Blink and the holiday season will be here. It is the time when most people focus on their home and family to plan celebrations and gatherings. But what if you had no home.
Over two hundred school-aged children in the Tigard-Tualatin School District are homeless. Their families live with many insecurities. They may not have a plan for a place to sleep, food to eat or clothes to wear. In sharp contrast to their neighbors, living without a home becomes a burden too great to conquer.
Family Promise is a non-profit organization that reaches out to serve homeless families. Thanks to a network of religious and civic organizations, Family Promise is able to provide safe sleeping spaces, meals and resources to families in transition. It is a long-held belief that if a child can remain in their school, maintain their routine and participate in their community; their family has a better chance for success. The Tualatin Rotary Club looks for opportunities to support underserved youth. Partnering with Family Promise was a necessary decision.
Once a local family has been identified as homeless, they are given the opportunity to enroll in the Family Promise program. For a period of fourteen or more weeks, they will have shelter in a local church. Their children will be enrolled and transported to school and the parents will be given resources to attain and maintain new living quarters. Networking services are provided to help the parents with job opportunities and career advancement through additional schooling.
Family Promise of Tualatin Valley saw a missing piece in their service plan. They needed a day shelter. The families had a secure sleeping arrangement but no home during the day. Through extensive work and volunteer stamina, the community secured a house in Tualatin and began a major remodel. Rotary Club became the furnishing component. When the home was complete, Tualatin’s Rotary Club donated twenty-five thousand dollars to furnish each room. Families now have a place to shower and do laundry. They have a preschool room for children too young for school. There are napping spaces for infants and toddlers. Homework tables are ready for students when they return from a day of instruction. Parents have computer centers to research job opportunities and educational advancements. The day shelter is home. It is a happy place where families can connect and grow.
The Tualatin Rotary is a small club with fifty members from this community. Raising funds for projects like the day shelter takes work, time and treasure. Rotary members are constantly working behind the scenes to make this neighborhood a better place for children and families. Support for Rotary’s “giving” comes from its membership and also from anyone in the community who is willing to join with the club and donate to its events and fundraisers.
This holiday season, our neighbors will have more to cheer about. Thanks to an organization like Family Promise and the generosity of The Tualatin Rotary Club, children and their parents have a homelike place to gather and celebrate their journey towards a sustainable home of their own.