Journal Reflections of a Former Teen Guest of FPL

December 25, 2012 This is probably one of the worst Christmas’ ever.  Homeless and don’t have a place to stay.  I hate it so much.  Haven’t had a nice good home cooked meal for about a month.  Eating out is starting to get boring, McDonald’s double cheese burgers are starting to look and get sloppy and nastier by the minute.  I just am ready for our own crib.  This staying with family of friends’ thing isn’t really my cup of tea.  I’m just ready for something new. January 10, 2013 So we have to go to this interview with my dad today.  I think he said that we were going to go talk to this homeless organization…I don’t need anyone trying to judge me.  I need help, not a roasting session.  Well here goes nothing. January 20, 2013 So today is the day that we moved in Family Promise. It’s cool I guess. I kind of don’t like them being all up in my face, kind of creepy.  But they’re helpful and they’re nice.  Haven’t run into nice people in awhile.  They’ve got a PlayStation upstairs, dvd player and a TV so I’ll never be bored.  Got to get ready to go to the church that we’re staying at this week. Man I’m stuffed.  They made the families tacos and nachos.  We could’ve picked between the two, but me and pops got both.  Then after that we had ice cream and we could’ve put our own toppings on them.  I put Oreos, gummy worms, brownies and a little bit of chocolate syrup on top.  I didn’t finish it but I’m going to save it until tomorrow.  Well its time to get some shut eye. February 17, 2013 So today my dad told me were are getting ready to get our own place.  I’m going to miss this program.  All the people that have helped us and have helped better me as a person.  I know at first I wasn’t really down to open up to these people and ask for help, but know that I did that and I actually had help. Note: The author, Isiah Linnear Jr. is graduating from High School tomorrow.  Portions of this journal were turned in as a paper for an English writing assignment last year.  We are honored to have been a small part of Isiah’s story and that he allowed us an opportunity to post some of his reflections.  Isiah continues to volunteer through FPL.  He took the lead in design and setting up a teen room in our Day Center and he is frequently found hanging out at the Day Center between school and work, encouraging kids and families who are enrolled in the program.   It is relationships that make Family Promise work.  We are grateful to Isiah Jr and his entire family for their ongoing service, care for families in the program and their friendship.  Congratulations on all your hard work and graduating...

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Gesture by Mary Kaczor – FPL Board Member

Attending the national conference for Family Promise on the west coast, I take a needed break to walk along the water. I find myself on a path leading to the ocean as a man approaches me and I smile immediately at his apparent mode of transportation and his cleverly equipped load.   Over his apt shoulders is a broom handle shaped stick, yet longer, each end holding a big heavy black trash bag. Below his feet, what at first I think is a hover board, turns out to be a regular skateboard, old and rickety with age and use. He pushes off again as he comes toward me and his heavy load shifts.     Just as he reaches me and I smile to say hello, he winces with discomfort. I notice one of his gold hoop earrings has attached itself to his black hoodie, dragging down his head and causing an issue with his equilibrium. I turn back and say “Can I help you?” as he steps first one foot then the other off his board. He tells me “yes” as I come closer and cautiously let my fingers touch the small tarnished band.   I unhook the culprit, a thin black thread, and ask if I should re-hook his earring or unhook it completely. “You better take it out so it doesn’t happen again” he says as I slide the post out of the hole in his ear, suddenly feeling the intimacy of my task. He takes the gold hoop from me now, into his rough dirty fingers, our hands touching for just a moment as a silent wind overtakes us. “Thank you Missy,” he says loudly as I turn to walk away and he gives another push forward on his four wheels. I realize suddenly and with certainty that the enormous hope I have for three days of learning has been accomplished with just one simple...

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Call It Beautiful by Shaun LePage

Some say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I get that. I won’t dispute it. But, beauty is also in the eye of the one with understanding. Looking at Family Promise from the outside, you might think it’s just another service provider. Just a program. But I’ve had the chance over the past several months to take a closer look. I’ve discovered something I didn’t see at first: Beauty.

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It’s the Thing that is Different Around Here by Katherine Dinsdale, Board Member

It’s the thing that’s different around here. It’s what helps grease the wheels and turn the cranks. It butters the bread and floats the boats, it brings tears and cheers and dollars and sense. It’s relationship.

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Happy New Year!

One of my favorite New Year’s Eve Family Promise of Lawrence stories is from 5 years ago. One of the coordinators at First Baptist Church sent me an email about 12:30 about her experience hosting that night.

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Home for Christmas

One of the “artificial” goals for many families in Rotation and Program 515 is to have their own place by the holidays. Year after year, we see a surge of families meeting that goal and getting into their home by Thanksgiving, or by Christmas, or before an anticipated milestone birthday. This year is no exception.

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Eye Contact

Eye contact is a big deal.

And when it happens at Family Promise, we rejoice. Often the child of a weary new guest won’t meet our gaze. She clings to her mom. She turns her face away. Looking up, interacting with others, is too risky. Don’t engage. It might hurt again.

Then, often, something magical happens.

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Thank you Lord for our network of caring, compassionate people

It is that time of year again already! Time that we pause from our busy schedules, our work, school, activities, and our taxi service for our kids. We can stop, give thanks and reflect on all that is good and perfect in our world.

In the office at FPL, we have a Thanksgiving journal.

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Investing in our Community by Expanding Programming!

Family Promise of Lawrence receives an average of 300 calls from separate families inquiring about our services annually. The average family size is 4, so that represents about 1200 people who are in a difficult situation and are exploring options for their family annually. More than 50% of the people we serve annually are under the age of 5.

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Is that in My Job Description?

Job descriptions for staff positions with Family Promise can be rather daunting and perhaps somewhat impractical.  How do you possibly incorporate all about this beautiful, wonderful, interesting, and sometimes messy work at Family Promise into a single document?   Our job descriptions were tested in a rather unique manner this past week.  Shaun LePage, a part time Family Service Coordinator with FPL was working with one of Temporary Housing residents last week, and learned there was a groundhog co-habitating under the porch of the Grace House.  This creature was large enough that he was causing quite the racket, especially at night.  The groundhog was also of course, causing quite a bit of concern to the Mom who lives there with her 22-month old daughter. After much gathering of information and consulting experts, Shaun proposed we set a humane live animal trap for the little co-habitating groundhog, so we could catch him outside of the porch, and then seal off the entrance so he would have to find another dwelling.  This seemed like a good idea to all, so Shaun went to work on setting the humane live trap. Day 1 – trap tipped over (wonder if the groundhog is too large?) Day 2 – no groundhog, but Shaun did trap a creature…a skunk… yikes! Was this in his job description? Apparently there are precious few in our community who are equipped for removing “nuisance animals” (as skunks are referred to in such circles.)  One organization that does this work in our region, was out of town last week, so Shaun went back to work researching!  As it turns out, Shaun removed the skunk himself and released him out of the city limits near a lovely wooded area.   Skunk is happy, Mom and daughter are happy, Shaun is happy he did not get sprayed, and the groundhog is happy since he didn’t get caught! The groundhog is still co-habitating, but I doubt if another live trap is in our future.  We are very grateful to Shaun.  The Mom in the Grace House called him a superstar!  I don’t think I will rewrite his job description,...

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