But first: Family Promise Volunteers you rock! Another successful week of hosting 2 single mothers with 3 children each, making them feel welcome in our home!
A Family Promise hosting week requires about 300-500 hours of volunteer time. We generally host 2 families with 3 or 4 children, but we must be prepared for, and have hosted, 3 families with a total of 14 persons. Volunteers sleep overnight in ALH; help with breakfast; and we clean ALH each morning the families are with us.
We need a pool of 50-70 volunteers to ensure the Family Promise program functions smoothly and is sustainable for the long haul. We need to add to our present pool of volunteers. In addition to those who serve when families are being housed, we also need others with a variety of skills: handy man skills, scheduling or PR skills, liaison skills, bookkeeping or budgeting skills, and data input skills to maintain an e-mail distribution list and to track the training required of volunteers. Interested? Please contact Cindy O’Dell-317-370-6705.
And if you are asking yourself why do this? How about a hug from a child who needed some needed attention? Or being able to give a pat on the back to a mother who needs encouragement? Or the fun of a quick game of chess with rules that are wild and crazy? Or to know that you fixed the squeaking door that used to wake the families up in the middle of the night? or you were integral to coordinating the schedule that made the hosting week a success.
Every family is different, has different needs, and requires different solutions. Flexibility, patience and love are what our volunteers give these families.
A New Venture
The Steering Committee recommendation, to use ALH for an additional 4 weeks a year was endorsed by the Community Outreach Leader, Trudy Jacoby, the Social Justice Team Leader, Marty King, and by the Coordinating Council. Our Board of Trustees approved the recommendations.
The Venice United Church of Christ (VUCC) will join us as a co-hosting congregation using our Asta Linder. We will co-host for two weeks back-to-back 4 times a year. Cindy and Paul O’Dell, UUCOV’s coordinators, and Sandy McHenry, VUCC Family Promise coordinator, will be recruiting over the next several months, visiting our fellow churches and civic organizations to add 25 to 30 volunteers for a two-week summer hosting as a part of the additional 4 weeks
Essential to the sustainability of our Family Program is the Steering Committee; we have a critical need to add 3 or 4 volunteers. When everyone is healthy and is in town, hosting families runs smoothly. But that never happens. We get sick and have emergencies. We had a 90+ percent turnover in the past year on the Steering Committee, which has been disruptive to the Program, and more importantly to the families.
Two Committee members ensure ALH is prepared to host the new family’s arrival: storing 40 to 50 chairs; rearranging of all the furniture; hanging 8 drapery panels to provide privacy to a family; create night stands out of plastic drawer containers; cover book cases, TV, etc. that Family Promise families are forbidden to use. And, one week later, they undo all of this for ARE and YRE’s Sunday programs. One Committee person coordinates the 7 to 10 dinner providers, ensuring that providers know of food allergies and favorite foods, and tries to ensure some variety in their meals. They also find substitutes when necessary. A third Committee member ensures staples are stocked at ALH and replenishes these items as needed. Fourth member coordinates volunteers who launder the towels, wash clothes, sheets, and mattress pads. Currently the UUCOV Family Promise coordinators recruit, schedule and coordinate the schedule for hosting the families; liaison with SSCFP; VUCC; and UUCOV’s RE; Physical Plant; Community Outreach; Social Justice: Coordinating Council and to the Board of Trustees. We are reaching out to various churches, civic organizations (whoever will listen to our story) for more volunteers and assistance to host families for an additional 4 weeks.