Family Promise of Santa Rosa is a non-profit organization that provides shelter and comprehensive services to low-income and homeless children and families in Santa Rosa County. This is only possible because of the wonderful people of the community who volunteer their time and skills to the cause. Family Promise would not function without volunteer support, so please take some time to read about all the opportunities available and see where you might like to contribute. (Most volunteer positions do require that a one-time training session is attended. Please ask about our next training session.)
Board of Directors
Family Promise of Santa Rosa is governed by a Board of Directors. The board meets once a month to discuss all business of the organization such as issues concerning policies and procedures, upcoming events, needs of the organization, etc., and to vote on any changes in the way the organization operates. The board strives for diversity in personalities and experiences and is always focused on the mission: To move children and families from crisis to self-sufficiency. As a member of the board, you also become part of one of our committees (see below).
Family Promise of Santa Rosa functions through four committees or teams: Finance and Audit, Board Governance and Development, Resource Development, and Strategic Communication. The Chair of each committee usually comes from the board, but one person can't do everything that is under the umbrella of each committee. They need a team. Volunteers can use their interests and skills to find a place where they fit. The list below, while not limited to what is listed, is what each committee is responsible for.
Finance and Audit Team: Financial Policies and Procedures, Oversee Financials and Statements, Insurance, Audit, Financials for Annual Report, Provide Financial Reports.
Board Governance and Development Team: Policies and Procedures, Training and Education, Evaluate Director, Board Recruitment and Release, (Duties per National Guidelines).
Resource Development Team: Special Events Planning and Execution, Grants, Contributions, Endowments, Partnerships In-Kind/Corporate/Adjudicatory, Related Business Income, Church Recruitment (Income), Volunteer Recruitment.
Strategic Communications Team: Newsletter, Press Releases, DVD and Brochure Development, Website, Signage, Publish Annual Report, Internal/External Communication, Santa Rosa and Pace Chamber Relations, and Community Representatives/Speakers.
Family Promise Sale
Family Promise of Santa Rosa hosts annual sales in the Spring and Fall. We receive donations on a weekly basis from a local retailer. We need volunteers who can pick up this donated merchandise (truck/ trailer useful). A team meets weekly at our storage center, on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, to sort, price and inspect the merchandise. There is always a great need for help in this area. On the day of the sale, volunteers can serve as: cashiers, department workers, set up and take down crews, helpers to take heavier merchandise out to vehicles, and kitchen help when volunteers take breaks.
Our Day Center is the center of operation for our organization and for the families staying in our Interfaith Hospitality Network. It is open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. This is where our families come to create resumes, search and apply for jobs, make doctor's appointments, and conduct all of their business. We need volunteers to answer phones, data entry, light filing, make copies, greet guests/visitors and accept donations when they arrive. Some volunteers can come on a weekly basis while others can only come once a month. We are always looking for volunteers in this area and are open to whatever your schedule will allow.
More often than not, families entering our program do not have transportation. They have no way to get to appointments, put applications in for jobs, get to interviews, get to jobs or get to the churches where they stay. Family Promise has a part-time driver on staff to remedy this situation. But, there are times when one driver is not enough. We are always on the lookout for people who would like to volunteer to take a family to one of their appointments.
Host congregations serve as the foundation for the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Family Promise of Santa Rosa by becoming temporary homes to meet basic human needs for safe shelter, nourishment, and positive relationships with other people. Each host congregation has a coordinator to head up the week that the families stay at that particular congregation. The coordinator is the key individual who interacts with the clergy, volunteers, guests, and Network Director, and this person is responsible for enlisting their volunteer help for the host week which can include an assistant coordinator. Volunteer support at each host congregation ranges from, but is not limited to, preparing one hot meal daily, interacting with guests during the evening, overnight hosting where you stay at the church over night with the families, Saturday activities planning, set up and break down of beds and room dividers and laundering linens after their host week. If your congregation is interested in more information about hosting, please don't hesitate to contact Family Promise of Santa Rosa.
While host churches are responsible for enlisting volunteers to cover their host week, there are times when everyday and every aspect of the week are not covered. This is where a support congregation comes into play. Support congregations are those that may not have the facilities to house guests for a week but still want to participate. They can provide volunteers to stay overnight at the host church, to prepare meals, or to set up and transport cots. Support congregations can provide volunteers to work at the day center. Also, these congregations can provide/donate items of special need families or the Network may have which can be found on our website under "Wish List" or emailed to an address provided by the congregation. Prayer support is also a huge need. We hope that every church in the county will pray for Family Promise, our mission, and the families we serve.
Along with the day center property, Family Promise also has transitional housing and low-income rental properties. We are always looking for volunteers to cut grass and maintain flower beds at all of our properties.
Family Promise has two vans that transport families to and from host congregations, to interviews and jobs, and to all other appointments. These vehicles carry precious cargo and need to be kept up as much as possible. Sometimes a family may have their own vehicle to utilize that may need maintenance work as well. We are always looking for volunteers knowledgeable about auto maintenance to help keep our vehicles in the best condition for the guests.
As mentioned above, host congregations are responsible for providing one hot meal daily to families in the IHN. Volunteers to provide these meals are not always found within a host congregation. Coordinators are always appreciative for more volunteers willing to provide meals for the guests.
During the week, families go to work or come to the day center from 8am-5pm to seek employment. But, on Saturdays, families are typically at the host congregation all day. Volunteers must be at the congregation as long as the families are there. Therefore, planning activities for Saturdays is very important and can help the day go by faster. This can include something as simple as playing games, inside and outside, with the children in the program or reading a book/having story time.
Donations are received at the day center all the time. Items include clothing, toys, food, shoes and a plethora of other things. Most of the time these items get put into a back room or out in the storage building without sorting or organizing until a later time. It is very helpful to have volunteers come to the day center once a week or so to sort through the donations and organize them in a more timely manner. An hour or two might be all it takes!
Special Needs of Guests
When a family enters the Family Promise program, there may be essential items its members need. Clothing, toiletries, shoes, diapers, and formula are just a few examples. While we strive to have these items on hand, it is not always the case. We may need volunteers to help provide these items to families. Sometimes the special needs are more extensive such as a crib for a baby, a car battery/repair, or help moving to a house when it is secured. An email can be sent out to those interested in this support opportunity when the need arises.
As mentioned previously, Family Promise has a transitional housing program and a low-income housing program. As guests leave these facilities after securing permanent housing, there is a need for volunteers to get the apartments back in shape for new tenants. This may include, but is not limited to, cleaning, painting, small repairs, and taking inventory of items that were furnished in the apartments.
This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of volunteer opportunities within Family Promise. But, if there is an area listed that caught your attention and you would like more information, don't hesitate to contact our office at 850-623-5300. Keep in mind that some of these areas are suitable for local mission projects for churches and youth groups or great community service projects for high school age kids. A little bit of your time can make a major impact on the lives of homeless children and families!