March 2017 Newsletter    |    Vol. 8, No. 2
Here's a statistic we wish we didn't have to share.
15:  The number of families that were recently referred to us over a one-month period.
13:  The number we had to turn away because we're at capacity.

That math is heartbreaking, isn't it?  Can you help us grow?

We have an exciting opportunity to raise money, and we can't wait to increase the number of families we can help. 

Tony Award-Winning stage actor-dancer-singer Ben Vereen is lending his voice to Family Promise Sarasota's Breakfast with Ben Vereen on Tuesday, April 25 (7:30 to 9:30 am). 

"We are all bruised," notes Vereen. "In everyday life, we get into situations where we feel we can't go on...But there is a power within us...we can make a difference."  A recipient of an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award, Vereen -- who has personal and professional ties to the Sarasota area -- caps a Family Promise Awareness Week, getting the word out about the at-risk families Family Promise serves, drawing attention to problems, needs, and solutions. 

Tickets to Breakfast with Ben Vereen are $50.00/each; tables of ten are $450.00.  Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For tickets and reservations, call the office at (941) 952-1800.
3 things you can do to support this fundraiser:
1. Reserve your seats to see Ben Vereen. Call the office at (941) 952-1800.
2. Go to this Facebook event for the breakfast fundraiser. Let us know you're coming. Then click the "share" button and invite your local friends to come.
3. Think about any local businesses or individuals who might want to sponsor the Ben Vereen visit. Let the office know of ideas.

Thank you!
A delicious night out at Made
Our next Dine Out fundraiser is Tuesday, March 21, at Made Restaurant, 1990 Main St. in Sarasota

If you eat at Made from 5-9 pm, a portion of your dinner will go to support Family Promise guests. How easy and delicious is that?! 

For reservations, call 953-2900.  Bring your friends! 
What a difference Family Promise has made in the lives of these recent guests

Babies! Babies! Babies! We've got babies!

It has been an eventful month here at Family Promise Sarasota. Three new families entered the program in the past week. And we've traded a house full of teenagers for a house full of babies. We have six children now, with the oldest being six. Three of the children are under two years old. So, if you love the really little ones, make sure you sign up with your congregation's coordinator to volunteer soon.

Brittney, Bobby and their three children and Shannon and her two daughters have all graduated and moved into a house together. It was immediately apparent when these families entered Family Promise that they were all going to be lifelong friends. Within a week it became difficult to tell which children belonged with which parent. One of the favorite evening activities was playing games, especially Apples to Apples.  

When Brittney and Shannon asked me if I thought they should live together permanently, I gave them an enthusiastic approval. A large house was finally found and they all prepared to move into their future as one large combined family. Last week, all of the deposits were paid, furniture was delivered, and that became a reality. They graduated from Family Promise and moved into their new home. Brittney, Bobby, Jaden, Cody, Tyler, Shannon, Kiara and Jenna all wanted to let all of our volunteers know how much they appreciate your loving care. They couldn't have made it this far without you.

We facilitated two family reunifications, which is also a huge accomplishment. For many of our families, relationships with parents or siblings have been rocky or even severed. To get both sides to talk again is challenging. When they all agree to allow the past to stay in the past, it is deeply rewarding. Thanks to a few anonymous donors in Sarasota, Family Promise and other agencies are able to send people back to their families. Over the past three years, more than 20 individuals have been reunified through various agencies.

Families are referred to Family Promise from many sources: Schoolhouse Link, 211 referral service, Sarasota Police Department, Salvation Army, Resurrection House, Harvest House, and churches. Some potential families are in the most dire of circumstances. Some are just considered at risk of homelessness. Perhaps the worst are the ones I meet during outreach with the Homeless Outreach Team of the Police Department. Once a qualified family has been identified, I meet with them and explain the program. If they are still interested, meet the entrance criteria, and we have the room, they are accepted. We then move the family into either Promise House or the host congregation's facility. 

I wish you could all see the relief on the faces of distraught parents when I tell them, "Welcome home." It is then up to the volunteers to make them feel welcome -- and you do! I tell the incoming families that no one has ever lost weight at Family Promise. There is always a willing reader or game player, so beware of kids asking you to play Twister or Pie Face!  

Soon, the adults are getting back on their feet, going to work, looking for housing, and the kids have more playmates and grandparents than they ever imagined. You have restored far more than  sustainability. You have given them a mentor, family, community and, most of all, hope. Thank you for all you do.

-- Becky Taylor, director
Raise money while you shop
If you shop Amazon, use Amazon Smile. If you add Family Promise of Sarasota as your chosen charitable organization, we'll get money off all eligible purchases. How easy is that?
Choir supports our program
Thanks to the Gulf Coast Community Choir for choosing Family Promise Sarasota as a charity recipient for its upcoming concert, at 4 pm April 30 at St. James United Methodist Church,  2049 Honore Avenue in Sarasota. We appreciate your support!

Family Promise Sarasota mission statement
Our purpose is to mobilize the resources of Sarasota County to help homeless families find housing and achieve lasting self-sufficiency. We will do this by giving compassionate volunteers opportunities to help those families and by drawing on the community's financial, social, and political capital for that end.
Are you following us on Facebook? 
We post regular updates about how our guests are doing, thank-you's to volunteers and community partners and requests for specific kinds of help.  While email updates come just once or twice a month, Facebook updates can help you stay up to date more often. Plus, when you interact with our posts on Facebook, it shows those posts to more people, and our visibility in the community increases. Search for Family Promise of Sarasota, or click here if you're logged into Facebook

Family Promise of Sarasota Contact Information
Mailing: PO Box 48199, Sarasota FL 34230-8199
Telephone: 941-952-1800
Website: Family Promise of Sarasota
Facebook: Family Promise of Sarasota

Family Promise of Sarasota Inc.
is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Florida Corporation. 
Our volunteer Board of Trustees consists of George Lavigne, president; Sandee Davis, vice president; Shawna Machado, secretary; and Jeanne Zeigler, Wendy Leventhal, Meredith Strahle, Danielle Bourque, Joy Mayer, and Toska Strong.