The long-anticipated day of receiving our first family arrived on March 18. Now, 12 days later, here is how the Laramie community rallied to support this family of three and our Executive Director, Ava O’Hollearn:

Hosts and Volunteers

Family Promise currently has 11 host organizations, which for a week at a time accommodate families overnight and provide their meals. Ten of the 11 hosts are local churches of varying sizes. Laramie Christian Center and Emmaus Road Community Church, two congregations that share a building, were the first to welcome our family of three.

Paula Ahrenholtz and Eva Byrd coordinated more than 25 volunteers, who transformed a classroom into a cozy bedroom; prepared delicious meals; provided hospitality and kindness; and gifted the family with handmade afghans as well as passes to the Laramie Recreation Center. One evening, when the mother was having difficulty breathing, two church members took her to the hospital, where she received treatment for pneumonia. This grateful mother later told Ava that the church community “…welcomed me with open arms. They treated me better than family. We forgot for a while that we were homeless.”

Trinity Lutheran Church was the next host site, coordinated by Mike Nutter. Here the family was delighted to receive lovingly-crafted Prayers ‘n Squares quilts and continued to benefit from generous cooks and welcoming volunteers.

It is important to stress that no one host site is left on its own to fill every volunteer spot. When there was a one-hour gap in coverage during the week, two volunteers from other groups quickly agreed to meet that need.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to find out more about serving as a host site, please fill out the General Inquiry or Volunteer Sign-up form on our website! We have volunteer training (required for every volunteer) coming up on April 3 and April 7; see our Calendar for details, and check back for future training dates (also on our Facebook page).

Community Partnering

While these early days have been successful in many ways, there have been challenges. All of us involved – staff, volunteers, and guests – are learning and growing in these new roles. And we have benefited from abundant community resources already available.

Here are some groups who have reached out in meaningful ways:

Cathedral Home for Children will provide case management to our families.

Climb Wyoming donated two lovely office chairs and visited with Ava about how our two organizations may work together as allies.

Heart to Heart Pregnancy Center will provide hour-long, weekly parenting classes to our families, with the understanding that any family who has faced homelessness will benefit from additional resources.

Interfaith Good Samaritan has been supportive from the start! Already serving individuals and families in difficult situations, they are always ready to help us as we screen and receive our participating families.

Individuals from MortgageSource, Wells Fargo, and Laramie Plains Credit Union have expressed enthusiasm for educating our families in financial literacy.

St. Matthew’s Cathedral and especially Rev. Dick Naumann have provided invaluable support in counseling services and in housing our first family for over a week until we were able to open.

The Laramie Recreation Center recently donated 14 day passes, and Laramie Lanes has offered discounts for our families!

Thank you for your support as we grow, develop, and help families succeed.

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