This is an exciting time of year for Acts Metro. New school year! New volunteers! New families! So I thought I’d take this opportunity and try to answer a few questions I often receive about the nuts and bolts of how Acts Metro works.
We have three windows when we accept families: At the beginning of the school year, at the beginning of the new year and at the end of the school year. At the same time we’re accepting applications from families, we also are recruiting and training new mentors. 7 new mentors are going to be joining the team this Fall along with 7 new families.
How does a family hear about Acts Metro?
In their efforts to support students, the social workers at Lexington/ Richland District 5 schools often come across families that have a greater scope of needs than they can handle on their own. So they give them our application and offer Acts Metro as a possible long term solution. We could not do what we do without the ongoing support and partnership of these amazing ladies!
Once we receive a family’s application, Tara, our Case Manager, schedules a home visit to help them understand Acts Metro and get a better understanding of their needs. Not all families that apply are accepted. As an all volunteer organization, we are not equipped to care for families where drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness is suspected. We also shy away from families that have exhibited violent behaviors. We do this, not because we don’t want to help, but because we’re not the right people to offer the help they need!
Families that do best in Acts Metro are those who know they need to change, but are unsure how to move forward. These families are open to relationships and don’t want to merely accept a hand out. We look for a mom or dad or both who are fighters! They are tired of living on the razor thin line of barely “making it” and want to live better.
As a faith based non-profit, we’re often asked if families are required to attend church or be spiritual in any way. The answer is, no. We do not require any religious participation to get into Acts Metro nor to receive assistance. We do not discriminate in any way based on religious affiliation, ethnicity, legal status or sexual orientation. Anyone with a need and a desire to move from despair and dependence to hope and self-sufficiency is welcome.
The decision to accept a family is ultimately mine, but I lean on Tara’s expertise and experience. I largely follow her lead. Occasionally, I’ll also want to meet with a family prior to accepting them to ensure they are a good fit for us.
Once a family is accepted, they, along with our new mentors, are invited to a Family Fun Day or Second Saturday to mingle with existing families and mentors. If Tara and I get a sense of a good mentor/family fit, we’ll nudge in that direction. Often during these events, families and mentors gravitate toward each other and the pair is made organically.
So that’s how our families enter Acts Metro and how we pair them with a mentor. Any questions? Good. There will be a quiz on this material tomorrow 😉