December 2018 Issue
Fashion, Friends and Fundraising Successfully Combined for Our First Annual " Lights. Camera. Auction." Event
Despite a lot of unexpected snow and rain, Family Matters hosted its first-ever " Lights. Camera. Auction " fundraiser event on November 15.

The special evening, held at the MGM National Harbor’s beautiful Grand Ballroom , included a sit-down dinner, keynote speakers and client testimonials, a silent auction, as well as a fashion show featuring area VIPs modeling business and holiday fashion attire.

Sunni in the City ," the r adio host favorite from WPGC-95.5 FM, our master of ceremonies opened up the evening's festivities, followed by welcoming remarks by Thomas L. Johnson , FMGW's Interim President and CEO and Maryland State Delegate Kris Valderrama (D-Prince George's County), who was the event chair as well as serves on FMGW's Board of Directors. (Thomas and Kris were also among featured models for our fashion show. We also want to thank Michelle Katz, healthcare executive and author; Chelsey Rodgers , former Miss DC USA; Yodit Gebreyes Endale , event planner and Favored by Yodit Events & Designs founder; and C’yana Tavae , Miss Maryland 2018 for their modeling talents and taking to the runway.

During the speaker portion of the event, presentations on 'supported employment'  were made by Jenny Stonemeier , Executive Director of Association of People Supporting Employment First ( APSE) as well as two speakers from the Maryland State Department of Education Catherine Drake , Staff Specialist of Community Rehabilitation Programs, and Stacy Seymore , Director of Employment Services. In addition, three moving testimonials from Ken, Shaka and Nakyia clients of Family Matters' Oxon Hill mental health clinic shared their experiences on how they were helped by FMGW counseling services.

Proceeds from this fundraiser will help launch a new program that assists local young men and women to successfully prepare for entry and sustainability in the workforce, along with other FMGW crucial services assisting area families. Family Matters is setting its sights to hold the next "Lights. Camera. Auction" event in spring of 2020. Stay tuned.
Important Staff Changes Taking Place at FMGW
Tonya Jackson Smallwood Retires as President and CEO
On November 26, Family Matters announced that Tonya Jackson Smallwood has retired as President and CEO. Mrs. Smallwood is still recovering from the effects of a serious car accident that took place in September 2017 and will now devote her efforts to her full recovery. Thomas L. Johnson, Board Chair of the organization from 2011 to 2017, and currently serving as Interim CEO, will remain in that role until a permanent replacement is appointed.

James Eisenmann, Board Chair, commented: “Family Matters of Greater Washington wishes to thank Tonya for her service" and noted that "she made significant contributions to the organization during her tenure. including leading us into the home health care and mental health provider services." 

Mrs. Smallwood noted: “It has been an enormous privilege to have led Family Matters of Greater Washington over the past nine years. I am proud to have worked with remarkable friends and colleagues, and to have made a difference in the lives of so many throughout the region. I need this time now to completely devote my efforts to my recovery, and I will miss working with those who I have established relationships with over the years.”

“Tonya has left her mark on the organization, and her devotion to Family Matters of Greater Washington and its mission should be saluted,” explained Mr. Johnson. “Her spirit and presence within the organization will be missed. I wish her the best.”
Lisa Emmi Named New Senior Director of Policy and Programs
We re proud to announce that Lisa Emmi, current Program Director for of Child Welfare Services, has been promoted to Senior Director, Policy and Programs for Family Matters. Lisa began at FMGW in October 2002 as a social worker in the Foster Care unit, where she worked for four years. In 2006, she transferred to the newly re-opened Mental Health Unit as a therapist, primarily focusing on abuse/neglect and EAP services. In 2008, she returned to the Child Welfare Unit as the Program Manager for traditional foster care. And after four years in that role, she was promoted to Director of Child Welfare in November of 2012, which was when she took over purview of Bright Futures as well as family-based foster care. Lisa also served as Interim Clinical Director this year for a few months. Lisa has been a valuable staff member of FMGW, and we congratulate her on her promotion!
Family Matters Gears Up for Dresses4Dreams 2019;
to Host Special Jazz Cocktail Reception for Sponsors
We re gearing up for the 2019 Prom Season!

Our annual Dresses4Dreams and Suited4Dreams event kicks off with “ Save the Dress & Suit” Jazz Cocktail Reception, on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

Please donate your gently worn gowns and suits, tour the Dresses4Dreams' pop-up boutique and men’s shop, all while enjoying the smooth sounds of jazz.

For the past eight years, FMGW has made prom dreams come true for those youth who cannot afford to purchase prom wear. In 2018, Family Matters dressed 35 teens for their senior prom, and youth traveled from as far as Baltimore. Desia was one of those teens. She and her mom drove all the way from Hartford, MD in search of the perfect prom dress. After trying on several dresses from our pop-up boutique, she selected a pale pink beaded, chiffon dress. Desia's and her mom’s tears were priceless!

And Desia’s dreams continue to come true. Today, she is completing her first year at Coppin State University, where she is studying nursing.

If you would like to be a part of a success story like Desia’s, please consider partnering with Family Matters and become a Dresse4Dreams and Suited4Dreams sponsor. For program and sponsorship info, please contact Tanesha Anderson.
A Message from the Family Matters' Interim CEO
"Wrapping up 2018"
Two thousand eighteen was a year of tremendous change for Family Matters of Greater Washington.

We bid a fond farewell to Tonya Jackson Smallwood, who retired after nine years with the organization, as well as some other staff members during the year. We said goodbye to our very successful Bright Futures program, which played a great role in the lives of teen mothers and their children in the District.
We also waved goodbye to Board members Trina Alexander Eaddy, Brian Hawkins, and longtime Board member and contributor Bob Goodrich. And we saw our CFO Felton Magee fully transition to leading Regent Healthcare.
But with all change, comes opportunity. We started the new iteration of our "Send a Kid to Camp" program . We hosted a successful “Lights, Camera, Auction” event in November at the MGM National Harbor. We saw and continue to treat more than 250 people at our mental and behavioral health clinic, which is a first; and we diversified our insurer payor mix. And in addition, we added four new Board members: Stacie Scott , Miriam Markowitz , Del. Kris Valderrama, and Robin Preston , bringing new energy to the organization.
And we believe 2019 may be the most important year in the history of Family Matters of Greater Washington. We have plans to make large scale changes with the organization inside and out. We will bring back our Annual Gala in September of 2019. We plan to offer new services in new markets. And we will continue to add to our hard working and diverse Board of Directors!

On behalf of the Board of Directors and our dedicated FMGW staff, I wish you the happiest of holidays!