Family Promise graduate speaks on her experience with the volunteers.
Pam Manus, long-time volunteer and host coordinator, discusses the best thing about being a volunteer at Family Promise.
Pam Manus, long-time volunteer and host coordinator, speaks on what it’s like to volunteer with Family Promise.
IN THE NEWS
Getting To Know Our Director, Liane MaLossi Kerbyson
First and foremost, I am a mom of three young adults. Our family has lived in Hopkinton, NH for the last 21 years and we have been fortunate enough to have had a really good life. We live on a horse farm with our two horses, Behr and Bleu, our two mischievous donkeys, Tilly and Boo, some chickens, a couple of ducks, and our four dogs, Keeley (an Irish wolfhound), Ronan, Loki, and Frejya (huskies). My husband works for Autodesk and has been with this wonderful company for the past 27 years. It has been amazing that he has been able to work from home so that he can keep track of all that is happening with the farm and be my partner with the raising of our three kids. I work as a part-time executive director of Family Promise of Greater Concord, but I also have a private practice in Contoocook which allows me a great career blend. Being present with people who are struggling and supporting them while they discover all the inner strengths and resources that they have available to them is my purpose and it is always an honor to be any part of someone’s journey, so I am pretty grateful in that respect. My ‘therapy’ is definitely the animals. I love to hop on a horse and go down to the lake to go for a swim or trek out into the woods for a couple of hours. Horses and dogs are innately gifted to read where you are at emotionally and help you balance yourself internally. As I go forward with my husband, and we are now officially empty nesters, I am ready for this next stage of life and Family Promise is definitely a part of this new chapter.
I was asked by a good friend and colleague to consider Family Promise so I interviewed. The board is an incredible group of people and a great deal of talent in one room. From the start, it has felt like a natural fit. My staff is dedicated and are committed to helping the organization grow. It is amazing to me that I have been with Family Promise for almost a year now. I love the model and believe that, although it can be tough to rotate from site to site, the families are exposed to some really compassionate volunteers. The constant feedback that I have received from the families is focused on this perspective and would encourage that it not be undervalued. Many of the family members that we have had as guests have never been treated with this unconditional kindness. In that sense, it gives hope to them that there are many people in the community that are ready to help them get on a stable path.
I would definitely say that I wear many hats. There are times, when we have experienced a staff transition that I acted more as a case manager. On any given day I am meeting with community colleagues to stay in touch with the housing status of Concord or speaking at one of our participating congregations about Family Promise. I research funding, participate in the organization of fundraising efforts, attend meetings with the board and development committee, and answer the on line phone at times when a host site has a question. There really is never a single day that is like another. There have been many times that I have even thrown on some sweatpants, hopped into my pick up, and moved families into their homes on a Saturday. Never a dull moment!
The atmosphere. I am literally working with some of the kindest, most compassionate people around. From my colleagues in Concord to my staff, the board and the volunteers, it has been a really amazing experience. It is also amazing to meet the families. I have met some incredibly resilient people who just keep finding the strength to move forward through adversity. Very cool human beings all around me.
My goals…I have many. I would like to see an increase in awareness of our existence in the Concord community. We have only been around for four years, doors open, but it is amazing to me how many people that I meet still say “Family Promise? I’ve never heard of you guys.” Definitely getting our name out there would be number one. I would also love to see the organization grow financially to be able to increase staff. It can be incredibly frustrating to find funding for operational expenses. I guess it is not a ‘glamorous’ part to fund, but it is an absolutely necessary piece of the puzzle. Without my staff, we would not be providing stability. Just a roof over someone’s head with no guidance or aid to prevent future homeless situations. Definitely a goal would be to see that financially we are sound and can have the ability to grow. The second goal would be to potentially purchase a place that could be used as transitional housing. This would be down the line, but maybe a stepping stone for families from the program to being out on their own. Getting more interfaith hosts is also on my radar. Our sites work really hard and I don’t want to see them get burnt out.
I worry about the families that we have not been able to keep in touch with. It is only recently that we have had the staff to do some follow through work so I wonder how those families are that have fallen off of our radar. It is difficult sometimes to know the obstacles that have stood in the way of families before and you definitely hope that they have picked up some tools and resources while in the program that will keep them stable and afloat. Having the “Us and You, Follow-Through” program has been put in place to encourage families to keep in touch with us. Once you are part of our family you are always encouraged to continue case management and stay connected. I also worry about funding. It is a great deal of weight on my shoulders as the executive director of a new non-profit. Funding is like a pot that a plant is restricted to. Unless you can increase the size of the pot, your plant cannot grow no matter how hard it tries.
The most rewarding moment has been a repetitive one. Every time I have a family succeed in securing housing and I get to celebrate with them, it is a rewarding moment. Everyone deserves a place to call home. Everyone has value and everyone absolutely deserves to be treated with dignity. This is how we operate at Family Promise and it is why I am so grateful to be a small part of it.
Passing of the baton from Cash to Liane
Interested in fun activities that support your community? Here’s what to add to your calendar
A Message From the Director: 10/08/18