Editor's note: Family Promise of Beaufort County is a national nonprofit organization that works to help homeless families get back on their feet. It was started in 2008. With the help of volunteers and congregations, the organization houses families for up to three months while adults work to find jobs and a more permanent place to live. Families stay overnight in churches and synagogues. Once a week, they move to a new facility for shelter.
Name: Diane Mikkelson
Organization: Family Promise of Beaufort County
Involved for: six years
Position in organization: board president
How Family Promise started. Carolyn Cherwon, who was the board president before me ... came to our church (Lowcountry Presbyterian Church). I was involved with missions at our church at the time, and she came and made a presentation to us. And we decided at that point we'd be a host church. And that's how I first got involved.
The perks. I've been a volunteer most of my adult life, and I have real empathy for the people who are in this situation. And it gives you such a good feeling. I often say this about people because people say, "Why do you do these different things?" You know, it's somewhat selfish because you get a lot of good feelings from helping other people. And I think it's so good for your own self-being to be helping other people. ... From the time (families) come until three months later, the transformation is just so amazing. It's very rewarding to me personally to watch this happen.
Ongoing support. Family Promise is more than just those three months. We continue to help them for 12-18 months after that, and so we are continually giving them support, helping them to stay successful. ... We have a fabulous social worker (Kate Oresic) right now, who does a lot of really good work and really stays in contact with the families. And that's so important ... We don't have a very big staff, but they sure do a lot of work.
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.