What does Familes Forward Charlotte do?
We work with families in need to help them break out of the cycle of poverty so that they can achieve stability and success. These are a few examples of how we help:
Family Success Program:
- Personalized Support – We provide each family in our Family Success Program with a Family Liaison (a volunteer mentor) who works with families, one-on-one, during the year to help them get closer to life-long stability. After an in-depth interview of each family, we help the family set goals and then connect them to existing community resources while providing specific assistance in navigating or applying for those resources. We will connect families with educational opportunities, and provide social capital to families to make life-long connections to encourage success.
- Essential Support – Each family we serve will be interviewed to determine their individual needs. All families will receive a customized “essentials baskets” throughout the year filled with toiletries and other items that will help ease the burden of poverty. We will also work to fulfill other needs the family may have, including things like replacing a broken stove so a family is capable of preparing meals, providing bus passes so parents can get to work and support their loved ones, or replacing broken beds so families have a comfortable place to sleep.
- Community Resources – We have compiled a comprehensive list of Mecklenburg County supportive resources which can be found on our website.
Weekend Food Packs:
We will coordinate, raise funds, collect donations, and provide volunteers to prepare food bags for food-insecure families in Charlotte. Each bag will provide a family with food over weekends and holidays when children don’t have access to free breakfast and lunch at their school. These are distributed by our partner schools.
Supporting families in these small, yet significant ways, can greatly increase their ability to support themselves and eventually achieve life-long stability.
Why do we need Families Forward Charlotte?
Imagine waking up not knowing where your next meal will come from as your children tell you they’re hungry. Work starts in one hour but your tank is on empty and you don’t have the money to fill it up. If you miss work, you’ll get fired but who will watch the kids if you go? Unfortunately, this is a daily reality for far too many of our fellow Charlotteans (http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/February-2016/The-Conversation-Issue-50-Our-Lowest-Low/).
Families Forward Charlotte is committed to fighting the poverty trend facing our community. Our Liaisons have connected families with job opportunities, housing, training programs, much needed mental health treatment, and have connected them to assistance for their children. They are someone in their corner – someone that cares about them. We have called organizations on behalf of a family to try to keep them in their home, and made many calls try to find them a transitional home to live in when they are losing theirs. We sat with families to help them fill out countless housing applications. We care if they succeed or fail, and we know we can make it easier for them to succeed with someone on their side and showing them the way.
How are you different from other organizations?
What sets us apart are the family relationships we form that allow us to walk alongside a family on their journey to stability. Our Family Liaison’s (volunteer) spend 4-6 hours a month in a mentorship capacity with our families. The Family Liaison uses their training to help their partner family set goals, plan action steps, connect with existing resources in the community, and they also use their social capital (their resources/connections and time) to help a family achieve their goals.
We will also help to provide families with certain essentials that can make a significant difference in their lives or help them break through a barrier to their success – by easing the burden of poverty in this way, we are allowing the family the ability to focus their attention on their goals. Additionally, we will connect them with existing organizations in the community, and help in navigating those resources, that can provide the tools and assistance needed to break the cycle of poverty.
How can I get involved?
We need volunteers for a host of various tasks including, but not limited to, packaging of our essentials baskets and weekend food packs, being a Family Liason, hosting donation drives, fundraising, and communications. Click HERE to be redirected to our volunteer information.
Interested in joining our Board of Directors (BOD)? As a largely volunteer organization our BOD gives of their time each week in order to run the organization. If you would like more information please contact Info@FamiliesForwardCLT.org.
Does your company want to become one of our Community Partners? Email our founder, Carrie Christian at Carrie@FamiliesForwardCLT.org for sponsorship information.
Host a donation drive! Contact us at Info@FamiliesForwardClt.org for more information.
Can’t host a donation drive but want to donate? Contact us at Info@FamiliesForwardClt.org for more information.
How many families do you serve?
In 2019-20 we are serving 30 families in our Family Success Program. We will increase the number of families served each year. In 2020-21 we will serve 50 families, and plan to serve 70 families in 2021-22. View our Strategic Plan: 2019-22 Strategic Plan – CURRENT.
Our Weekend Food Pack program provides 200 weekend food packs each month during the school year, and additional assistance to these families in the form of grocery gift cards during the holidays.
How do you find the people you help? Are they screened?
Initially, we will find our clients through the social workers and guidance counselors at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Title 1 schools. These dedicated professionals already have a relationship with families in need and can provide strong recommendations for the families we serve. We are currently working with 3 partner schools to accept referrals but will be expanding our referral sources for the 2020-21 program year.
Where does my money go?
We are a small organization that focuses on using funds to have a direct impact on the families we serve. We use funds to host our website (which provides our comprehensive resource list to our entire community), to provide essential needs to families throughout the year, and to host monthly educational workshops in which we provide transportation, childcare, translation services, and a meal for all program families. Your generosity also allows us to be members of the Economic Mobility Exchange, provide Mobility Mentoring© training to our staff/board and volunteers, and also the tools and time needed to manage our dedicated volunteers and family partners.
We are a certified 501(c)3 organization listed on GuideStar.org where you can find our most recent financial information.
If you find that your questions are not answered here please contact Carrie Christian at Carrie@FamiliesForwardCLT.org or 704-659-1833.