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  • Writer's pictureAngel Williams

A Time For Thanks for 2020

Words From Our Founder, Angel Williams

When we first began All For Family just over 2 years ago, this was a novel approach in using volunteers to supervise family visits. Some seemed skeptical at first, but decided to give it a try by sending a couple of referrals our way. Thanks to our amazing volunteers, our approach is working, and families are coming together. One is in the process or trial reunification, and another will reunite soon. We have heard tears on the phone from grateful parents, placement providers express their gratitude for our help, desperate case managers who didn't know how to help their families until they learned about our services, and county judges who are realizing the value of our program and are sending families our way.

We started slowly with only one to two families we were serving for free supervised family visits at the end of 2019 and early 2020. Our visits were happening at public places, such as the library, McDonald's and area churches. Some of these spaces were not as conducive for some of our family visits as we would have liked, and Covid made some of these spaces no longer an option. We are, therefore, extremely grateful to the Jefferson Foundation for awarding us a grant that allowed us to obtain a permanent space in Hillsboro. This space is small in that we can only serve one family at a time, but it has certainly served our current needs in the midst of a pandemic. Can you imagine being told that you can't see your children because of a pandemic that you have court ordered visitation to see? For those who have been allowed, in recent months, to have outdoor only visits, can you imagine what they must be going through to know winter is fast approaching and outdoor visits are no longer going to be a viable option? Fortunately, our space has allowed us to provide 8 family visits so far throughout the week. Our evening and weekend visit slots, however, are nearly full, so our vision is to expand into a larger space where we can safely serve more than one family at a time, but also hopefully have space for both some indoor and outdoor play. No young child wants to be cooped up inside for 3-4 hours at a time, though we do strive to make our present space as comfortable as possible for families.

What I do know is that we would not have gotten as far as we have without amazing volunteers and supporters. We have seen a community come together to help get us to where we are, and we are very grateful. We are especially grateful to every person and every business who helped donate to and purchase from our recent online auction. I will not try to name them all as I fear I might unintentionally leave someone out. We are very grateful for the support we have been shown by Jefferson Foundation, Ameren, Raintree Church, Cedar Hill Lutheran, Hillsboro Lions Club, Arnold Rotary, Arnold Kiwanis, Cody Hays with Marketing Mission, Tracy and her team with Grow Thrive Succeed for helping us with our accounting, our wonderful board members, and our fabulous volunteers. We are extremely grateful, as well, to Laura Marlow with the Jefferson County Leader. Thanks to articles she has written about us, we have more than doubled our number of volunteers, and donations, both monetary and items, have increased. Despite Covid, our non-profit is growing, serving more families, and we have had a very blessed year thanks to each and every one of you. We pray you will continue to share our vision, and continue to show your support. Together, I truly think we can make great things happen here in Jefferson County!

So, from everyone at All For Family, have a very blessed and Happy Holiday Season!

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