• Joy Sasser and Benjamin Tangeman
“Unless the Lord does raise the house, in vain it’s builders strive”
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Co 15:58)
As anyone who has been a Christian, or been a part of a local church, for any length of time knows it is the sacrificial service of every member, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that keeps the mission of the church on track. Paul’s exhortation to “always abound in the work of the Lord” has a special clarity to it. It rings of his exhortation earlier in his letter, “...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We can be confident that the work we do unto Christ will not be lost, and that he will accomplish his good through our effort. What a promise! The elders are so grateful for the participation we have with all of you in gospel ministry.
On Sunday we presented a few needs from our Safe Families for Children team. We invited you to consider whether you may be someone who is able, willing and desires to meet these needs in this ministry: being a Host Family or a Family Coach.
What is a Host Family?
Being a Host family is a truly rewarding and challenging experience. You will make a lasting impression on a child in need and possibly change the trajectory of a family in crisis. Host Families serve as the backbone of the Safe Families movement. Being a host family simply means being willing and approved to have a child in need in your home. The time commitment can vary from daytime support to weekend respite, short-term (1-2 weeks) to longer-term hosting (1-4 months) and you determine how and when you are available to serve. We hope to have at least 2 new, longer-term host families; with at least one based in Fuquay/Holly Springs, to have coaches near our host families.
Here are some examples:
- Daytime support can be for a mom needing transitional childcare as she gains employment but still applying for full-time childcare. Daytime hosting can also be part of the support circle we create for a longer-term host family.
- Weekend respite hosting typically is part of a circle of support for a longer-term host family or maybe for a single mom who needs a physical and mental health break so that she can maintain her safe and secure home.
- Short-term hosting (1-2 weeks) is commonly seen for a specific need, like the mom going into the hospital to have a baby or other medical needs.
- Longer-term hosting, which can last 1-4 months, is most commonly seen when the family is homeless and starts from scratch to secure housing, employment, and childcare. From our experience, this just takes time.
What is a Family Coach?
This is both a relational role and a detail-oriented, structured role. As a Family Coach, you help the parent(s) set and meet their goals so their family can be together in a safe and stable environment. You are not their social worker, but you walk alongside the parent(s) with support and encouragement. The Family Coach is also the point person for the Host Family and ensures they have the support and resources they need while hosting. The Family Coach is supported by the Family Coach Supervisor on staff with SFFC Raleigh. We would love to have 2 more Family Coaches, again with at least one based in Fuquay/Holly Springs, to have coaches near our host families.
A little more detail… As a Family Coach, you will:
- Support the Host Family. This ensures that families get the support and resources they need to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children.
- Monitor children’s safety. Because safety is a top priority, the Family Coach begins assessing safety within 48 hours of a child moving in with the Host Family—and each week for at least a month, depending on the hosting length.
- Provide a family in need with resources, such as community referrals and assistance in making appointments.
- Facilitate the relationship between the Host Family and the Family in need with compassion and empathy.
You will need to be able to:
- Listen to Host Families and Families in need. The Family Coach provides space for them to express their thoughts and concerns.
- Manageexpectations. For example, the Host Family may feel they must fix problems or situations that are not their responsibility. Alternately, if a hosting arrangement seems longer than expected, the Family Coach is needed to temper expectations.
- Solve Problems. Family Coaches work with the church and other community resources to assist Families in need.
- Reassure. Stressful situations require a calm presence and the ability to give hope to those who may feel hopeless.
Volunteers will ONLY see needs if they are within our fidelity standard proximity radius of 15 miles + their availability and preferences on their profile match with the need. Therefore, we need to expand participation to have more potential matches! This also eases the ability to come alongside each other and have more significant potential for long-term engagement.
Follow these simple steps to become a Host Family and Family Coach:
- Fill out an application. You may find some of our questions quite personal, but it is important that we get to know you as well as possible. We need to make sure that all Safe Families volunteers are well-equipped to handle their responsibilities.
- Expect a home visit for a Host Family. When we receive your completed application, we will contact you to arrange a home visit. The visit will allow us to get to know you and your family and to walk through your home.
- Complete our basic core training. All Host Families are required to complete the Safe Families training. This can be done online or in person in your community. ***There is NEW ONE DAY TRAINING***
- Expect a background check. Provide information so that criminal and child-abuse background checks can be conducted. NC currently does not require fingerprints.
- Submit three references. You will need to provide us with contact information or reference letters from three people (non-family members) who know you well.
After this process is complete, a local Safe Families office will contact you when a child needs help.
Safe Families is a gift of love from the local church towards families in our community. This is one of the most practical ways to offer water to the thirsty, a safe place for the unsteady, and love and truth to those in need. Thank you for your consideration and prayers for helping in this ministry. If you’d like to have a conversation about these roles or whether you may be a good fit please reach out to Joy Sasser ([email protected]), the Bridges & Boats team ([email protected]) or the Church Office ([email protected]).
If you’d like to know more about Safe Families for Children and maybe serve, but aren’t interested in either the Host Family or Family Coach role, here are some other roles that the team also needs. If you have the gifts of administration, mercy, generosity and leadership you may be excellent for these roles.
- Family Friend: (Part of the circle of Support) Connect with a parent who would benefit from a healthy support system. Family Friends can also support Host Families by providing meals, respite care, transportation, etc. Family Friends encourage and strengthen families in crisis so that they may thrive. Performing small tasks, such as dropping off diapers or babysitting for a few hours, provides families with support and builds relationships. This role does need to fill out an application and go through the basic core training.
- Resource Friend: (Part of the circle of Support) Financial support in the form of gas and grocery gift cards for the host family or parent. Provide tangible items that are needed, such as meals, diapers, and clothes. Help a parent with a skill such as resume writing, driving, or time management. Being a consistent donor to SFFC Raleigh is also valuable for our chapter as it helps fund the leadership that supports us so well. https://safefamilies-raleigh.funraise.org/
- SFFC@CFC Leadership Team: We need a new “communication” team member who is able to write monthly newsletter notes and updates through our church email program. This member is also integral to welcoming other roles and input to recruit and train volunteers within our church and to facilitate growth and engagement for the hostings we are participating in, as well as other roles within SFFC.
- Community Engagement for SFFC: To get referrals in our area that our church can participate in, we need to be known in the area. SFFC Raleigh has and is building a list of community events where SFFC could set up a table/tent to help spread the word about who we are and that we are in the area. They have a whole setup kit ready to use. Potential also to set up meetings with community organizations, along with SFFC staff, to build a referral base. We have made some new good connections, but those must be fostered. Click here to SERVE and SHARE our Event Engagement opportunities. This is a great fit for anyone who has a desire to see all willing Safe Family volunteers able to serve in their area because we have become a trusted, go-to agency in the community + can give 3-4 hours a month to run the SF booth/table at an event.
- SFFC Raleigh Intake Hotline: Get trained and sign up for shifts to answer the intake hotline. This is a frontline role and can be done from home for a few hours a week!
- Southern Wake Resource Closet Coordinator: There is a resource closet in Raleigh, but the goal is to have resource rooms in storage units accessible by Ministry Leads, Family Coaches, and Staff in each region. Click this link to see what is currently in our resource room.
- Prayer Team:Prayer is the fuel for the Safe Families movement! Prayer bends our hearts to God and increases love and compassion for others. Here is a prayer guide for SFFC. Monthly Prayer Meetings are happening on Google Meet on the last Monday of every month at 8pm! Monthly prayer link. For more information or a recurring calendar invite, please email our Chapter Prayer Lead, Ashley Farmer: [email protected].
- SFFC Raleigh/Durham Advisory Counsel: Grant writing, fundraising, and community engagement from the non-profit structural vantage point. Help advise and be part of the strategic planning to be a healthy non-profit, sustain momentum, and grow in our region.