My thirteen-year-old son and I were hosts one night at our congregation, serving meals to two families, and playing with the children. One of the moms came over to me and asked if there was a room where she could just sit down and watch TV. She wanted to watch the news, find out what was going on outside of her world, and just forget about her current situation. That particular site only had a DVD player for children’s movies and she was crestfallen.
In the car ride home after serving dinner my son said to me “They can’t watch TV, they don’t have a place to go where they can relax, and the children will not be in the same bed week to week”. “No”, I said “they don’t have any of those comforts, but that’s why we are doing this.” That was one massive “ah-ha” moment, for both of us.
Prior to joining the board at Family Promise my involvement was limited to supporting the organization financially through their charity events. But once I joined the board, that all changed. How can you represent an organization, help steer its activities, and define its mission statement without truly experiencing what encompasses Family Promise? Serving meals, playing with the children, talking with the guests at the local host congregations—that’s what will engage you with the Family Promise community.
I am very lucky, being a board member. I get exposure to Family Promise at every level, and I feel like I have learned a lot. An enormous amount is packed into our quarterly three hour board meeting. I strive as a board member to not just opine on planning and fund raising, but enlist; enlist myself, my family, the community, and volunteers.
To me, Family Promise does not just provide temporary shelter, food, and clothes, if necessary, but tries to analyze what causes the problems we are addressing, and find permanent solutions. Solutions for the whole family that keep them all together while supporting them through their transition to sustainable independence.