The Power of Relationships

Supportive relationships between committed volunteers and isolated parents are making a deep impact.

The key to the Safe Families model is relationships. Social isolation has become an increasingly growing and alarming epidemic, and we believe when supportive relationships are offered, families can build trust, offer hope, and extend encouragement that can and do change lives.

Time and time again, That’s grandma,” Liam said of his mom’s Safe Families volunteer. 15 months ago Liam and his baby brother, Ryan, and his mom, Angie had no family or support. Angie had recently left a violent relationship and was struggling as a newly single mom living in a shelter while her infant, born at 25 weeks, was still in the NICU. Angie initially reached out to us because she needed someone to watch Liam, her 20-month-old active toddler for a couple of hours so she could visit her baby Ryan in the NICU. Angie was matched with a team of short-term volunteers to watch Liam so she could visit the NICU, and was assigned one long-term Family Friend, Maria. These faithful friends gave Angie hope that everything would be alright and that she was not alone anymore. Her volunteers made way for hope and faith. Eventually, baby Ryan was discharged from the hospital. Angie was so happy to finally have both her boys with her and Ryan is thriving. 

Her Family Friend, Maria has been a consistent presence in the family’s life, visiting weekly and celebrating milestones. Maria was one of the first people Angie called when she found out she received permanent, affordable housing and was there to help hang curtains. Now, the boys and Angie consider Maria, family. And Liam calls Maria “grandma.”

These relationships are forming every day through Safe Families for Children. We have the privilege of connecting volunteers with isolated families and supporting them all through the ups and downs of their journeys. We see an impact, not only in the families we serve but also in the volunteers whose lives are changed as a result of these relationships.

One person at a time. One family at a time. One community at a time

By Emily Cowan, NYC Safe Families for Children

*All names have been changed for privacy.