Family Promise of Lawrence is one of the most effective and engaging service programs in Douglas County, Kansas. Truly a community response to homelessness, FPL transforms the lives of families and children in crisis. Volunteers who host through participating congregations learn to put their faith into action right within the walls of their own house of worship. It's an extraordinary way for families to connect with families, and for all of us to grow in love of neighbor. Keep up the good work, FPL!
My husband and I were able to volunteer in September at Corpus Christi Catholic Church for Family Promise. We made the most of it, and had a great time doing it! My husband brought his DJ equipment and had a dance party. Everyone from the youngest to the oldest had fun. We hope we were able to help them forget about their struggles for that one night. My son and I made goodie bags for the kids. My sister-in-law sent a care package of fun stuff for everyone. We ordered pizzas and just really had a blast! Christy Sullivan let us make the night our own. She was awesome!
I have been honored with providing my assistance to Family Promise towards the beginning. Unfortunately, there were potential resistances from the public and I helped to send "town hall meeting" notices to the community surrounding volunteer churches. During this process, the more I learned about Family Promise, the more excited I became to help in whatever way I could. To my delight my church agreed to join as a host church and I help in several ways each and every time. The program is dear to me and my family. Even though my son has started College he has already signed up to volunteer while at home over his holiday break. Many times when you decide to support programs or donate to different causes, you pray and hope you are making a difference. When you allow yourself to participate in the Family Promise program you absolutely know you are making a difference to not only the families but in yourself. There are so many rewards it almost seems impossible to list them all. With the diversity that exists between the families and volunteers, it may seem on paper that the program would not be successful or run as well as it does. However, there is more than enough respect, love and genuine desire to see everyone and the program to succeed that the differences do not really seem to exist. No one and life is not perfect and in that respect everyone has something to share and contribute. Family Promise is not just how I am helping homeless families. I receive so much from each family and I am truly blessed and thankful for what the families provide me during their time in the program and afterward. Family Promise is a "family" with lasting relationships.
A month after a family stayed at our church, I was at the bowling alley & stopped to talk with them. I was going to be traveling to a city they were familiar with. They gave me tips on entertainment and a nice restaurant. I felt so loved. I was glad to know, things were looking up for them. They were now both employed. I was blessed with our sharing. A moment of time is priceless! Volunteering w/ Family Promise is greatness at it's best! A simple meal or overnight stay for them. Blessings abundantly for all volunteers. Thank you Family Promise!
I support technology at our church. I have helped do set up and reset of the family rooms. I have made sure that families had DVD/VCR facilities in their rooms. I have also made sure that computer and internet was available. On some occasions that allowed family members to complete school work. I make sure thermostats are reset for overnight occupancy. I am on call if anything goes wrong.
I've watched this service grow from its infancy as idea and a dream into a living and breathing reality. The program is well constructed and organized, has many years of success behind it, and it's already proven "tried & true" here in Lawrence. At least two families I know of personally are back on their feet and living in real homes and thriving. The coordinator at our church is amazing, and there are other amazing volunteers in charge of different aspects of our week of hosting...the food, the setup and tearing down of rooms, etc. Everyone pitches in and it gives you a warm feeling to be part of something that directly helps others. And my children LOVE Family Promise week and beg to go play with their new friends every evening. Meeting the families and hearing their stories has been a blessing to my family that I never would have expected. We now find ourselves wanting to keep in touch and see the families whether they are visiting another church or are back on their own. It's just another way of making new friends now for us-- and who couldn't use more friends?
I've been involved with Family Promise since it was just an exciting idea. We asked for nothing from the city except to let us do our job. It's the faith congregations who put the petal to the metal, so to speak. These fantastic volunteers put in countless hours planning and organizing their host/support weeks and seeing that the week is fully staffed. The Board and Executive Director are equally dedicated and skilled. Valerie is truly impressive, working with volunteers while encouraging and motivating the guests to a new level of responsibility in overcoming obstacles and meeting whatever challenges they face. It's a privilege to be part of this great organization.
I got involved with the program when it was in it's infancy and have watched and participated as it has blossomed. And blossomed it has! Beyond my expectations really. I think God has really blessed this effort and the fruits being born out of it are all the proof one needs of that! My wife and are one of the coordinator couples at our church and it is an absolute joy and honor to work this program. With that said, I think the one thing that can be made better is more consistency across the various churches as to how things are handled for the overnights. The guests can get a bit frustrated that what is allowed at one place is not at another. This is getting better though as the coordinators have opportunity to get together and discuss procedures. Overall though, the program is well thought out, there is an excellent board and program coordinator, and most of all... RESULTS!
I will NEVER forget about a dozen volunteers, standing in the driveway, holding hands in a circle, heads bowed and giving a blessing to one of our families as she and her daughter moved into their home. i am the coordinator of Family Promise at our church. i became involved because i think it is my responsibility as a human being to love and care for others...especially when they are at a critical time in their lives. Being able to make a real difference..either by fixing a yummy dinner, playing bingo with the kids, or giving a nice, long hug to a mom who is completely exhausted is incredible. Family Promise is about love, hospitality and mostly success. My life is so much richer and i hope that i have made other lives richer, as well. truly is the best thing i have ever been involved with.
I've known about Family Promise since it was just a dream that the Lawrence faith community could provide support to homeless families. I watched as many dedicated individuals worked to make that dream a reality. Now that Family Promise is a reality, I can lend my talents to this project. I have a double connection with Lawrence Family Promise. First my husband and I are coordinators for our church. We spend the over night shift one night each quarter as well as help with the evening meal and fellowship. It is a privilege to help with this project. My second connection is as an elementary school principal in Lawrence. I know the effects that homelessness has on children. There are homeless children attending every one of our 15 elementary buildings. Two children that have been served by Family Promise have attended school in my building. Having a safe place to sleep and meals that you can depend on are critical to a child, without these learning is impossible. When this family became involved with Family Promise, I saw an immediate improvement in the children's attitude at school. They were more focused and ready to learn each day. They willingly talked about the nice people that provided meals and a place for them to sleep. They told me that they felt safe sleeping at the church. They came to school with their homework done and ready to learn. Sometimes when we have homeless children, they will ask me to keep a special possession for them. Living in shelters, you never know if your favorite possession will be there when you get back. These children were happy to know that they could leave their favorite toy while they were at school, and it would be okay until they returned. It seems so simple, but so important. My only regret is that we can't support more families.
We have really loved our involvement. It is very rewarding to see the families who come full circle. We have seen families who are in the prgram who are dealing with being without a home for the first time and have seen how the program has helped them to get back on their feet.
What a blessing this program is! I have been a coordinator since our first time to host families about 1 year ago. I never could have imagined what an impact this program had on me, my family & our parish. Our parishioner have embraced this program & these families. I feel lucky to be a part of this network!
I have found this to be a great experience as a volunteer. It has been eye-opening to get to know these nice families who are working hard to improve their situation. It is satifying to know that they have a genuine opportunity to change their lives, and they are given the tools to realistically make the change.
I've been working with Family Promise in various ways (i.e. host co-coordinator, spending an evening here and there with the families, organizing/obtaining furniture for move in days) for almost a year now and it has been a blessing for me and my family. It puts a real face to a real problem in our great nation. Just being there for the families and letting them know not only in words, but actions that there are people who truly care about them. Plus, coming together with other people in Lawrence who come from all different walks of life to serve together for this great cause has been wonderful and exciting. One time I had the privilege of watching one of the little girls in the guest family ride a horse for the first time! This was arranged by the great volunteers of Family Promise for her birthday. She was so excited and I'm sure for that moment at least, she got to be just an average little girl without the thought of her living arrangements. Another time, last Christmas, the mother of the guest family gave each of my two kids a Christmas present. This is a woman with a small child who didn't have much, but she sure had a big heart! She showed us the true meaning of giving. Family Promise is a blessing to all involved!
I have volunteered with Family Promise as a food provider and have played with the kids in the evening and visited with the mothers.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with Lawrence Family Promise. I coordinate the meals for our guests stays at First Baptist Church as well as volunteering as an evening and overnight host. I really look forward to the families’ stay with us even though it means lots of work for us preparing for the week. I always know that there may be ups and downs as with any ‘family’ but I really enjoy the opportunities the week presents. Homelessness so often carries such a negative stigma but this program helps to put a face on this issue and allows a huge number of volunteers to participate in small ways to make an enormous difference. Alone we could not make the difference that we are making as a network of churches and volunteers. I have made lasting friends among the families that I have encountered through this program and have deepened my understanding that poverty and homelessness can happen to anyone through circumstances often beyond your control. Through the Lawrence Family Promise network families are given support that enables them to have safe haven for their children and themselves and a network of new friends that encourage and enable them to work toward independent housing. It is hard to describe the feelings that I experience when I get to help move families into a new home. They are not just people I am helping but rather they are friends added to my life. I do realize that not all families who enter the Lawrence Family Promise network will be successful because the program itself is a hard thing to do. I would challenge any of us to live it. But for those families who do find housing independence through this program we have made a difference that is vitally important to their lives.
I've been a volunteer when Promise of Lawrence comes to our church for our turn to host guests. It has been a tremendous opportunity for us to help people in a way that makes a difference in their lives. We are not just throwing money at folks to assuage our consciences. We are actually helping homeless families with children find a permanent home.
I lived with this program for seven months with my daughter. They sheltered us while I got my life back together. They provided a nice atmosphere for me and my daughter while I went to school and work. The director supported me through housing. When I got my house they helped me furnish it because I had nothing. This program gave me and my daughter a home and great friends.
We have served as volunteers at our church by preparing and serving food, eating with the families, spending the night and getting the families off to the day center in the morning 4x in the past year. It's been an eye-opening experience for my teenage daughters to meet the families - kids just like them who are classmates. Our church coordinators are amazing, they spend hours finding volunteers, thinking out each detail of what's needed for the week, rallying support and goods. I find that this experience feeds my soul - almost more than feeding the needs of others. Valerie and Family Promise do an amazing job of coordinating each church involved, training each volunteer on the need for privacy and respect of the families, and developing support in the community. It's a HUGE job and labor of love.
I participated as a volunteer with Family Promise of Lawrence Inc at Plymouth Congregational Church. I helped host dinner for a family and found the effort and the interaction very worthwhile and rewarding. I was also able to see the family again and find out a little about their journey through a difficult period in their lives into a much brighter future with housing and new employment. Family Promise of Lawrence made a huge difference in their lives and continues to help make possible major positive changes for many other families in need. Greg Hurd