After seven years of providing friendship, mentoring support and hope to struggling families in the community, the Board of Directors of Friends in Action of the Eastern Panhandle (FIAEP) has made the difficult decision to close its doors and dissolve the organization. As with many small non-profits around the nation, the economic downturn and resulting reduction in funding resources has made it impossible to continue operating the program.
From its beginning in 2004, the Friends in Action's sole focus was to help struggling young families grow stronger and more self-reliant. Through collaboration and referrals from local non-profits, area churches, school counselors and pediatricians, 62 families were assisted by FIAEP. More than 90 community volunteers, supported by FIAEP staff, contributed their time and talents to help struggling families set and achieve self sufficiency goals. These volunteers represented the heart of the Friends in Action program. Because of the friendship, care and support of these volunteer mentors, families in the FIAEP program made improvements that included: upgrading their housing situations, obtaining training and employment, furthering their education, enhancing budgeting and parenting skills, etc.
Based on family evaluations and self-sufficiency matrix data, 80 percent of families that completed the year long program, improved their overall level of self sufficiency. Every family served expressed their deep appreciation for the caring and encouragement of their mentor volunteer team. And many volunteers articulated their gratitude for eye opening new insights into the reality of the working poor which these mentoring relationships brought into focus.
FIA's remaining financial assets are being transferred to non-profit organizations in the Eastern Panhandle with a similar mission: to help struggling low-income families achieve a better life for themselves and their children through life skills education and mentoring support. Low-income families in the Eastern Panhandle continue to need support as they strive to provide a better future for their children.
The Friends in Action Board of Directors are proud of what was accomplished over the course of seven years and we want to express their immense gratitude to everyone who has generously supported the important work of Friends in Action either financially and/or as mentor volunteers. Many lives have been positively changed because of the caring attitude and giving of the local community..