Families Forward Community Connections - Fall 2017
Support Families This Holiday Season
Families Forward invites you to join us in supporting children and adults through our Thanksgiving and Adopt-a-Family Programs this November and December. With your help, we can make the holidays brighter for countless families in Orange County!
Thanksgiving Program

Consider donating food items or gift cards to help us provide a Thanksgiving meal to over 900 local families. How  you can help:
  • Donate Thanksgiving items - Personally shop and do nate needed ingredients to fill Thanksgiving baskets for families.
  • Donate gift cards - Help families buy a turkey or fresh produce with a gift card. Cli ck here  to commit to supporting a family with gift cards!
  • Don't have time to shop? - Donate online and designate your gift in support of the Thanksgiving Program.
Adopt-a-Family Program

Sign up to receive a child's wishlist and help make their holiday dreams  come true! The following are ways you can help us serve over  800 local families:
  • Adopt a family - Sign up to fulfill children's hopes by donating items on their wishlist. 
  • Host a gift drive - Register your organization for a toy drive and donate most-needed items. Teen gifts are especially needed. Click here to sign up for delivery and pick-up of donation barrels.
  • Donate gift cards - Click here to commit to helping parents purchase fresh holiday meal ingredients.
  • Don't have time to shop?Donate online and designate your gift in support of the Adopt-a-Family Program.
For questions about Thanksgiving or Adopt-a-Family, please contact Katie Szymczak at (949) 379-8325 or kszymczak@families-forward.org. 

Thank you to those who already donated!
Celebrating 25 Years of Leadership
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Margie Wakeham's leadership as Families Forward's CEO. Margie has been on the front lines of Families Forward's development since the organization began under the name "Irvine Temporary Housing" in 1984. Under her leadership, the organization has grown from a two-person operation to an organization meeting the needs of over 11,500 homeless and low-income individuals each year.

In honor of her 25 years of service, the Families Forward Board of Directors recently presented Margie with a plaque mounted outside our Program Center that reads: "In appreciation of Margie Wakeham, whose leadership and vision has helped many families realize their dreams." Take a look the next time you visit!
Record Number of Families Served
Families Forward completed our fiscal year on September 30 and we are excited to share the impact you and our community have made on local families in need. 

Our dedicated staff and volunteers served 17% more people for an unprecedented 11,500 clients this fiscal year.  We are proud to see Families Forward growing in our ability to serve vulnerable parents and children as we strive to reach our ultimate goal of ending family homelessness in Orange County by 2020.

Please click here to learn more about how your ongoing support has helped transformed the lives of homeless and nearly homeless families. 

Child and Adult Counseling Now Offered in Tustin

Families Forward has begun a new program with the Families Together of Orange County (FTOC) Community Health Center in Tustin. Physician Assistants now refer patients to a bilingual Families Forward counselor. The clinic provides  free transportation to all its patients, reducing the barriers families experience in accessing needed mental health services. 
Alissa's Story: Counseling at the Clinic 

Alissa brought her 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son to the  Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center  in Tustin to receive free back to school physicals. In addition to medical care, Alissa wondered if the clinic offered counseling for her children, as they seemed both anxious and depressed since her divorce. Their father, her ex-husband, struggled with alcoholism and continued to emotionally abuse the family. He would take the children without her consent, steal food from her home, make false claims, and disrupt her workplace. Twice, she had approach a judge requesting a restraining order, but the contradiction of stories and lack of physical evidence made it difficult for the court to administer one.
The Physician Assistant listened to Alissa's concerns and informed her that she and her children were eligible to see a counselor through a new partnership established between the Tustin clinic and Families Forward. Several weeks later, Alissa and her youngest daughter met with a counselor who filed a formal complaint regarding the father's abuse to Child Protective Services. As a result of the counselor's intervention, Orange County officials took immediate action to investigate the father. Finally, Alissa's concerns were being addressed. Before coming to Families Forward, she felt like "no one was listening." Now, her children are receiving regular counseling and the father's abuse is being addressed by County officials. The counselor has also begun seeing the 15-year-old daughter and they are discussing plans for college. 
Warm Your Heart Holiday Cards Available
Having trouble coming up with a creative gift idea?  Donate to Families Forward and we'll send holiday tribute cards to your friends, family or colleagues. 

Our "Warm Your Heart" program is an easy and impactful way to support local families. We will email or mail a tribute card to the recipient of your choice, letting them know that a donation was made to Families Forward in their honor.

Use our Warm Your Heart tribute cards to:
  • Congratulate employees for a job well done
  • Thank vendors who provide exceptional service
  • Show appreciation to your valued customers
  • Reward employees for their community service work
  • Appreciate family and friends with a meaningful gift supporting local families in need
Donations can be made in any denomination, and there are no processing fees. Your full donated amount is eligible for a charitable tax deduction. The recipient does not receive a tax deduction.

For more information, please contact Katie Szymczak at kszymczak@families-forward.org or (949) 379-8325.
Give the Gift of Home
Homelessness can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, regardless of age or income. H elp Families Forward rehouse 200 families sleeping on the streets or in their cars again next year.
Stay Connected
Families Forward | info@families-forward.org | (949) 552-2727