Last year, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty debuted #RSIRinspire, a campaign that highlights the members of our staff and team who are doing extraordinary things, inspiring others through their giving, and elevating their communities and businesses in innovative ways. This week, as we reflect and give thanks with our family and friends, we present a special #RSIRinspire spotlight on a member of the RSIR family who continues to impress us with her care and concern for her community: Star Lalario.
Since establishing Babies of Homelessness in 2016, Star has taken the lead in raising awareness and providing support to local homeless families. We are immensely proud of Star, who is now being recognized by Seattle King County REALTORS® as one of the Community Engagement Award recipients for 2018. To celebrate both this achievement and the Thanksgiving holiday, we sat down with Star to chat about her work in the community and what we can do to support this worthy cause.
Can you talk a little bit about how Babies of Homelessness came to be?
I have always been passionate about helping those struggling in our community and I had a lightbulb moment back in 2016 when I saw a news story about a two-year-old who was living in a homeless encampment without any parental supervision. I realized that I’d only been giving my time and resources to families that have the “luxury” of a shelter and asked myself, what about the kids that haven’t even gotten to that point yet? The result was the establishment of Babies of Homelessness, which redirected my efforts to families primarily in homeless encampments, tent cities and those sleeping in cars.
Star established Babies of Homelessness in 2016 to provide much-needed support to local homeless families living in tents, encampments and cars.
To understand more about this segment of the population, I partnered with Union Gospel Mission—which at the time focused primarily on adults seeking treatment—to start bringing baby items to the mission and provide essentials such as socks, blankets, food and diapers to children in need. Soon after, they started reaching out to me directly when they found children and asked how Babies of Homelessness could help. As word got out, we started receiving support from our community to deliver basic essentials to kids in the community.
What has the organization accomplished in the past year?
Our biggest accomplishment, by far, is the nearly 700 kiddos we have helped this year, despite the fact that we are only known by approximately 20 percent of the local homeless population. We were of course also thrilled to be named “Charity of the Month” by the Seattle Seahawks and are grateful to have been selected as a preferred charity by some of the biggest companies in the region, including Boeing, Facebook and Amazon. These, together with media mentions on Q13, KOMO 4 and 425 Magazine have all helped get the word out, which is ultimately increasing our ability to do what we love most: help local families.
Babies of Homelessness was thrilled to accept a donation on behalf of the Seattle Seahawks as the honorary Charity of the Month in August 2018.
Tell us a little bit about what we can expect from Babies of Homelessness in 2019.
Our number one priority is to increase our efficiency with a fleet of vans so that we can reach the people that need us more quickly. We are also looking at acquiring a multifamily property to utilize as a temporary shelter for families, especially when weather conditions are extreme (be it cold or heat).
I would also love to be able to step back a bit and focus purely on outreach. I am driven by the connections I get to make with families and the smiling faces I get to see when they are well taken care of. That’s what fuels my love for what I do. We now have eight members of the Board of Directors and 38 committee members, so we are definitely getting there and growing quickly.
What can we do to support this worthy cause today?
Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 27th and we are thrilled to accept donations in honor of that. Since Giving Tuesday was established in 2012, it has grown significantly, with an estimated $274 million in donations made around the world last year—imagine the difference we can make to Babies of Homelessness this #GivingTuesday!
The holidays can be an especially difficult time of year for our families, so we also invite you to participate in our Third Annual “Adopt a Family” program. We accept wish lists from children living in cars, tents and encampments, and pair them with a sponsor (which can be an individual or a group) so that we can make their Christmas wishes come true. We will be posting a sponsorship link on our website on November 25th, where you’ll be able to sign up, and we ask that all unwrapped gifts be delivered no later than December 15th so we have time for the elves to get everything delivered.
“I am so proud of Star for doing what she is passionate about and making a huge difference in the community,” says Stacy Jones, Chief People Officer of RSIR. “She is truly a ‘star’ and I am thrilled to see her acknowledged by the real estate community.”
Star is one of two 2018 Seattle King County REALTORS® Community Service Award winners who will be recognized at an Installation and Awards Banquet at the Westin Bellevue on December 6th.