As 2015 comes to an end, I can only sum up this year as impactful. We were continually met with challenges in building our foundation, however, with the addition of our Task teams (Marketing/Communications, Fund Development, Executive and Finance), Community Outreach Advocate and Grant Writer, my vision for Family Values For Life is coming to fruition.
I cannot say enough about our Task Teams, they have been a blessing. They have taken ownership for their designated areas, which has allowed me the flexibility to build valuable community relationships and move the mission of FVFL forward. This is helping to provide stability and structure to single mother led households on the east side of Saint Paul.
In addition, through a grant from the Saint Paul Foundation, we were able to add our Community Outreach Advocate, Sandrel Bunting. Sandrel works with most of our programs, but she was primarily brought in to assist Lois Steward, the Director of our signature program, Jump Start To The New You. Bunting’s presence has definitely made a difference. Bunting’s in-home visits, follow up calls and scouring the community for resources to help participants improve their current situation has been invaluable. We now have 34 single moms who actively participate in our weekly Jump Start workshops.
Throughout the year, people often said our organization was doing good work. I knew we were, but we needed staff, in addition to our wonderful volunteers, to meet the needs of our organization and programs. Earlier this year, we received a grant from the McNeely Foundation to add Christian Thomas as our Program Coordinator for our youth programs, however we needed more. My colleague, Mike Anderson of St. Paul Public School Foundation, advised me to invest in a grant writer to help us get funding to employ extra staff. It was an arduous process. After much research I finally selected Melanie Lund, and she is doing an excellent job for us.
In closing, my concept for FVFL is coming full circle. The Task Team’s, Community Outreach Advocate, U-Turn 180 Coordinator and our Grant Writer have helped open doors to expansion. Their combined efforts, have led to growth in our programs as well as organizations in Roseville and North Minneapolis wanting to collaborate with us. I see in the next two years, FVFL opening new locations throughout the Twin Cities. I am really thankful this year. I can really look at 2015 and smile.
Alfreda Flowers, Executive Director