Raymie writes the world: Family promise helps lift up American families

September 27, 2019

Illustration by Julie Kilpatrick



I recently watched an episode of ‘Friends’ in which the episode is about arguing about if a selfless good deed exists. After hearing this, I couldn’t stop turning that question around to my own life and whether I volunteer to truly give back or if I was doing it to feel like a better person. I thought about this episode when I volunteered at an organization called Family Promise.


Family Promise is an interfaith hospitality network to help homeless families achieve

lasting independence. With support from local congregations in Delaware County, they provide food, shelter and assistance with obtaining employment and housing.


The organization was founded in 1986 by Karen Olson. One morning, she was on her way to a meeting when she noticed a homeless woman, the same woman she had usually seen on her way in to work. 


She decided to buy a sandwich for the woman. The stranger accepted the sandwich but asked for something else – a moment to be heard, to be comforted, and to be considered as more than a mere statistic on a cold street corner. 


Olson learned that there were hundreds of homeless people, including families, in her home community of Union County, New Jersey.


She turned to the religious community for help, convinced that there were many who shared her concern and that together they could do what they couldn’t do alone. Within 10 months, 11 area congregations came forward to provide hospitality space within their buildings. The local YMCA agreed to provide showers and a day center for families. 


Their networks of congregations and volunteers meet homeless families’ immediate

need for shelter, meals and comprehensive support services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Family Promise also cooperates with and refers families to needed family resources,

such as job training, health care services, childcare and extra literacy.


In addition, they have family mentoring in which they help prevent and alleviate

homelessness and help at-risk families achieve goals and maintain self-sufficiency. 


Regular volunteers, especially ones that are in high school, usually go out and get a meal for everyone in the house at a local fast food restaurant. When I volunteer here,  I typically go to McDonald’s, and I buy every kid a happy meal and get a cheeseburger meal for every adult. There are usually 10 to 15 people in the house.


After I bring them food I stay and eat with them and then help the kids with their homework if they haven’t already done it. Then I play outside with them or watch TV or a movie depending on what they want to do.


Because there are always volunteers in the house 24 hours a day, seven days a week,

365 days a year, and they are constantly providing services, an average volunteer should be

receiving $25.43 an hour. Each home the organization has acquired cost on average $55,000

plus another $59,000 a year for meal costs. Donated supplies rack up to around

$3,000 per year, plus other donations, whether it be money donations, food or things for around the house. That adds up $130,000 on average per year.


Most teenagers only volunteer because it gets them service hours for National

Honors Society or because it looks good on college applications, but we all need to ask

ourselves, what should it really be about?


It should be more than just service hours. Students should want to do it out of the goodness of their heart, strictly to help and touch the lives of others. The next time you volunteer ask yourself, are you doing this solely to feel like you’re a good person and to have others think better of you? Are you doing it for service hours, are you doing it to stand out on your college applications? Or are you doing it because you can’t imagine not having a home or a family that would love you enough to take you in, so you try to help them as much as you can.

Please reload


Print Editions

Online Editions

Please reload


Please reload

Orange Media publications are official student-produced mediums of news and information published by the Journalism students of Olentangy Orange High School. The publications have been established as a designated public forum for student journalists to inform, educate and entertain readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. They  will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials, adults or sources prior to publication.

The content of the publications is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself. They will not publish any material, determined by the staff or adviser, that is libelous, obscene or disruptive to the school day.

The advisers are Kari Phillips and Brian Nicola. Readers may respond to the publications through Letters to the Editor. Letters may be mailed, e-mailed to thecourierstaff@gmail.com or dropped off to room 2223. The staff asks that submissions be 300 words or less and contain the author’s name and signature. Editors reserve the right to edit or withhold publication of letters.

The publications strive to uphold the Canons of Professional Journalism, which includes accuracy, impartiality, etc. Therefore, major errors will be corrected in the next issue. Distinction will be marked between news and opinion stories.

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now