Author Archives: joeya2013

My Second Family

The following is a testimonial from a parent who has been a long-time participant of FamilyWorks’ Teen Parent Program.

The Teen Parent Program promotes the positive growth of teen parents by facilitating peer support groups, offering parenting classes/workshops, offering home visitations, as well as by providing one-on-one advocacy, guidance, encouragement, and support.

It’s clear that for this parent the program was a safe place, where her family could grow and thrive.


“I am a participant in FamilyWorks’ Teen Parent Program. I like to joke that I am the longest attending member. I have been part of the Teen Parent Program since the age of 13. I was pregnant then, and very, very young. Now 10 years later, I look back and think about the second family I have created with Gladys and the moms.

It’s hard to be a parent, especially as a teen. I was fortunate enough to be connected with Gladys and the group from the beginning, but I stop and think about the other mothers. Moms that struggle to find a place to live, to make ends meet, to be positive in life. The Teen Parent Program has created a place in which I feel that I belong, to know I am not alone in this journey.

If we want people in our community to do good, they need to feel good about themselves. As a teen parent, I was very insecure about my skills, and abilities to be a fit parent. Having a support network of other young mothers, helped me understand that I have a place where people value my presence and ideas.

“The Teen Parent Program has created a place in which I feel that I belong, to know I am not alone in this journey.”

There have been many memories that we have created as a group, fieldtrips, workshops, crying and support from one another. I have learned so much from Gladys, guest speakers, and the moms. I am 23 now, and aging out of the program this year. I will continue to be a part of the group as a volunteer.

FamilyWorks and the Teen Parent Program have impacted my life, the life of my son, as well as the other moms that have been a part of this program by providing a safe space for mothers like me. I feel so fortunate that I didn’t have to take this journey alone.”


*You can support the Teen Parent Program, and all of FamilyWorks’ services, by making a donation during GiveBIG. When you make a donation during GiveBIG (now through May 10th) your donation will be matched! Click here to “GiveBIG” and support vital resources like the Teen Parent Program.*

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Something I Never Thought Would Happen To Me

The idea that any of us are one or two emergencies away from being in a place of dependency can be hard to fathom. It’s easy to assume that a good job, a college degree or a network of support buffers us from serious vulnerability.

Just like the following testimonial that was recently shared with us, many of the families and individuals who come to FamilyWorks never envisioned that they would need to access a food bank or emergency referral services. FamilyWorks is honored to be the safety net for families as they weather the difficult storms in their lives.

“My wife and I were both from Montana, but after she got her Master’s degree in nursing she wanted to move to Seattle. She figured she could make better money here so we talked it over and I said yeah. I figured it was almost time for me to retire anyway.

“If it had not been for the food bank, I don’t know what we would have done.”

I left my Native American drum and dance group and my volunteer work where I received grants for teaching drumming and dancing from a local museum. Unfortunately, soon after we moved and got settled in Seattle my wife got sick and could not work anymore.

I don’t remember exactly who I talked to but someone told me that I could go and get food at FamilyWorks. So I went down and I started getting food. If it had not been for the food bank, I don’t know what we would have done. We are still dependent upon the food bank.

This is something that I never thought would happen to me. We both had good incomes before, but between the move to Seattle and my wife’s disability we exhausted our savings. While we live on a low income budget now we’re able to get by because of what FamilyWorks offers us. I am really grateful for FamilyWorks and all the people who donate to the food bank here.”

*You can support FamilyWorks by making a donation during GiveBIG. When you make a donation during GiveBIG (now through May 10th) your donation will be matched! Click here to “GiveBIG” and join FamilyWorks in nourishing, connecting and empowering our most vulnerable neighbors.*

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Some Ray Of Light

FamilyWorks’ model of support, the marriage of a Food Bank and Family Resource Center, is unique but also profoundly impactful. This combination of programs can address families’ emergent needs but it also serves to help families achieve their long terms goals. The following testimonial from one of our participants speaks to just how vital these services are to our community and the resiliency of our vulnerable neighbors.


“I consider myself very fortunate to have found FamilyWorks at a time when I had nowhere else to turn.

My young son & I drove cross-country last year, in search of a better life here in Seattle. His dream was to study at a quality school, and enter into the innovative field of technology.  So we left South Carolina, in hope to fulfill his future aspirations.

“We are so fortunate to have found FamilyWorks. I personally, don’t know what I would have done, without them.”

It was difficult to find a place here with no job yet, so I advanced all of my savings to secure a local apartment.  However, I soon found out that it was full of black mold. We had to leave having nowhere else to go, and left many contaminated things behind.

We found ourselves suddenly living out of our car, and desperate for help and information on how to get out of our dilemma. Hotels and restaurants were not possible.

By some ray of light, we drove past FamilyWorks, and stopped in. We were extremely happy to find their generous Food Bank, distributing healthy cooking items, as well as ready to eat meals.
Family Works not only helped us out with provisions, but also gave me direction and important information on how to get my housing situation resolved, and get resettled. Rental information, job assistance, medical programs, and more were all right there.

With their help, we were able to keep our health by eating well, get my old landlord to refund my rent, find and move into a new apartment, and get our lives back on track.

I now have a pleasant job, my son is excelling in school, and we still come by FamilyWorks greeted always with smiles.

We are so fortunate to have found FamilyWorks. I personally, don’t know what I would have done, without them.”

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We’re Starting A New Empowerment Program

FamilyWorks is excited to announce the formation of an empowerment group, “Finding Strength through Loss“, focused on adults coping with loss.


People can experience loss in many ways— the death of a loved one, divorce, opportunities, housing or access to their children. The purpose of this group is to provide a safe place for people to unburden themselves of grief and find connection. Our focus will be to encourage mutual support among community members as we move through these losses. 

We’d like to provide this powerful connection as a weekly or biweekly open meeting, TBD by the members attending. Any adult 18+ is welcome to join. The group’s first meeting is Tues, Feb. 14th from 2:30-3:30 pm and will meet in the Cheryl Cobbs conference room located across from the food bank at our Wallingford location.

Any questions can be directed to Hayley Berra, MSW-C, at (206) 694-6842.

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2016 Holiday Helper Program

“During the 2016 holiday season the FamilyWorks’ holiday program helped over 100 families—more than 225 children—this year!   Our efforts would not be met without the generosity of donors and partnerships throughout the community.  This program gave our families the opportunity to engage in the holiday season without the barriers of financial hardship.  Gifts came from families, organizations, anonymously and with great grandeur!  We cannot thank you enough.  We will carry our gratefulness for all of you into the new year.”

Special thanks to the people and organizations:
University Village
Calvary Church
Little Friends Preschool
Top Ten Toys
Shannon Hayes – Group Health
Shaelynn Christine – Pantsuit Nation

Gladys Martinez – FamilyWorks Family Program Coordinator


Edsel Blanche, Family Programs Coordinator, had this story to tell of an experience he had working with the Holiday Program.

“Arriving in the parking lot during a cold afternoon, I grabbed a couple of holiday donations to bring into the FamilyWorks’ Resource Center. The red ribbons and holiday wrapping caught an eye of a man by the name of Jorge. Exiting the building after he grabbed some food from the food bank, he was accompanied by his son. Jorge kindly asked if there was anywhere that offered toys for his four children.


Holiday Helper recipients writing thank you cards.

In the middle of the lot, we began chatting for a couple of minutes. I asked if he knew about the holiday program at FamilyWorks to see if he was already enrolled. Since he was new to the area and it was his very first time going to this food bank Jorge wasn’t aware of the program. I explained in detail what the Resource Center offered and highly encouraged him to visit us, not only for the holiday program but to utilize the other resources we offered as well, such as meeting with the Family Advocate. With determination Jorge assured me that he’d visit within the next couple of days after I gave him one of my cards with my contact information.

In a few days, I saw Jorge, along with his family, inside our Resource Center connecting with our Family Advocate. It was great to see them getting familiar with the organization as a whole and then later going into the holiday program to pick out gifts. As we connected and discussed what specific items he was looking for, he asked his son to come over and told him to show me the bottom of his shoes. Lifting his foot up, there were holes and tears. The sole was so bad it was to the point where it looked like an open toed shoe, where you could see his baby blue socks hanging out. Luckily we were able to find shoes that fit his son’s feet perfectly, Jorge was extremely happy, and with gratitude thanked me multiple times that his son had a new pair of shoes to wear at school.


Holiday Helper recipients writing thank you cards.

This holiday program allowed Jorge to not only to get materials such as toys and clothing for his children, it meant a kind gesture during a rough time as he transitioned to living within the Wallingford neighborhood. The pressure to provide for his children during the holiday season was alleviated, and he left FamilyWorks with a smile on his face.”

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Help FamilyWorks Create a Happy Holiday for Children in Our Community!

If you are looking for meaningful ways for your family to help other struggling families this holiday season, consider engaging with the FamilyWorks Holiday Extravaganza!  Our goal is to be able to give parents of 200 children the opportunity to ‘shop’ for a gift for their child. You can help by donating NEW gifts for our Holiday Extravaganza!

If you are doing any shopping on Amazon or want some good ideas, check out our Amazon wish list. It has a variety of toys, art supplies and books. Select FamilyWorks for the destination and it will be shipped right to us!

Alternately, you can buy items when doing other shopping around your neighborhood and drop items off at FamilyWorks. We are looking for a variety of items for children ages 0 – 17.

Some ideas for gifts include:

* Warm clothes – ranging fromeng image baby to teen sizes/designs such as hooded sweatshirts, jackets, pants

* Shoes – ranging from baby to teen/adult sizes

* Kid-friendly art and craft supplies, journals, colored pens

* Stickers, sticker books, activity books

* Kids puzzles

* Dolls, including Disney themed toys

* Legos, small Lego kits

* Character/Themed toys such as Superheroes, Frozen, My Little Pony, etc.

* Science kits, STEM gifts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

* Lip balm, nail polish, hair ties

* Ear phones/ear buds

* Children’s books: ranging from board/crinkle/baby books (English and Spanish) to young adult books

* Board games

* Gift cards to Target, Fred Meyer, Safeway etc. in $25 increments to provide a meal for the family

Look at the Amazon wish list for ideas or call FamilyWorks at 206-694-6727 if you have any questions. Alternately, if there is something a child you know likes, there is a good chance our families’ children might like it too!

We aim to have all items at FamilyWorks by December 9th. You can drop off items at FamilyWorks, 1501N. 45th St on Mondays 9:30-12, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 9:30-5, or Fridays 9:30-3.

Thank you for your help making a great holiday for all families in our community!

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2016 School Supply Drive

The following was written by Hayley Berra, one of our Family Advocates, and the organizer of this year’s School Supply Drive.

I want to give the biggest thanks to everyone who donated and helped with the FamilyWorks School Supply Drive on August 25th.  We had an amazing turnout—over 100 kids walked away with backpacks and needed school supplies!  More families were able to pick up extra supplies in the days following our event.  Many parents told me how grateful they were for the help, and it was wonderful to see the children get excited over choosing their own backpack and supplies.  It was a day full of excitement, love and generosity of spirit.  We look forward to next year’s event.

supply drive pic 2.jpg

Two students showing off their new backpacks

We had many generous donations from both individuals and organizations.  Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, here in Wallingford, even provided space to store the items.


Thank you to our donors: Wells Fargo, Verity Bank, Girl Scout Troop 44411, St. Andrew’s, Wallingford Presbyterian, Target, Gift of Grace Lutheran, Gothic Pride Seattle, Solid Ground and our friends: Lauren, Jake, Sylvia, Priya, Annabel, Heather, Sibby, Jesse, Kathryn, Victoria

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