There have been times in my life when I didn’t have toilet paper. I usually had a roof over my head (even if it was a carroof), but we didn’t always have finished floors. Did you know that the term “dirt poor” is an Americanism from the 1930s referring to someone living in a house that has a dirt floor? In the United States in the 1990s, I was dirt poor, fleeing from one terrifying temporary non-home to another. Being dirt poor is not just a third world condition, it’s not just a Great Depression Era throw-back, and it doesn’t exclude any race.
As many of you know who have followed my writings or blogs over the years, I have been very emphatic about building a strong foundation under the Family Care Network in order to effectively fulfill our mission “to enhance the wellbeing of children and families in partnership with our community.” This has included establishing seven Foundation-Principles from our beginning, that have guided our organization these past 32+ years, as well as embedding 10 Guiding Practice Principles.
“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.”
Why am I so passionate about mentoring?
Ever since 9/11, the term “First-Responder” has become embedded within our culture. It was not that long ago that they were simply referred to as police, firefighters, EMTs, et cetera. But First-Responder is really a great term–a class of emergency personnel ready and available anytime, anyplace; whatever the emergency might be.
We have all been there, seated in a crowded restaurant flooded with the tumult of voices amalgamated into a decibel level so high it is untenable, making it impossible to have a normal conversation. People are talking, but no one is really listening. It is just noise. This serves as a perfect metaphor for our legislative process – the din of voices and wagging tongues, but no one is really listening! Unless you are one of the favored few who can buy ears to listen, you just become part of the noise!
I named the “Family Care Network” with a specific intent. FAMILY is our most important social institution and every effort should be made to support and strengthen families. A society exhibiting the disintegration of Family, is a society at great risk! The health of families is the most important ingredient to a healthy civil society. The stronger our family structure, the stronger and healthier we are as a nation. There is no disagreement--every child needs a healthy family! Let’s do our best to make sure this happens.
Volunteers are an essential element of FCNI. So much so, that we have an entire department dedicated to working with the 500+ volunteers who work with us each year--some as mentors or tutors, and others who work on our fundraising events or help with administrative tasks. Our volunteers dedicate over 3,000 hours every year to our mission--that’s a lot of time, energy and compassion in motion!
We love our creative community! As most of us know, the Central Coast seems to be a breeding ground for innovative people of all types to create a variety of local businesses which make living here even more wonderful than it already is. We have amazing local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, jewelers, painters, sculptures, bakers, screenprinters, farmers, graphic designers, landscapers, photographers, film makers, musicians...this list could really go on and on for pages.
Let me be blunt, the Family Care Network needs you! We call ourselves “Family Care Network” because that is what, and who we are--a Network of all kinds of people, agencies and organizations working together to improve the lives of children, youth and families in a variety of ways. The bottom line: we offer an opportunity for everyone to contribute to improving the quality of life on our Central Coast.
David really wanted to be a good father, and provide for his family in all the ways his own father had not. Unfortunately, having experienced trauma growing up, David had mental health issues he didn’t know how to deal with and he turned to alcohol as a means to cope. When his two children, Molly and Manny, were very young, David’s struggles with alcoholism affected his ability to provide them a stable home and impacted his relationship with their mother, Ana, in very unhealthy ways. On all fronts, David and his family were in crisis.