I started as a volunteer about 5 years ago. Great training and great people = Great Orginazation!!! I have personally gained so much from volunteering and being a Donor for F2F. I feel very blessed to be a part of this group and I tout their achievements every chance I get!
Family to Family Network has been my lifeline to accessing the support and information I need for my son with Down Syndrome. When my son was three, I attended his first ARD meeting at the school – the experience was so overwhelming, I left in tears. Soon afterwards, I found Family to Family Network and gained the tools and confidence I needed to successfully navigate the complex special education system and advocate for my child. That was 18 years ago, and I will attend his exit ARD from high school next week and prepare for graduation! I can honestly say that because of the guidance and information I received from F2F, I have been able to make informed decisions about my child’s educational programming that have enabled him to reach his potential. Today I continue to get help from F2F in figuring out his options for the future – which, thanks to all I have learned from F2F, will include living and working in the community. I know that I join so many other families who have benefitted from the free services they have received from F2F to build brighter futures for their children with disabilities.
Review from Guidestar
Family to Family Network abruptly cancelled the Family Friends program as of November 1, 2010 so it no longer provides any respite for families and can no longer claim any credit for the reported 1800 hours of respite care or 540 hours of volunteer time. As a result, the organization now serves only the informational needs of parents who have one or more children with a disability. Family to Family Network no longer has any interest in or capability of providing one on one mentoring relationships. The former Family Friends program director is looking for a new sponsoring 501(c)(3) organization to serve the 48 plus families currently matched with their family volunteer.
Family to Family did not abruptly cancel the Family Friends program...they kept it going for two years after the National Council on Aging grant ended. Unfortunately, a substantial donation was needed to keep a staff person on and keep the program going. Reported hours of any volunteer time during these years is allowable as funds were used to support the program during the fiscal years ended 2006 - 2010. Fund raising is part of the Executive Director's and she was successful in maintaining the Family Friends program past the original grant end date. The decision to end the program was a financial decision made by the Board of Directors in order to focus efforts on the 750+ families served by our other programs, which many of the same 48 families served by Family Friends participate in.
I have been involved with F2F since 1994. They do a great job of providing support to families with children who have disabilities all over Houston and beyond. F2F helps by providing information that is relevant to parents of kids with disabilities and by training them for the challenges they will face raising a child with disabilities. They are experts in the area of education and our family has personally benefitted from their advice. Recently, F2F has been developing training programs for families with adult with disabilities, so that F2F staff can continue to provide services as children with disabilities grow into adults. F2F is very good at what they do and are very encouraging to parents. Their services are invaluable.
We are so grateful to family to family organization for all parent training and classes to help us how become a good advocate for our son which could included him in resource and regular classes to raise with his peers. otherwise could be so hard without their support. I stongly recommend them for all parents with a disabled child.
It is very easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated when trying to find help raising a child with disabilities. The best part, for my family, about Family to Family Network, is being able to speak with other parents who have walked in our shoes. Their own personal experiences and advice they shared with us have been so valuable. We have learned the importance of planning ahead and visualizing what the future will look like for our son and then showing us the steps it takes to get there.
F2F newsletter serves as a lifeline for us. I look forward to receiving it to find out what opportunities are available in our area. As the parents of an autistic individual, we are always searching to gain more knowledge to enable him to reach his full potential. My only conpliant is I wish we had had it sooner.
Family to Family has always been a lifeline to our family. Whenever we have a question, someone is there to help us. Family Friends has been a great program, matching a volunteer who would come spend time with not only our son with autism, but she also made sure to share her time wtih our two other kids as well. The office staff are always friendly and eager to help, and they are all a tremendous source of valuable information!
When I first found F2F, my son was 2 years old and I felt lost. After attending meetings, and meeting other mothers who have children with disabilities, I felt empowered. I learned what I needed to know to have my child included in a regular classroom and receive the services he needed. He is now 16 and a successful high school student in pre-AP classes. If I had listened to my school district when he was 3, he would have been put in a "Special" class with only children with other disabilities and he would have never progressed the way he did by being in a regular classroom. I now serve on the board of directors for F2F because they have given me so much that I felt I needed to give back to them. This is a great organization that helps all people.
Family to Family Network has been an inspiration to me. The staff not only is helpful, but supportive in many areas of the needs of children with disabilities. I feel comfortable calling with questions about school,federal law/programs,or medical needs. These women have helped me help my children throughout their lives. I have made life long friends at F2F by networking with other families with children with disabilities.
I love F2F Network! The Parent Liaisons helped me to learn the law and correct approaches to an ARD. They gave me the tools to present my case for inclusion which allowed my daughter with Down syndrome to attend her neighborhood school rather than be segregated at a different campus. Now, I am helping others due to the training I received. I also participate in a great program called "Family Friends" which paired a volunteer with my family. This volunteer has befriended the family and comes to play with my daughter with Down syndrome. She's like an adopted grandmother and has been quite a blessing.
F2F has helped me tremendously prepare for my child to enter public education. They have helped me to see things differently and to fight for what will be best for my son through valuable training and 1:1 interactions.
Review from Guidestar
When moving to Katy, TX from Virginia, I was quite overwhelmed. The educational process in Texas is very different than in Virginia and Family to Family helped by having many discussions on the phone, meeting in person to go over IEP forms. They send out many e-mails regarding upcoming events that help parents stay in the loop regarding special education in Texas. Wonderful group of people.
I was new to town and overwhelmed with school issues for my child with Asperger's. The staff at F2F were always kind, caring and supportive. They gave me alot of info. and usually had an answer to every question that I had! What an amazing organization.
I am a special education supervisor and arranged for Family to Family to provide a series of free parent trainings for the district. The sessions were extremely well received by the parents who attended. Mary Jane and the rest of her team did a beautiful job of supporting parents, providing valuable (and accurate) information about special education, and encouraging communication/ collaboration between parents and the school.
BEST THING IN TEXAS!!! F2F HELPED ME, A PROFESSIONAL SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER FROM OK., NAVIGATE THE TX SYSTEM TO EVENTUALLY HELP ME TO GET THE APPRPPRIATE SERVICES FOR MY DAUGHTER. SHE HAS SIGNIFICANT LEARNING DIDSABILITIES BUT HAS A GIFT WORKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. HER GOAL: WORK AT A DAYCARE CENTER AND SOME DAY OWN HER OWN. THE OUTCOME WAS A SERIES OF CLASSES THAT ENABLED HER TO "WOW" POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS WITH HER RESUME! SHE WAS HIRED BY THE 2ND CHILDCARE COMPANY SHE INTERVIEWED WITH AND, NOW 8 YEARS LATER, 2009, SHE SEES HER DREAM AS A REALITY. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, F2F!!!!
We have really enjoyed the services of this network although they are limited in our area. We have a wonderful lady who comes each week to spend time with my two autistic sons. She has been a blessing to us. The other services are not available in our area anymore, or I would give a five-star rating. Thank you Family to Family Network!!
I am the adoptive mother of two special needs children and an adoption and foster care professional. When my family moved to the Houston area, I did not know any resources to help me with getting my children's needs met. The discovery of Family to Family has been a great blessing for us. We have benefited from training for me, and from activities for the children. They have the most comprehensive list of activities for children and families with special needs that I have seen in my more than 20 years of working with children and families. I frequently forward the newsletter to other families and they are able to benefit from the information.
As a newcomer to houston and having a son with a disablity, Family to Family Network were a fantastic resource. The information and services they provide are invaluable.
I have been a member of Family to Family Network since the beginning when we had meeting in our homes. Without the support, guidance, and collaboration of everyone in this organization my daughter would not have become the community member and productive citizen that she is today. When others were telling me "she cannot" they were saying "yes she can" no matter what the situation. We understood and identified with one another and our kids could be friends in an accepting environment. We, including our kids, have all moved on with the course of life but without this orginization in the early years I know I would not have had the strength, determination and knowledge to advocate for my child in all areas and improve the quality of her life. T
During a time when I had lost all hope of finding a source for help, Family to Family became a buzz-word among people I would meet moving through the maze of bureacacy and service providers. I met individuals with whom I had a lot in common. I was no longer an island. For more than twelve years I looked for someone who would care enough to listen to my woes. Following a lead to Disability Leadership Network, an advocacy training course through Family to Family, I gained a strength I never knew I had. I became the force my son needed to help him rise to a plateau many had said was unattainable. He is now nineteen and I am a relentless advocate, inspired to work on local, state and national issues involving individuals with developmental disabilities. I could not and would never have ventured to serve my community without the inspiration, resources and association with Family to Family. So, impressed and motivated by what I received, I wanted to give back to the institution that rescued me from the pit of desperation, I became a board member.