Let me start out by saying that I have never been through the “system.” I didn’t grow up as a foster kid nor did I suffer from domestic violence. Yet, I have spent my entire professional life surrounded by teenagers in foster care and women who have suffered abuse.
I grew up observing various forms of abuse and though I wouldn’t have admitted it then, I probably studied psychology at college because of it. I received my Ph.D. in 1986 and, a few years later, I found myself volunteering at a shelter for domestic violence survivors.
It was at this shelter that Of Home, Family and Future began to form – at least in my mind. I witnessed first-hand the suffering that women went through when they realized they had nowhere to go after they were obliged to leave the shelter. With no place to turn, they often returned to their abusers and the cycle went around and around. I, also, became aware of a significant group of women who fell between the cracks, economically, in that they earned too much to qualify for government support and too little to adequately provide for their family. These woman had such difficulty moving on, no matter how motivated they were.
After considerable research, my husband Rob and I developed a proposal for a program designed to provide comprehensive support to a small number of highly motivated, employed, women survivors of domestic violence in order to help them transform their lives. This proposal was accepted by a major charity, and the domestic violence program,“Of Home and Family”, was born.
During that time, Rob and I began mentoring a 17 year old young man from a residential treatment facility, who had applied to college. We became acutely aware of the incredible roadblocks he faced as he was embarking on the college experience and the roadblocks that continued to appear as he worked his way through college. The foster care system automatically kicks students out of care as soon as they turn 21. How does a college student with nowhere to turn (no foster home and no support) manage to continue college in such a situation?
As we dealt with the challenges of forming a relationship with a young man from the foster care system in terms of trust issues, life skill issues, dealing with the institution where he was living, and as we began to witness his growth, we thought about helping other young people in his situation.
In 2004, we parted ways with the major charity that had supported “Of Home and Family”. With the help of energetic, generous friends who volunteered to serve as Board Directors and Officers, we formed our own non-profit, “Of Home, Family and Future”, and, in addition to the Domestic Violence Initiative, developed an Educational Mentoring Program focusing on a small number of foster care students who have been accepted to college.
In July 2008, we decided to focus on the charity full-time. Our goal is to provide long-term and comprehensive support to these individuals. We hope to help them develop the tools they need to become successful members of society so that they can lead happy, productive lives and maybe even mentor other individuals who have suffered from similar experiences.
We’re a small charity, and we’ve always done most of the work ourselves, so that 100% of your donations can go straight to these individuals. Recently, we received a large, unrestricted grant for the purpose of expanding our operations and building our organizational capacity. Moving forward, this grant will cover all of our administrative expenses, including the addition of an Executive Director who will lead our expansion efforts. All contributions will continue to go directly to one of our two programs. We’re dedicating the rest of our lives to changing the world, one person at a time
As little as $25 can help us do that. Please donate
President & COO