By maintaining a close connection to its community, Family & Children Services clearly understands that its citizens and clients would value a National Family Week event focusing on empowering parents and families in the areas of economic self-sufficiency and financial literacy.
The event kicked off National Family Week, and included workshops, information, and access to experts with a goal of connecting event-goers to community resources. An emphasis was placed on helping families move off and stay off welfare and dependency programs and helping families move toward a more stable financial future.
In addition to reaching out to the Latino community, the event expanded to include the Vietnamese-speaking population by linking this group to a local financial literacy and tax filing program.
Family Foundations, Jacksonville, FL
Although Jacksonville, FL has had some success with building affordable housing, many families are not able to remain in their homes due to predatory lending leading to foreclosure. To address this issue and Jacksonville’s high foreclosure rate (seventh in the nation), Family Foundations, held a National Family Week community forum to:
Discuss federal initiatives and legislation to expand affordable housing and reduce foreclosures. Senator Mel Martinez, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was invited to lead this discussion.
Discuss Jacksonville’s progress on affordable housing and foreclosure reduction. Jacksonville will be launching a city-wide campaign against predatory lending called Don’t Borrow Trouble in the next few months. The Mayor and/or the Executive Director of Housing and Neighborhoods was invited to lead this discussion.
Discuss the State of the Family report and how families are impacted by affordable housing and foreclosures. Family Foundations CEO, Dawn Lockhart, lead this discussion.
Family Foundations is working year-round to influence systems change so that families can stay in their homes.
Jane Addams Hull House Association, Chicago
As a way to continue their yearlong commitment of addressing various systemic barriers impacting families, ChildServ, hosted a National Family Week policy forum focused on the unique challenges facing the black family.
By using information from their research project, Minding the Gap: An Assessment of Racial Disparity in Metropolitan Chicago and the research found in the Dellums Commission work on the state of young men of color, Hull House convened key community stakeholders and area families to discuss obstacles hindering their development.
Specifically, emphasis of the discussion was placed on highlighting strategies for action to strengthen children and families as well as issues of community capacity building.
Centerstone’s Early Childhood Network, Columbia, TN
Seeking an opportunity to identify gaps in services for children and families in Maury County, Centerstone, hosted a round table discussion with key community leaders and families during National Family Week.
Centerstone utilized this information by developing new programs and services that will improve the overall economic self-sufficiency of families. In addition to the round table discussion, Centerstone held other NFW activities including an informational resource fair, educational conference for professionals, and workshops.
Topics explored during the workshops included reliable childcare, health care, affordable housing, and transportation issues.
Jewish Family Service of Bergen County, Teaneck, NJ
Understanding that individuals and families affected by substance abuse encompass an ever-increasing and still underserved population in their community, Jewish Family Service of Bergen County, offered a community-wide Substance Abuse Family Awareness Day.
The event held during National Family Week, provided attendees with a magnitude of information and resources about substance abuse. Specifically, attendees learned about the signs and symptoms of substance abuse; networked and drew support from individuals and families who shared common experiences related to problems with substance abuse; learned from leading experts in the field; gained skills and ideas to help families affected by substance abuse; and gathered information about available community resources.
In the coming months, Jewish Family Service plans to form and lead a broad coalition of local/community leaders, policymakers, educators, and service providers who are invested in prevention and treatment initiatives in the field of substance abuse. The proposed coalition will take advantage of the NFW event format by forming and/or maintaining established partnerships and coordinating collaborative efforts to provide the most efficient and effective range of services to the substance abuse community.
Family Service Agency, Phoenix
As a way to curtail the economic challenges of the community, Family Service Agency along with an array of local partners hosted a National Family Week Connections Count kick-off event and job fair, which was attended by more than 1,000 people.
The event which built on the agency’s year-round family-strengthening and self-sufficiency efforts featured more than 30 informational resource booths, family fun activities and cultural entertainment.
A significant emphasis was placed on attracting local businesses to attend the job fair. Over 15 businesses with open employment positions assisted individuals with job opportunities and placement.
Youth Haven, Naples, FL
In an effort to mobilize a year-round initiative that seeks to alleviate family crises and stressors, Youth Haven held a National Family Week event that promoted family integrity and freedom from public and private dependency.
Specific NFW plans included an informational resource fair, family festival, and family reinforcement workshops and trainings. Youth Haven also utilized the media to educate the public regarding the biopsychosocial struggles and stressors facing children and their families.
Realizing the importance of providing a wide range of family-strengthening efforts to the community, ChildServ employed an interactive educational experience designed to train community residents and agency parents in four critical areas of community and family need: public education, housing, immigration and adequate food.
Using civic engagement principles and techniques, participants received training in advocacy and developed strategies designed to increase community and parent action to strengthen communities and empower citizens.
Participants also received voter education and registration information and will have multiple opportunities to meet one or more of their elected representatives through visits to aldermanic and legislative offices before, during and after the National Family Week celebration.
Auberle, McKeesport, PA
With the ultimate goal of strengthening and preserving the family, Auberle connected their year-round efforts with National Family Week by offering a comprehensive informational resource fair and educational “break-out sessions.”
A variety of community organizations committed to the event and provided information regarding available programs and services, including educational and employment opportunities, foster care information, in-home programs, and specialized treatment offerings.
The focus of the educational sessions were revolved around service availability, parenting education classes, public policy discussions, and other sessions designed to highlight specific NFW topics of interest.
Family & Children’s Service, Minneapolis
Looking for an opportunity to further deepen and enhance connections among families and the community, Family & Children’s Service hosted a community leadership celebration in honor of National Family Week.
Over 100 community leaders were recognized at the celebration for their involvement in supporting strong families, vital communities, and capable children. The celebration also included: the engagement of public officials in dialogue with families on issues, solutions and action steps; a resource fair with informational booths offering civic engagement opportunities and resources for families; and a multi-cultural dinner.
Family & Children’s Service also held a two-day event leading up to NFW that featured interactive workshops revolved around families and their strengths.