Here's how Katie from FRN describes the need:
The Family Relief Nursery is an intervention/prevention program for families with children six weeks to five years old. We work to strengthen fragile families at serious risk of abusing or neglecting their children or of permanently losing custody of their children. The Nursery offers a holistic, positive intervention with both children and parents. All services are provided at no charge to families. The FRN now serves up to 90 families per year.
One of the barriers our families face is transportation. We do have a small school bus that picks kids up and drops them off each day, but the bus can only accommodate so many children. Many times a family will remain on our waitlist until a bus and a classroom spot are both open. When possible, we do provide bus tickets to our families so they can utilize public transportation to bring their children to and from FRN. As well, bus tickets are especially helpful when we have Family Nights or Open Houses at FRN. For parents whose kids are picked up by the FRN bus (and do not have a car themselves) they often never get to see where their kids go each day. The Family Nights and Open Houses are a time when the parents can come by and see the site and meet their children’s teachers (we do home visiting as well with most of our families, so they are intimately involved with our interventionists otherwise). Bus tickets are also sometimes used to allow our families to go out to VOA’s resale store, so they can pick up clothing or other items for their children (we provide them with vouchers for the resale store).
In the past, we have been able to provide bus tickets to our families, as needed. Unfortunately this year, we with downturn in the economy, one of our funders had us cut our budget by 4.5% and another funder cut our budget by 12%. In order to maintain our level of services, and because the State requires us to have so much direct service personnel per child, one of the things we had to cut this year was direct client assistance funds, which includes items like bus tickets.
Sorry for the long quote, but I couldn't find anything to leave out. Again, the need is so great. I wish we could give more to this program and all the others that we've helped so far. The only way we can do that is if more of you donate. Here's how!
Please spread the word and post this link everywhere, including those things where you make a sign out of a piece of printer paper and then let people tear little pieces off the bottom. :) Facebook, Twitter, and blanketing everyone in the world with emails works, too! Thanks!