys Community Thrift for the first EPIC art and sustainability challenge debuting this August at the Downtown Bellingham Art Walk, please click the link below!