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!
As we conclude National Social Worker Appreciation Month, I would like to present another picture of the Family Care Network, and the environment in which our Social Workers and other clinical staff operate. As a Human Service Organization, how we SERVE is mission-critical. But for us this term has a double entendre, SERVE is also an acronym for the domains that define how we serve, plan, evaluate and implement important changes. In essence, SERVE is the framework that supports the Family Care Network.
In my role as a Social Worker, I work as part of a team to find the best solutions and situations for the kids and families we serve. Unfortunately, during this process, we often encounter heartbreak and disappointment. But when best laid plans go awry, we turn to the backup plans, and sometimes, a Plan B ends up being the best plan of all.
When Denise and Lee became adoptive foster parents, they were full of excited anticipation. While unsure of what to expect, they were excited to care for someone who truly needed them. That someone would turn out to be Cora--a nine year old girl who was placed in Emergency Shelter Care when her grandparents could no longer care for her. Without parents or other family, and after being repeatedly disappointed by life, Cora had little hope of finding a family of her own. Little did she know who was waiting for her.
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.
Each year, our Sponsor a Child for the Holidays giving campaign has a profound and far-reaching impact on the children, youth and families we serve. In wanting you--our community--to truly understand how meaningful, how empowering and how vital the gift cards and funds you gave are, I reached out to our families to hear from them myself what Sponsor a Child meant to them. I then sat down with and interviewed a local family who wanted to share their experience with you all; below, I share their story written from their perspective.
Millie* knew how turbulent life could be. At only 10, she and her younger brother, Theo, were placed in foster care after their older sister, who they had been living with, dropped them off at a friend’s house and never returned. Millie’s father had passed away years earlier and she had never met her mom, so in care, Millie started to panic that she’d never see any of her family again. Growing more fearful and untrusting while in care, Millie’s emotions started coming out as anger, often misdirected at Theo or her foster parents.
As 2018 comes to a close, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation and thanks to everyone who has made this year a tremendous success. As you have heard many times, the mission of the Family Care Network is “to enhance the wellbeing of children and families in partnership with our community.” Thankfully, 2018 was another demonstration of the power of partnership in serving the most needy children, youth and families on the Central Coast.
Hi, I’m Sandra, a new Youth Partner at Family Care Network. I’m a good fit for the job, because I have been in the foster care system since I was thirteen, and I’ve utilized many of the programs that Family Care Network provides! I have been in Emergency Shelter Care, multiple foster homes, received Wraparound services when I was living with my mom, and also participated in the Transitional Housing Placement Program prior to and after turning eighteen. I also utilized the Independent Living Program throughout many of those years.
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” --George Sand, 1870