This past April, we celebrated our 6th year in North Idaho! This is a tremendous accomplishment given the economy we have been dealing with during this time. It is fundraisers like our 3rd Annual Golf and Walk Event that have made it possible for us to fulfill our mission. In addition to serving as a major source of needed income, the Golf/Walk Event is a terrific vehicle for bringing our supporters and their families together. The fact is, this pivotal event is just around the corner, on May 16, and we encourage everyone to join in! Go to our Event Coordinator Champion Events website for details on how to participate. This event makes a huge difference in providing the funds needed to sustain Family Promise as the safe and successful sheltering program that it has become.
I was thinking about all the families we have served and putting together a few common traits. Each family brings strength and hope in the midst of crisis to our program, to our volunteers, to their own families. Our families are nurtured and encouraged, just by being accepted when they are in the worst point ever in their lives. Then, a transformation takes place once they see their situation changing while under the support of the network. The graduations we celebrate with families are designed to pause and celebrate triumph and blessing at a time when all seemed hopeless. This past month we have had two past guests volunteer for us, one graduate family donated office supplies, four families just called or stopped by to give us an update and say, 'thank you,' and one current family donated items they do not need during this transition time. Each month, we are reminded of the legacy our network is creating for families. Thank you, supporters, volunteers, and prayer warriors for your amazing work to provide amazing opportunities for families of Family Promise!
Family Promise has the privilege of welcoming new life into the program. This month we were excited to welcome a healthy pair of twins who have come home to grace our member churches and day center. The entire family, who are grateful for the support and the safe delivery, are healthy and working to adjust to the new additions. When I open, a proud older sister will bring me a baby to hold each morning. What a pleasure!
I am so proud of our volunteers for rising to the extra challenge of babies, or preschoolers or really children of any age! In this network we are side by side with families who are working tremendously hard to get back on their feet. Melissa, our Family Service Coordinator, is working on S.M.A.R.T. goals with each family. S.M.A.R.T. refers to a methodology for setting goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Framed. The families work together with Melissa to identify their top sustainability goals and make an aggressive plan to achieve them. All this, while the parents are working to solidify childcare, do health checks for the entire family, become job ready, set up a payee, learn transportation options, get on several housing lists, and work through the effects of becoming homeless. The families who are accepted into Family Promise are agreeing to come into three months of extensive change, transition and growth. This is no easy task and we commend those willing to take this on in the knowledge that it will help them help their family. We won’t let them fail.
Thank you for supporting these families with your time and donations. And we are especially grateful that you take a few extra minutes with the kids to encourage them through this time of change for their family!
March is a great month. We are bursting at the seams with preschoolers! Eight children prenatal to age 4. We have two volunteers that are coming in specifically to work with these youngsters. What a blessing. We have crafts twice a week done by a busy grandma who wants to give back. We are also implementing the PEACH program here at our day center. This is the Physical and Emotional Awareness for Children who are Homeless program created by the National Center on Family Homelessness. The United Way and CDA Kiwanis helped us launch this program last year. We have a ‘houseful’ today that can appreciate it, with a social work student ready and trained to implement it!!! We received the First Books grant again this year! We are so excited to be able to offer books to our guest children.
We are starting the year with the 3 new churches recruited in 2013: Peace Lutheran, Prairie Avenue Christian Center and 1st Baptist Church. Our new host recruiting team is trained and setting appointments for our goal of adding 3 more this year. The impact on our families, the program and the community will be tremendous once our minimum of 13 host congregations is met. Our guests will be cared for by the congregations in the community each day of the year, and we will be able to guarantee that. This kind of stability is so important to their success. Money that is used for a week in a motel on those weeks we don’t have a church can be used toward guest education, tires for their cars and childcare while they are job hunting and so much more!!!! With a full network of churches, staff can work with the guests and on guest issues for success, rather than trying to find a place for families to be for a week. We are getting so close to this level of sustainability for guest shelter. What an amazing community!!!