The Family Promise Good Neighbor Award highlights Family Promise Affiliate staff members who are doing exceptional work in their communities.
Katti Carlson can remember the moment clearly when she fell in love with Family Promise. She was vice president of her local Student Social Work Club during her junior year in college when she had an opportunity to volunteer and raise money for Family Promise of Lewis-Clark Valley (ID). She, along with her husband and three young children, worked hard to raise money and created their own cardboard box sleeping quarters for Cardboard Box City – a Family Promise fundraiser that calls for volunteers to spend the night sleeping outside in a cardboard box or other makeshift shelter to raise funds to support those experiencing homelessness.
“It [Cardboard Box City] was my first introduction to what family homelessness was,” said Carlson. “I learned that family homelessness was an issue and that I wasn’t alone.”
The event that opened Carlson’s eyes ultimately led her to her dream position in June 2015 when she began working for Family Promise of Palouse (ID). She has since directed two Family Promise Affiliates, including her current position as executive director of Family Promise of Juneau (AK), and successfully housed over 100 families experiencing homelessness.
Carlson’s connection to Family Promise runs deep through the families we serve. She lived in poverty most of her life, experiencing homelessness multiple times as a child.
“I often wonder how different my life would have been if Family Promise had been accessible to my family,” said Carlson. “Watching the Family Promise model work the way it’s supposed to is truly a full-circle experience.”
As executive director, Carlson oversees all programs and initiatives at Family Promise of Juneau (FPJ), but one she is most proud of is the recent growth of their Prevention Services program. Prevention Services is a much-needed program for the Juneau community and because there are no barriers or limitations for individuals who can be served, it has developed tremendously since Carlson joined the team.
“In all the work we have done my passion for Prevention Services has been extenuating,” said Carlson. “There have been so many instances in the past where I just wish a family had reached out sooner so that we could give them the help they needed. Now, Prevention Services is thriving and a huge part of what we’re doing at FPJ.”
FPJ’s Prevention Services program boasts a 95% success rate among the 50 households served annually.
Carlson is living proof that your past does not define your future. Her resilient outlook on life and unwavering leadership at Family Promise is what makes her a worthy recipient of this month’s Good Neighbor Award.
By Kacie Ricciotti