Good Cause of the Month: Families in Transition
This nonprofit helps over 170 families and 180 children on each given night.
Throughout 2017, we’ve been alerting you to events and causes worthy of your time and philanthropic treasure in our Good Cause of the Month series. Keep an eye out for a Good Cause every month here at NHMagazine.com, from charitable events to volunteer opportunities to nonprofits you should get to know – and, by the end of the year, your do-gooder cred will be off the charts.
For this month’s Good Cause, we’d like to introduce you to Families in Transition (FIT). This nonprofit was founded in 1991 in response to the growing number of homeless individuals and families throughout the state. They are committed to helping people reach beyond the cycle of homelessness to lead healthy and successful lives. The organization has locations in Manchester, Concord, Dover and Wolfeboro (opening in 2018), and they served 681 people in 2016. Read on to learn about all of their work and history and to find out how you can get involved.
What They Do
Families in Transition was founded by Maureen Beauregard nearly 25 years ago. She began by working with five homeless women and their children, and has since grown FIT to an organization that helps over 170 families and 180 children on each given night. At its most simple, FIT’s mission is to provide safe and affordable housing for homeless individuals and families. They believe that “home is a basic human right and is fundamental to becoming engaged and a contributing member of our community.” As Families in Transition Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing Michele Talwani explains, the organization works hard to figure out what brought people to homelessness and wants to help them get stable again. Whether it is transitional housing, permanent supportive housing or intermediary housing, FIT strives to provide residents with meaningful connections to their community and a sense of home.
FIT is about more than housing – they also have their Family Willows Treatment Center and OutFITers Thrift Stores (located in Manchester and Concord). The center offers specialized treatment programs for single, pregnant and parenting women who struggle with substance use. They offer outpatient programs, outpatient therapy, transportation assistance and free on-site childcare to ensure that each woman can get the treatment that she needs. In spring of 2018, the center will be opening their renovated building that will not only feature treatment programs, but their first-ever recovery housing. The OutFITers stores offer large showrooms with a wide selection of anything from used furniture to clothing to small electronics to seasonal decorations. Volunteers help to sort and organize clothing, dress mannequins or run the register.
Volunteers, like those who work at OutFITers, are the heart of the Families in Transition family. They provide a vital role when it comes to supporting those in need. “We would not be as successful as we are today without the help of our volunteers,” says Talwani. “They donate their time to our core mission and just last year alone, we had over 30,000 hours logged by volunteers.” In addition to volunteers and even interns, FIT also partners with other agencies. The Catholic Medical Center provides services for families that need medical care, but don’t have their own primary care, and Southern NH Head Start has a preschool program for two-year-olds. The day-to-day support and dedication from outside resources help FIT’s individuals and families become self-sufficient.
Organization members and volunteers work together every day to build trust and to make people comfortable, many of whom are children. Out of the 681 individuals served in 2016, half were children. Homelessness can happen to anyone at any age at any time, and Families in Transition is looking out for everyone every day.
In the seven years that Talwani has been with Families in Transition, it has never been a dull moment. “I love the fact that I see the difference that we are making in people’s lives, especially the kids,” say Talwani. “We are changing the trajectory of their lives in inspiring ways. Being able to be a part in sharing these stories and what we do here makes me proud. I know it and I see it, and now members of our community can see it too.”
How You Can Help
Volunteers play a crucial role in the success of Families in Transition. From visiting their home base on 122 Market St., Manchester, to volunteering, here are a few ways that you can help:
- Volunteering: If you’d like to donate your time to Families in Transition, then get in touch here. Volunteers can help in the thrift store, be a Welcome Ambassador, kitchen assistant or take part in their Youth Ambassador Program. Volunteers are always needed and FIT will match your skill sets with their needs at the time.
- Donating: Donations are welcome at any time and can be made online here. For the holidays, FIT is looking for kid-friendly DVDs for their movie library and non-themed birthday décor for birthday programs. Cleaning supplies are also needed for welcome kits that are given to families when they move into housing. For more holiday giving opportunities, click here.
- Becoming a Corporate Sponsor: There are many ways for your business or organization to make a difference in the lives of the families at FIT. For more information, follow this link.
To learn more about Families in Transition and all the ways that you can get involved, visit their website here. Be sure to follow along and stay up to date on news like FIT’s merger with New Horizons starting on January 1, 2018.