Time: varies, flexible

Place: Astoria and other neighborhoods in Queens

Contact:  Miriam Tielmann at miriam@astoriachurch.org

Safe Families for Children is a volunteer-driven ministry with the goal of keeping kids safe and families intact. They organize vetted and trained volunteers from local churches to offer individualized support for families in crisis with their aim to offer a broad community of support to those in our city who may be in need of assistance and/or have limited resources.

There are a variety of volunteer roles to come alongside overwhelmed families. Volunteers can provide practical help like temporary babysitting, transportation, or direct needs. They can provide moral support and encouragement in parenting and/or achieving their goals to become more stable. The roles are flexible and volunteers can offer support according to their skills, interests, and availability.

The focus of the NYC Chapter is to provide Family Friends to families in crisis. Attendance at a three hour training is required.

Here are a couple of videos that explain more about how SFFC works. Video One  Video Two.

Below describes the role of a Family Friend.

A Family Friend can help parents to increase the stability of their lives, their home environment and their parenting, in order to improve the well-being of their children. They are volunteers who befriend and support parents through their crisis, helping them get back on their feet and making the home stable for them and their children. The Family Friend role is very flexible and the volunteer is able to offer support according to their skills, interests and availability. They can offer:

1. Moral support and encouragement to parents in difficulty

2. Parenting support and development of parenting strengths for struggling parents.

3. Practical help, such as babysitting or providing transport either in direct contact with the parents/carers in difficulty or as support for Host Families.

4. Sharing helpful information about parenting or supporting parents/carers in accessing services that they need.

5. Advocating with/for families if they need help voicing their concerns or needs to other agencies.

To sign up for their monthly newsletter, click here: http://safe-families.us13.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=523808f912e4dbd1b6e3d6ff9&id=7629d6bae

Case Study:

Single parent of a 2-year-old was struggling emotionally, fairly significantly, due to breakdown in relationships with her partner and extended family. This mom was very isolated and struggled to go out and about on her own with her child. A volunteer was allocated to the family to provide befriending to enable mom to grow in confidence as a parent and to minimize her isolation. Progress was slow at first, due to mom's low self-esteem she lacked confidence to engage in conversation with other people. During the 6 month support the volunteer would take the parent, with and without the child, to various local activities and encourage mom to do things on her own. At the time of closure, mom was regularly involved in volunteer work and enjoying being a part of a cycling group. She had also grown more confident in being a single parent.

Child befriending:

'On Paper He Was a Nightmare' from Safe Families for Children UK on Vimeo.

'Safe Families Have Made Me a Safer Family' from Safe Families for Children UK on Vimeo.

Parent befriending:

'I Hated Life. I Hated Living' from Safe Families for Children UK on Vimeo.

'I've Found a Friend for Life' from Safe Families for Children UK on Vimeo.

For more information, please contact Miriam at miriam@astoriachurch.org.