Notes from the Director

January 2013

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.
– Ellen Goodman

Each year come January there is a steady onslaught of ads about losing weight, getting organized, becoming fit and starting anew. Each year people jump on the bandwagon in January and jump off in a month or two. Resolutions are “in one year, out the other.” I think we’ve all been there – I know I have.

What if instead of looking at everything that is wrong with us, we looked at what is right? What if resolutions were more about potential and opportunity, and less about fixing whatever we perceive to be wrong in our lives?

One thing that I know is very right is Family Promise. This is a program that absolutely works, and works on many levels. Seven years ago there were no programs for homeless families in Bozeman. “Bus therapy” sent anyone homeless to Butte or Billings. When I was first employed, I had a number of people tell me Family Promise will never work because there really isn’t a need in a community like Bozeman. Well, since then almost 100 homeless families have been assisted! There has not been a vacant day in over 3 years. The need is here.

Family Promise is far more than a warm bed on a cold night. It is an opportunity for homeless families to work hard in a loving, supportive environment and develop the skills necessary to find lasting solutions to homelessness. Our staff holds individuals accountable while volunteers surround them with love and support. This dual approach is highly successful – over 80% of
homeless families secure employment, attain quality child care and move into their own homes. Family Promise works.

It also works for all the churches and volunteers who have a real need to put their faith into action and help those less fortunate. Surprise! By helping homeless families, we all learn that homelessness isn’t some faceless social condition that ‘will always be with us’. It is John and Maggie and Sue and Peter – people just like us who need a helping hand. Homelessness can be ended because homelessness has a face. Our goal is to end homelessness one family at a time.

2013 is full of opportunity and promise. Who wants to join in the adventure?