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Volunteers prep center for homeless families; Family Promise chapter set to open soon

COURTESY: FAMILY PROMISE OF TUALATIN VALLEY - About 80 volunteers worked the weekend of Oct. 6 to prepare a day center for Family Promise of Tualatin Valley. About 80 volunteers gathered in Tualatin the weekend of Oct. 6 to help prepare a day center that will serve homeless families in the Sherwood, Tigard-Tualatin and Lake Oswego School Districts.

Family Promise of Tualatin Valley is a new chapter of a local organization that provides homeless families with short-term housing, while providing them with resources to find permanent employment and housing. The Tualatin Valley chapter formed in late 2006, and currently is in the late stages of launching.

COURTESY: FAMILY PROMISE OF TUALATIN VALLEY - Many of the volunteers who came out to help prep Family Promises day center were from the 15 churches that signed on to serve as hosts or volunteers with the organization.The volunteers had their work cut out for them, as the day center space needed structural repairs, a fresh coat of paint, dry wall patching, a balcony replacement, a partial re-roofing and ample yard work.

"It was a great time for the community to come out and come together," said Gina Olsen, a Family Promise of Tualatin Valley team member. "They felt like they were a part of something much bigger, something that they couldn't have done on their own."

The day center, a building provided by Rolling Hills Community Church, will serve as a space for families to gather during the day when they are not at work and school. It will also be a place where the adults in the family can take classes on balancing a budget, learn resume and job interview skills, and connect with counselors and other social services.

Each family will go through a background check before being accepted by Family Promise, and families with substance abuse, domestic violence or untreated mental health issues will not be admitted.

Volunteer churches will host families overnight. Olsen said that her Family Promise chapter has 15 churches signed on to serve either as hosts or volunteers for the organization.

The chapter aims to open in January of 2019, but first it needs to raise at least half of its yearly operating budget — about $35,000 — by Dec. 1.

The chapter's fundraising push coincides with the national Family Promise Week, which starts Thursday, Oct. 18, and runs through Thursday, Oct. 25.

"We really need to get about half of our operating budget for the year before we can open our doors," Olsen said. "During that week, we're hoping to have a huge push with all our congregations."

During Family Promise Week, Family Promise of Tualatin Valley will push its "Give Me Five" Campaign. Organizers had the idea for the campaign after realizing that many statistics about homelessness relate to the number five.

About five percent of Oregon students don't have a safe home to return to after school; at least five students in the community sleep in their cars each night; the average kid in the Family Promise program is five years old; and host churches open their doors to their Family Promise families at 5 p.m. each day.

COURTESY: FAMILY PROMISE OF TUALATIN VALLEY - It was a great time for the community to come out and come together, said Gina Olsen, a Family Promise of Tualatin Valley team member, about the volunteering event. "We came up with five reasons to give $5, and we're hoping folks will give $5 or more, depending on what their family resources are," Olsen said. "When you think about $5, it really doesn't get you a whole lot. But this is a way people can spend $5 and actually make a big difference."

GET INVOLVED

To donate or volunteer with Family Promise of Tualatin Valley, visit https://www.familypromiseoftv.org/

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GET INVOLVED

To donate or volunteer with Family Promise of Tualatin Valley, visit https://www.familypromiseoftv.org/

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