Sunday, September 24, 2006

Shelter group soars into second year

Sept. 24, 2006
By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The promise of Family Promise is to do what it can to eradicate the plight of the homeless within the community.
Since opening its doors in October 2005, the local branch of Family Promise has helped 15 homeless families secure steady jobs and permanent housing. The transitional housing entity is a refurbished fire station on 22nd Street off East Adams near Ferguson Park in Temple
'But we couldn't have done it without our volunteers and supporters from the community,' said Rick Miller-Chaney, director of the Family Promise program in Temple. The non-profit agency relies on grants, donations and fund-raisers to pay its expenses.
To show them thanks, Family Promise of East Bell County will have its inaugural Volunteer Recognition Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Mayborn Convention Center, 3303 N. 3rd St. in Temple. Tickets for the event cost $10. Reservations should be made by Monday, Sept. 25. Call (254) 773-9980 with questions.

The guest speaker for the Volunteer Recognition Dinner will be Karen Olson, founder and president of the National Family Promise program.
Ms. Olson began working with the homeless in 1982, serving sandwiches to the homeless at the Port Authority in New Jersey. Her informal gesture of kindness transformed into the present-day organization of Family Promise, which now has 118 affiliates in 39 states. The national network involves about 110,000 volunteers who assist more than 20,000 individuals each year.
In addition to honoring volunteers, Miller-Chaney will also give an update on the progress of the Temple branch of the program.
The East Bell County branch now employs the services of a full-time college intern, Tamika Davis of Killeen. Mrs. Davis is a social-work intern from Tarleton State University, working to complete 225 hours by the end of the fall semester.
'I find my work very fulfilling,' Mrs. Davis said while comparing her social work experience at Family Promise to a previous internship at a nursing home. 'It is personally rewarding to always be helping someone.'
Mrs. Davis is in her fourth year of college studies, and she said she plans to hold intern hours at Family Promise through the end of next spring. Her field instructor at the Tarleton State University campus in Killeen is Rhonda Ballard, a licensed social worker.
Mrs. Davis is the daughter of Mildred Davis of Austin and husband of Sgt. Michael Davis, who is on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have two children, 10-year-old Tamira and 9-year-old Michael.
'She's been doing very well,' Miller-Chaney said of Mrs. Davis' work for Family Promise. 'She jumped in with both feet and has been busy with case management and resource location.'
Its first intern is not the only new development for Temple's Family Promise.
Miller-Chaney and Shirley Walker, a social work faculty member from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, have partnered together to initiate a student program for UMHB social work students.
Ms. Walker's classes will work on three projects during this fall semester, each aimed to help Family Promise in its mission. Students, divided into three groups, will develop a fund-raising project, volunteer handbook and resource manual. All three end products are due in December.
The local branch of Family Promise also has another host church.
Temple's Bethel Assembly of God has joined 10 other area churches in their quest to serve the transient residents of Family Promise.
The homeless families involved in the Family Promise program spend their days at school or at the refurbished firehouse with program personnel looking for employment and then spend their evenings and nights at the affiliated churches.
Participating churches provide the families with bedding and meals.
Miller-Chaney and the board members of Temple's Family Promise also look forward to next month's Family Promise Golf Classic on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Sammons Golf Course in Temple.
'It'll be a four-man scramble,' Miller-Chaney said. 'The $75 per-person fee will include the cart, green fee and lunch.' The lunch menu features a hamburger, chips and drink.
Sponsorships for the tournament are divided into the following levels: entry level, $100 to $249; par level, $250 to $499 (one player on team plays free); birdie level, $500 to $999 (two players on team play free); eagle level, $1,000 to $4,999 (enter one team in tournament for free); and hole-in-one level, $5,000 and up (enter two teams in tournament for free and naming rights of tournament).
And Miller-Chaney said Family Promise needs furniture.
'We're about to move a family into their own house, and they'll be taking several of the items we have collected,' Miller-Chaney said. 'We're going to need to replenish that stock. Furniture and anything a person might need when the move into a new home.'
To donate items, sponsor the golf tournament or register as a player, call Miller Chaney at (254) 773-9980.

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