The Hoboken Shelter, Nashville in Motion , and ClickStarting Me is Down to the Wire

I know I promised you a feature on my customer of the month, Melstiel, but we’re running just a bit behind schedule with that, so I will do my best to get that posted next Friday.

Today I wanted to share with all of you something that is very close to me and hope that I can get you to be as impassioned about it as I am.

There’s something that I’ve been doing for several years now and I think this is the perfect time of year to do a post about it – my volunteer work at The Hoboken Shelter.

The Hoboken Shelter

The Hoboken Shelter

My connection with the Hoboken Shelter began almost by accident; the company I was working for partnered with the United Way.  This partnership afforded the company’s employees what was called a “United Way Day” where on company time, you could do volunteer work at a UW charity.

I chose the Hoboken Shelter, as working with the homeless was something I have done since my college days raising funds for The Genesis Project by holding art sales and bake sales in the art building.

While the time spent at the Hoboken Shelter that day was primarily to do kitchen work, I reached out to the director in advance and asked if they’d be interested in having an art workshop that day as well.

She readily agreed and when I held the workshop that day, I was completely floored by the enthusiasm the guests had and they seemed to pour their souls onto the paper.

The Shelter had a weekly art workshop in place already, being taught by an artist named Andrew, but both the director and Andrew welcomed me with open arms to help him out, participate, and fill in when he had a scheduling conflict.

After a time, Andrew had since moved on to further his education.  I was then hired as the art teacher.

This is a volunteer position that I hold very close to my heart.  We’ve accomplished so much: we’ve had exhibits in the Hoboken Library.  We’ve forged friendships, built self esteem, and provided a safe place where the guests can freely express their hopes, their fears, and sometimes bare their souls, even if it’s just that one hour a week.

I wish you all could see what happens when a new student arrives.  Most of the time someone will shyly enter the room, not sure where to go, what to say.

I approach them and warmly introduce myself, ask their name, make sure they get comfortable and introduce themselves to the rest of the class.

After I finish explaining the goal for the day, the new student, nine times out of ten, will say, “I don’t know how to do anything. I don’t draw well.”

My response is always, “The one thing that no one is allowed to say in this room is ‘I can’t.’  No one is better than anyone else.  We all have a creative soul and each of us expresses that creativity differently.”

To see these people’s postures change from slumped over, arms crossed, frustrated to sitting straight, moving with purpose, asking for more and more materials to complete their piece – it’s one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever seen.

Here are some examples from my stars.  By the way, I refer to ALL my students as stars.  They all are unique, talented, and have much to offer.

A color study

A color study

Waves of emotion

Waves of emotion



Inspired by Gaugin's palette

Inspired by Gaugin’s palette

A piece made by two artists who decided to smudge their paintings together to make one cohesive piece

A piece made by two artists who decided to smudge their paintings together to make one cohesive piece

These classes are open to the general public as well.  As a matter of fact, you know what is the hugest compliment I get?  I have students who are former guests of the Shelter that actually take a bus into Hoboken every Monday night to still take my classes.

Everyone is welcome to attend – I hold class every Monday night from 8pm to 9pm.  The address is:

The Hoboken Shelter

300 Bloomfield Street

Hoboken, NJ 07030

To learn more about The Hoboken Shelter and how you can volunteer, make a difference, etc, please visit:

We are in need of art supplies, if you are interested in donating, please email me at

I am continuing to hold this position until I begin the new chapter in my life: Tennessee. If you are interested in volunteering as the art teacher for the Shelter, please send your resume to the Executive Director, Jaclyn Cherubini:

The “Institute” phase of transitioning to Tennessee begins in May 2014.  I will be going to Nashville for 5 weeks, receiving extensive training as well as enrolling in Lipscomb University to obtain my teaching certification. I will be attending Lipscomb in the evenings while I start my student teaching endeavor in August.

I am now officially a part of the Teach for America Greater Nashville Team – I’m so honored and proud!

Come visit us on Facebook to learn more about our mission to end educational inequality:

My family and I make our permanent move to Tennessee in July 2014. We are so extremely excited and look forward to the new journey ahead of us.

So much to figure out…kids’ schools, looking for a place to live, moving logistics (do we drive down?  Do we fly down?? Do our CATS fly down???)

With this new roadmap laid before me, I have new challenges that have caused me to shift, realign, and prepare for the additional expenses of moving and tuition.

My Click Start Me campaign will be coming to an end on my birthday of all things, December 30, 2013.  That leaves me with 24 days to raise $4,900.

I still have a very long way to reach my goal, but if every reader donates just $20 between now and then, I’d meet my goal in 24 hours.  Or if I receive just $204 a day in donations, I’ll make it by December 30 – one hell of a birthday present!

Each donor receives a gift certificate worth the amount of their donation that can be spent at!  There’s no time limit to spend it, no fees, it’s a win/win!

You'll receive this in the amount of your donation. If your donation is $25 or more - your gift certificate will have an extra $25 value!

You’ll receive this in the amount of your donation. If your donation is $25 or more – your gift certificate will have an extra $25 value!

And if a donation of $25 or more is made – you get an ADDITIONAL $25 added to your gift certificate value!

So if you donate $50 – your gift certificate is $75!!

It gets even better – if you just share my link to my campaign: and it’s shared with someone who donates, the donor gets their gift certificate in the appropriate amount and YOU will get one as well for $20!!!

You can use the gift certificate to give to someone else as a gift – it’s not tied to you! So think about this – you spend $25, get a gift certificate worth $50 – and you can give that gift certificate as a gift to someone else!  Awesome, right?!?

The funding I receive from Click Start Me donations are going towards all of the expenses needed to fund my jewelry business, Eldwenne’s Fantasy.

Hammered Silver Wrap Ring

Hammered Silver Wrap Ring

Silver Goddess Spirals Rosettes Ring

Silver Goddess Spirals Rosettes Ring

A royal blue rectangular piece of glass is wrapped in woven silver wire - a very intricate piece!

A royal blue rectangular piece of glass is wrapped in woven silver wire – a very intricate piece!

The online component, which is needs funding to go towards advertising on etsy, on Facebook, and google ads.

Eldwenne's Fantasy - Quality Handmade Jewelry by Jodi Zulueta

Eldwenne’s Fantasy – Quality Handmade Jewelry by Jodi Zulueta

The convention component, which is traveling the convention circuit in the Supernatural and Vampire Diaries fandoms where I sell in person to you directly, taking custom orders directly, making pieces on the spot just for YOU – the funding is needed to cover airfare, hotels, and the supplies needed to continue to make pieces to your heart’s desire.

Misha Collins shopping around at my table at a Salute to Supernatural convention

Misha Collins shopping around at my table at a Salute to Supernatural convention

Rev up the impala with this necklace!

Rev up the impala with this necklace!

Just add a miniature Crowley!

Just add a miniature Crowley!

If I meet my goal, I will be ahead of the game for the 2014 convention circuit and will no longer need a crowdfunding campaign to help me achieve my dreams of making Eldwenne’s Fantasy a success.

Thank you all for reading!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s