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|Family Promise of Ouachita needs volunteers|
A new non-profit organization called Family Promise of Ouachita wants to help families get "back on track," but the group needs more volunteers to help them.
The Family Promise program is for families with children who need a safe, supportive place to turn to during a time of crisis.
Family Promise of Ouachita has already partnered with 12 local congregations of various religious denominations to assist families by providing meals, overnight lodging and hospitality.
Host congregations provide overnight lodging and meals for up to 14 people (usually three to four families) for one week every two to three months on a rotating schedule.
The homeless families stay at a host church during the evening and overnight. Each morning, they are transported to a day center, where they prepare for their daily activities. These activities may include caring for young children, looking for jobs, workforce training, or going to school or work.
"The goal of Family Promise is to help community members believe that they can overcome their situation, that it is OK to reach out for help, and once again, become that productive citizen needed for the future growth of our community," said Stephanie Mock, network director for Family Promise of Ouachita.
"Current statistics show that 758 children in the Ouachita Parish school system are considered to be homeless," Mock said. "Most of these children are sixth grade and under. Our goal is to provide these families with shelter and food while assisting them in becoming independent."
Family Promise of Ouachita is an affiliate of the national chapter located in New Jersey, which is also called Family Promise. The national chapter began in 1986 to assist families in need.
Family Promise has now expanded to 39 states and has more than 125,000 volunteers and over 5,000 congregations of all religious faiths.
While the Ouachita Parish organization has agreements with 12 congregations to act as "host churches," other congregations have agreed to assist with food and supplies for the churches, and provide volunteers.
However, Mock says the organization needs additional volunteers to help directly at the center or to get involved with the churches.
To ask for help or to get involved as a volunteer, call Stephanie Mock at 654-4101, or e-mail her at email@example.com.