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“Helping cut through layers of challenge.”

December 14, 2017

Family & Children Services clients often face many barriers to healing: mental illness, physical disability, addiction, homelessness, poverty.

Yet, one intervention from an agency staff member can cut through these layers and put a life that’s spinning out of control back on track.

“Calming advice from a crisis counselor, a word of encouragement from a parent coach, or a loving embrace by a foster parent can make all the difference between hope and despair,” says CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud.

Some clients, she adds, are also just one small financial shortfall away from a full-blown crisis that can disrupt an entire family: a missed paycheck, an unexpected bill, a car that won’t start.

“In these cases, the agency’s HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund – made possible by our generous donors – can make all the difference,” Thomas-Cloud says.

All HANDLE WITH CARE funds go directly to meet critical client needs and deliver direct client service. For 30 years, it’s been a strong safety net for thousands of individuals and families who turn to Family & Children Services when no other source of help is available in the community.

“I know our staff members change lives for the better through their professional interventions. I believe our donors do the same thing through their contributions to HANDLE WITH CARE.”

She cited three recent examples:

  • Several years ago, a house fire killed a local woman and put her young grandchildren in the hospital for weeks. That same year, one of the granddaughters drowned. The girls’ mother, “Leila,” struggled to overcome PTSD, depression, and the ensuing financial setback traced to these tragedies. Using HANDLE WITH CARE funds from donors, Family & Children Services helped buy clothes and school supplies for the children, lessening the mothers burden. This support gave Leila the peace of mind she needed to help pull her through dark times.
  • When “Keisha” was a teen, her mother became too sick to care for her and forced her to move out of the house. After her mother died, Keisha, then 17 and living on her own, wanted to move back into her old house to be close to her support network in her old neighborhood and school. Just one problem: The power to the house had been shut off due to nonpayment. Using HANDLE WITH CARE funds, Family & Children Services helped restore the power to Keisha’s house and empowered her to take control of her life.
  • “Suzie” was hearing impaired, homeless, newly single, and determined to get a house for her and her children. Her fulltime job helped her get a house, but not furnish it with beds, meaning her children had to live elsewhere. Using HANDLE WITH CARE contributions, the Family & Children Services provided two sets of bunk beds, a bed for Suzie (she was sleeping on the floor, too), and a used couch. Mother and children were reunited under one roof and remain so a year later.

“Children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman said ‘The future which we hold in trust for our own children will be shaped by our fairness to other people’s children,’ says Thomas-Cloud.

“We are so grateful to our HANDLE WITH CARE donors for helping our community’s children and their family members. Donors’ generosity has resulted in thousands of agency clients receiving direct assistance and services – all directed as specific needs, all helping reduce barriers to healing.”

Please consider a gift to HANDLE WITH CARE. Visit http://www.fcsource.org/ways-to-give-hwc.html to make a secure online donation. Or contact Director of Resource Development Courtenay VanderMolen at courtenay.vandermolen@fcsource.org / 269.488.7936.