In this, my first letter to the residents of Northern Greenville County, I intend to make you aware of an organization that has been at your service for more than 25 years. It is odd, even to me, that this is the beginning of a public awareness campaign considering the organization I serve has helped thousands of your neighbors get through difficult situations over more than two decades. This is not to say we are the only provider of services in the region, but we are the only one to provide all of the services that we do. We are Foothills Family Resources (FFR) and, though we are located in Slater, over half of those we serve reside in Travelers Rest. It is truly my pleasure to begin a conversation with you on what we do, how we do it and the exciting changes that are about to occur which will have an economic and cultural effect on our community.
You may know of us through the Strawberry Festival. Over the past 12 years, this festival has become one of the great traditions in ushering in the summer for all of Greenville County. Maybe a neighbor received some help with food and utilities while unemployed, but you’re not sure from where. It’s possible that the nurse who took such good care of you started her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant through FFR funding or even received her GED within our walls. In the past four years alone, FFR has provided services over 30,000 times, so there is a good chance someone you know has been impacted considering the tight knit community we all call home.
So who are we?
FFR provides resources to an underserved population beset by generational poverty, a lack of transportation, high unemployment rates, high teen pregnancy rates, low graduation rates and poor healthcare. Clients receive services in our facility from a diverse group of professionals which includes five counselors, four therapists, four R.N.s, two M.D.s, two teachers, a caseworker, nutritionist, job coach and a family advocate. FFR’s impressive staff provides for the mind and body of our clients via therapeutic counseling sessions, medical/financial assistance and education. FFR nurtures our clients through stressful times, escorts them through the maternity process, educates them on healthy dieting practices, provides them opportunities to further their education and nourishes them when the cupboards are bare. Without FFR’s services, most of those we serve would miss the opportunity to move from crisis to self-sufficiency.
I should tell you that the current state of FFR has little to do with me, as I began my work here in April of 2011. I am amazed that what FFR does can be summarized into a little over 100 words like I did above, but, as is the case with a summary of any kind, things are left out. I can give a good overview of the great things that are happening, but it is going to take an extended conversation to educate you on the incredible web of services available to this community.
This and future conversations are taking place because one day you may need us and we may need you. FFR wants to be sure that every citizen of Northern Greenville County knows where to turn when times are tough. As you will see in future columns, we want to be known not only as the place to turn to meet your immediate crisis, but as the place that meets you in that crisis and helps you move to a place of employment and financial security through education. You can also be sure that future letters will include opportunities for volunteerism, such as through the Strawberry Festival and Board membership. And yes, we will probably also discuss how nonprofits function and ways you can contribute monetarily if you feel inclined. As the executive director, I am always considering our budget, so that conversation will occur, but not yet. FFR has been around for more than 25 years, but we’re just getting started.
I look forward to talking with you once a month, but if you have questions please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.
March Column: Center for Working Families