We are all One Team Now!
From Catherine
Dear friends,

For those of you who don't know me, let me introduce myself. I was previously the Executive Director of Durham Interfaith Hospitality - and I'm thrilled to now be in the Director of Partnerships and Programs for Families Moving Forward! This letter is intended specifically for our FMF volunteers. Welcome to all of you - those of you who had previously been Durham IHN volunteers, those who had been Genesis Home volunteers, and those who have already volunteered for Families Moving Forward this year! We are all one team now, with important work ahead of us.

Those that I've had the privilege of working with in the past, know how much I value you as volunteers.  Volunteers are the backbone of Families Moving Forward; and an absolutely key element of the merger was to ensure that we retained and grew our existing partnerships, and find new ways to leverage the passion and skills of volunteers to meet the many needs of our families. That's the mission of my team.

I'm excited to say that a lot of progress has been made in the short time since the merger. New volunteer opportunities are available across a broad spectrum of commitment levels and skill bases - both individual and group based opportunities. If you are part of a congregation, service group or business that historically partners with us - please contact us and we would be happy to come meet with you. (Thanks to those of you who have already made time to meet with us!) If you are an individual with a commitment to serving families and children - this is the place!

We also have Information Sessions twice a month for anyone interested in learning about all our opportunities. Please register to come by clicking here! Location will be at FMF on 300 N. Queen St.
Tuesday, March 8th, 12-1:15pm
Thursday, March 17th, 6-7:15pm

The last thing I'd like to say in this first FMF Volunteer Newsletter is that some of you may have no idea how much your love and non-judgmental support of our families can help to increase their self-esteem - which in the end, in my experience, is the most important ingredient to their long-term success. I feel so blessed that you have chosen this organization, and our FMF families, to share your gifts and your heart.  Thank you.
Catherine Pleil,
Director of Partnerships and Programs
Families Moving Forward

Meet the Partnerships and Programs Team

Tasha Melvin -  T asha is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Families Moving Forward. Prior to becoming the CEC, Tasha worked as the Volunteer & Circles of Support Coordinator for Genesis Home, since joining the team in 2010. She has her Masters in Sociology. With almost 15 years non-profit, volunteer, and program management experience Tasha shares her passion with the greater Durham community. 

Rachel Johnson - Rachel is the Program Development Coordinator for FMF, working directly with area professionals and agencies to develop curriculum for both the  adults and children that are most relevant and appropriate to their needs.  She had been on the Case Management team at DIHN prior to the merger, an d brings over 10 years of social work experience as well as a B.S. in Social Work and M.S. d egrees in Psychology/Child and Adolescent Development, Nonprofit Management, and Counsel ing.

We are sorry to say goodbye to Laura Hughes, who has been assisting Catherine as the Volunteer Coordinator for the past seven months. She has been a joy to work with!
Speaking of joy, Joy Kitanga is our Duke Divinity intern who has been with us this school year and will be with us until the end of April. She is currently working on getting our Pregnant Mothers' Support Group off the ground.
Christine Pavey is our UNC Social Work intern who has been helping Tasha with Circles of Support. She will also be leaving at the end of April.
Noura Elsayed  is a Duke undergrad who is part of our Bass Connection project. In addition to her work with our Bass collaboration this school year, Noura is assisting in the evenings with our "Study Buddies" program until the end of the school year.
All these team members have made important contributions to the program, and will be missed when they leave!

Pilots on Queen Street

Volunteers help with children's programming.

Each 2nd and 4th  Tuesday of the month, our guests on Queen St are helping us "test-pilot" what the rotation of the future will look like. So far, we have held 4 pilots when a group of volunteers, typically from a congregation, comes to serve 4-5 families dinner, and stays to provide children's programming for the youngest children, those 0-5, for an hour. Those are the primary roles of volunteers in the rotation. At the same time, while the youngest are being cared for, ANOTHER volunteer or community partner not connected to the rotation is providing a workshop for the parents on a particular topic that the parents in those 4-5 families signed up for, and OTHER volunteers are working with the older children in Study Buddies. So all of that is being piloted together. So far, the moms have been very enthusiastic about the workshops (which included two classes on filing taxes, one Parenting Class on taking your kids to the grocery store, and one Employment class on Job Search and Interviewing); and of course everyone in the families have been very grateful for the delicious dinners served!
If your group is interested in being involved in one of our pilots before our new "rotation" starts in the middle of the year, please contact tasha@familiesmovingforwardnc.org ; or if you'd like to offer a workshop on one of those nights, contact rachel@familiesmovingforwardnc.org . Thank you!

Congregation Spotlight for February 
Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church

Kit Chappell, 
 Co-ordinator at Mt. Sylvan UMC.
History:  I personally became interested in getting Mt. Sylvan UMC involved in the Interfaith Hospitality Network in the mid 90's. We joined the network as a support church to Glendale Heights UMC. As a support church, we took meals several nights a week and provided overnight hosts 2-3 times a week. Around 2003 our church staff moved into a new space, freeing up several rooms that we realized would make perfect lodging for IHN families. Our biggest draw-back was not having a shower for the guests. After several years of hosting, a group of men from Mt. Sylvan drew up plans and began work renovating our bathroom facilities and adding a shower. Thanks to their hard work, we now have really nice shower and bath facilities. 

Why do we work with FMF:  First, I love the children and second, I feel that Families Moving Forward is the force behind helping the families move toward independent living.  Every week that we host, it makes me so acutely aware of how blessed I am - just to have a warm shower to jump in every morning; to have my own home; and not to have to travel from church to dayhouse every day.   


What I look forward to in the future: I think it will be so good for families not to have to move every week from church to church.  I also hope that we will have many volunteers to help with transitioning the families into permanent housing, good jobs, and the support they need to become more independent.


Durham Chapter of the Link's Inc. Hosts
Women's Empowerment Program

On Saturday morning the esteemed members of the Durham Chapter of The Links, Inc., long time volunteers with Genesis Home, hosted Women's Empowerment, a program designed for the women residing at Families Moving Forward. Dr. Micheline Malson and other members of the National Trends Services committee led the charge to develop a program focused on enhancing self-esteem and identifying strengths in mothers who are experiencing homelessness. The 25 mothers who participated in this program provided self-reflective assessments, sharing their stories with the Links members. The highlight of the program was each woman being gifted with brand new business outfits (2 outfits, 4 garments each) donated by Doncaster to The Links, Inc. 
The Triangle Princeton Club

Triangle area Alumni of Princeton University came together for an afternoon of ser vic e recently. We were so gr ateful for their hard work and o rganizational skills. Our basement storage area has been reorganized and things have been more beautifully displayed so  that  families can select needed household items when they move into t heir own homes.
Your Passion
Volunteering with Families Moving Forward allows you to help with a local cause that's important to you.

Your Neighbors
We're all in this together. This is a great way to meet and get to know other folks in Durham.

Your Community
The work you do when you volunteer has a huge impact on our families. Thank you!

Stay Connected
Families Moving Forward,
1216 N. Roxboro St., Durham, NC 27701