A non-profit organization that gives families who are homeless shelter and help to get back on their feet is moving along well.
During the recent meeting of the Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative meeting, Bob Fatzinger, Family Promise of Carbon County executive director; and Larissa Kimmel, Family Promise of Carbon county president; provided the group with an update on the Family Promise program.
Since the organization began serving families last year, it has helped five families.
Fatzinger stated that of those families most were single mothers; most of the children were under the age of 10; and the average length of the family's stay before finding permanent housing was 87 days.
He added that to make the program a success, hundreds of volunteers put an average of 245 hours a week, helping with various tasks, as well as mentoring the parents to help them find jobs and stable housing. Three school districts also provided transportation for the students so they could attend school.
"So far everyone has been great," Fatzinger said.
Kimmel said that the organization is "moving along well."
She noted that both Schuylkill and Lehigh counties are looking into beginning a Family Promise in their counties.
Currently in addition to Carbon County, only Monroe, Berks, Indiana and Lycoming counties have Family Promises set up in Pennsylvania.
Fatzinger said that to make this organization possible, fundraising is necessary. A big fundraiser the group is working on is the upcoming Redneck Festival in Weissport. The group will host two activities at the festival on Sept. 2, Bedknobs and Redneck race, a team bed race; and Cockadoodle poo bingo, which is set up like cow chip bingo. For more information on participating in those events, visit http://familypromisecarboncounty.com/bedrace.html .
Family Promise of Carbon County is a a non-denominational, non-profit 501C(3) organization that serves children and their families. They do not accept families without children or single people and are not an emergency shelter.
In March 2009, the group formed and began gathering volunteers and host congregations who would act as temporary housing for the families.
In November 2011, the first family entered the network.
In other matters, the group discussed the status of the counseling clinic proposed at Penn Kidder Elementary in Jim Thorpe. The collaborative has been working on this clinic, which is available to all students in all five Carbon County school districts, since last year.
They hope to have it up and running by the beginning of the 2012 school year but the licensing agency has not yet given the group the final green light.
Jamie Drake of Carbon, Monroe, Pike Drug and Alcohol also said that the 2012 Carbon County drug and alcohol survey in the middle schools was completed with over 3,000 students participating.
She will outline the findings at the August meeting.
The Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative is an organization made up of various county agencies to help children and their families find help and support they need to grow as a family.
The next meeting of the collaborative is 9 a.m., on Aug. 8, at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, 1264 Emergency Lane, Nesquehoning.