This organization empowers families, often single-parent families, to become strong through parenting education,support groups for children who've lost a parent through death or divorce, affordable counseling, services for elderly clients. They were leaders in teaching about the baby brain and how crucial interaction is the child's development. They were also among the first to offer Internet safety programs in schools and for parents. The staff is educated, compassionate and upbeat.
As a law enforcement officer in Ozaukee County I have seen the direct result of the compassion shown by the Ozaukee Family Services staff to everyone that it serves. The Rainbows program provide much needed support, Parents as Teachers provides the foundation for a successful family through the group sessions and the home visits, the beyond divorce program provides a awakening for participants, and the internet safety programs taught in our schools help the children learn ways of staying safe on the internet. It is an honor to serve on the Ozaukee Family Services board and I am truly inspired by what Ozaukee Family Services does for the families of our county.
Twenty five years ago, when I was a newly hired school administrator, I was looking for all the resources I could find to help my students and their families. Ozaukee Family Services soon became one of my favorites. They helped our Counselors by providing presentations in our schools. They helped our Technology staff by providing Internet Safety classes. They helped our students and families going through divorce with counseling sessions out of school. Realizing that most learning takes place BEFORE children are old enough to attend school, they provide in home parenting classes (Parents As Teachers), which helped our district by improving the behavior and academic readiness of our incoming Kindergartners. BUT it wasn't until I volunteered to be on the Board after I retired that I understood just how many of the parents in the district donated financially to support all of those wonderful programs. Wow! Great programs trying to fill real needs of the community supported by the generosity of the members of the community. It doesn't get much better than that.
It's unfortunate that every county in our country doesn't have an Ozaukee Family Services. This little organization, with its dedicated part-time staff, army of volunteers, and modest annual budget, has made the difference for our community in more ways than it will ever be given credit for, and ensures that even in troubled times that Ozaukee County continues to be ranked nationally as one of the best communities to raise a family. For stable families who just want some extra advice to get them through the child-rearing years, Ozaukee Family Services is equivalent to "Parent's School" - like actually having that instruction manual we all wish kids had been born with. For families facing more troubled times, OFS is a steady, confidential, and often free-of-charge lifeline. No one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay for OFS's services. OFS's amazingly generous donors ensure that this organization's services are always available for anyone who needs their help. From children to seniors, from prevention to intervention, and because of the generous gifts of the organization's donors, OFS is there. I can't imagine living somewhere without such an organization and I hope I never do.