All For Family has some very exciting news! For those who have been following our organization for a while, you know that, in 2020, we were blessed with a grant from the Jefferson Foundation for $10,000 for program support for our Supervised Family Visit Program. We had applied for this grant Pre-Covid, and had originally intended this to be for admin support, as we were, at that time, using public locations for visits. Covid, of course, hit, and public venues were no longer an option. Even most parks had their playgrounds roped off & bathrooms closed. So, in adapting to the change that came our way, we used the grant funds instead, with Jefferson Foundation's permission of course, to lease a small office in Hillsboro. When I say small, I am talking about a room that is about 150 sq ft or so, and that has a small restroom and closet. However, it is what we could afford, and we were able to set up a decent family friendly space for what we had to work with. I am not complaining about this space, because it has been a tremendous blessing to us; serving a much needed purpose in a time we needed it most. At least 4 families have successfully reunited out this space, and at least 5 others have gone on to now receiving enough unsupervised time that they know longer need our services. We love what our Hillsboro space has provided for us and our families.
As much as we love our Hillsboro location, we have been limited in only being able to supervise one family visit at a time, which, of course, limits how many families we can help. Families with multiple children were struggling with feeling cramped, and we also could not expand upon the services and programs we were hopeful to offer. We knew we would quickly outgrow our Hillsboro office, and we fervently searched for a larger building we could afford. In searching all around our desired Hillsboro location, however, we were discovering that most everything that had the space we were looking for either needed a lot of renovations to work for what we needed, or the price was 3-5 times more expensive than the $350 per month we had been paying.
Knowing how Raintree Church in Hillsboro has been faithful supporters of All For Family, we reached out to Pastor Kenny Sims to see if he had any suggestions. He mentioned a convention meeting he was about to attend with other area Church Pastors. He told us to draft a letter letting them know about our need and what we were looking for. This one letter brought several leads our way. We were contacted by Encounter Church in Arnold, Exchange Church in Arnold, and from someone from De Soto First Baptist Church who owned a building in Hillsboro. The building in Hillsboro wasn't really what we were looking for, and had very limited parking, so we met with Pastor Jimmy Dunn at Exchange Church in Arnold. We immediately found friends at Exchange Church in Arnold with him and a few of his very sweet congregants. An initial meeting quickly turned into a relaxed, sit down, hour or longer conversation. We felt at home, and we knew we had found a home for All For Family.
Given the distance from our original desired location in Hillsboro, and given that the lease rate amount allows us to do so while still staying in our budget, we decided to also keep our Hillsboro location for our families and volunteers who will find Arnold to far to drive.
What Exchange Church offers All For Family is a rather large child visit room, a room more conducive for visits with teens, a proper office, which we just did not have room to have at our Hillsboro location, a bit more storage, shared use of the dining hall, which we plan to use for Foster Parent Support Groups, Parent Education Classes, Foster Parent Training, and a mobile indoor playground for siblings visits and foster care birthday parties, and we are also gaining ample outdoor space to set up a small playground. We are so very excited about what this opportunity will do for All For Family. Another grant from Jefferson Foundation made our expansion possible, as did the support from our community. We are so very, very grateful, and feel tremendously blessed.
Please stay tuned for our next blog, coming soon, to see how you can help with making our new location very special for our children & families. Our grant dollars will only take us so far with regard to needed equipment & supplies, so we will be immensely grateful for your continued support. We also sincerely thank you for helping us accomplish our goal of finding a larger building so we can expand our operations.
We will be needing volunteers for our Arnold location as well!