PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: Stacy's story of Family Promise

Chuck Ferraro

Chuck Ferraro

Family Promise of Gwinnett County is a 30-day recovery and sustainability program for homeless children and their families. Families have a safe place to stay in one of many partner congregations, get resources to find employment and housing, and have an advocate to help them get back on their feet. This is done by providing assistance with vital social services, educational and healthcare services, along with traditional case management.

We also offer the SaltLight Center which is an emergency overnight shelter for women and children in Lawrenceville. It is open from 6:30 p.m. until 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Since we opened in 2005, we have served 157 families with 318 children. In 2013 alone, we served 38 families. We are able to help up to eight families by using our congregations to house four families at a time for one week intervals. Since 2005, we have had 82 percent of the families served by our program leave with a job and housing. Over the years we have had numerous success stories. The following is Stacy’s story:

A recent graduate named Stacy stated, “I recall vividly the day Chuck Ferraro presented me with the most amazing donation of a 2002 Buick Rendezvous and said to me that he and Family Promise were making an investment in my future. He also stated how he expected me to continue working at and to continue in my efforts to move forward. He then shook my hand and said, ’Good job’. “

“Chuck asked if I would put my Family Promise experience on paper. I pondered on how I could truly express my sentiment and this is what I came up with:”

“The Mission Statement of Family Promise, ‘ending homelessness one family at a time’ needs an appendage – through compassion, dedication, respect, long hours, and tireless efforts. It is also loving church families who transform their facilities to make a family in crisis feel welcome. These folks give the families a safe and warm environment, prepare the best recipes, and they fellowship with the families every night. It is shown through the quiet but always warm and cheerful Office Angels who come in early and leave late and offer a kind voice and a listening ear. “

“It is shown through the director who comes out on a Sunday evening to the church to check on his families and through Laura, the volunteer coordinator, who plans fun gatherings, pamper parties and holiday dinners. Lastly, it is shown through Lakeisha, the case manger, who with strong shoulders and a heart of gold is the family’s number one advocate, support system and voice of reason who can also dish out a dose of reality with a pat on the back for a ‘job well done’.”

“The word ‘Family’ comes to mind when I think of this program and the word ‘Promise’ of Almighty God who promises to never leave or forsake His people. “

“While it might be too much to put on a flyer or business card, it is the absolute truth about my experience at Family Promise of Gwinnett County which has touched and forever changed my life!”

Family Promise of Gwinnett is a community of 35 congregations, letting their faith in God show through their serving the homeless in our own communities.

If you would like to get involved or for more information, go to: www.familypromisegwinnett.org or call 678-376-8950.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services.

For more information contact Ellen Gerstein - ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org or at 770-995-3339.