Like 2020, the year 2021 has once again been a test of our resilience, our ability to handle difficult times during a global health crisis. As I look back on what has been, I couldn’t be more grateful for the hardworking staff of Family & Children Services and the generous donors who have supported us so that we may help others.
You have kept us going not only with your donations, but also your investment of time. As you will read in “Learning Resilience,” the ability to bounce back after trauma requires, in part, social support. You have been part of that support that has kept our staff going strong through the many challenges of helping our clients through the crises of a pandemic. We thank you.
The holiday season and the long winter months ask more from us than other seasons. During the holidays, we think of this time as the season to give—to open our hearts to other members in our community who may not enjoy the bounty that others enjoy.
Please read “Bringing a Little Joy into Every Heart” about the needs of families and children and the options available so that your donation can make the most difference in someone’s holiday who might otherwise go without.
“Opening the Circle of Blessings” introduces you to our annual fund, HANDLE WITH CARE, which relies entirely on your donations—with every donation going to help children and families in greatest need.
Your gifts bring joy not only to the recipients of your gifts. They bring joy to us, too. Your gifts tell us that you support our efforts to make our community a kinder, gentler place to live and thrive—for everyone.
Wishing you blessings of health and good will now and throughout the coming year!
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services
Few periods of time have tested us more than the last couple years of a pandemic. Family & Children Services has served many in our community affected most by COVID. Our clients are those who are already struggling, but now have lost jobs, lost homes, and suffered additional emotional and mental distress. Food insecurity, domestic violence, homelessness, emotional challenges, all have increased during this pandemic.
Helping others cope with these challenges has added emotional and psychological challenges to our own team members of clinicians and social workers.
“We have lost close friends and loved ones while dealing with this health crisis,” said Ira Green, foster care supervisor. “We have had to change the way we live our lives and the way that we do our work. It has required resiliency on all our parts to make it through this time.”
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What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think about the holiday season? Bright and colorful lights, a decorated tree with a bounty of wrapped gifts piled beneath it, families gathered around tables heavy with a mouth-watering feast? You may think about laughing children playing in the snow. You may imagine yourself dressed in new clothes, a warm coat and lined boots to keep your feet dry.
Family & Children Services sees a different image at the thought of the holidays. For many of the families and children we serve, the holidays can be a time of increased stress and fear. The problems of the year can become heightened during the holidays—financial shortages, evictions, job losses, hunger, abuse and neglect.
For far too many children in our community, there are no gifts beneath the tree. There is no tree. Santa bringing gifts to good little children is a fairy tale for others, but not for them. Some have even had to be removed from their homes over the holidays to keep them safe.
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As we exchange gifts with family and friends this holiday season, please consider those individuals, families, and children who have no gifts to give. This is the reality of those in our community who suffer from emotional and physical challenges, food insecurity, homelessness, neglect and abuse, and other hardships.
Too often, their problems go unresolved.
In a season when we are reminded of our own blessings, at Family & Children Services, we see the members of our community who are less fortunate. We see their faces, we hear their voices, and it is our mission to help those among us who need help the most.
We are committed to be an essential service provider so that no one in our community remains outside the circle of blessings. We connect people to the critical resources in our community that can bring the resources so desperately needed.
And yet—we can’t do this alone. You, our donors, are a vital part of providing support and who make it possible for us to help with every day basic needs alongside our essential human services.
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