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1 Year Anniversary! January 2021

Welcome to Our Organization

Family Promise of Monroe County (FPMC) first opened its doors on January 5th, 2020, after welcoming aboard their first director, April Buchanan, in December of 2019. April was born and raised in the small town of Harvey, Illinois. Harvey suffered from high levels of unemployment, poverty, and

crime. As a child April experienced homelessness, lack of food, foster care, living without water and electricity for an extended period of time, and so much more. Although her parents didn't have a strong support system while raising their eight kids, they still raised them with love and taught them how to survive whatever life threw at them. April reflected, “Our childhood became our adulthood; we had to learn fast! No matter what the duration of the struggle, we learned to always use the past as a token to a better future.”

April took that token and chose to apply for the FPMC Director position in hopes that her efforts, along with local community resources, would help families choose a better future. April has a passion for helping people improve their lives, and revels in the challenge to “motivate individuals to navigate

through their tough situation of homelessness.” She says, “I am a strong believer that there is always a solution to a situation; we just have to work together to find it regardless of the duration. Reality is, there’s no quick fix in situations like these; patience and effort is key to a successful ending.”

Family Promise of Monroe County is located at 17304 Havenwood Road, Sparta, WI 54656. The facility is inside the Sparrows Nest at the Abbey. Originally, with the united support of 13 host churches, we had the capacity to provide services for up to 14 individuals daily. However, with the COVID-19 Plan in place, we have come to the decision to only accept up to eight individuals into the program at this time in order to allow us to abide by the social distancing standards.

In order to enter the program, families must meet certain criteria, complete the initial phone interview, complete an in-person interview, pass a background check, and agree to work in good faith with the Family Promise organization to achieve their goals. Families who are enrolled will receive full

assistance: overnight accommodations, three meals a day plus snacks, transportation to local destinations within Monroe County, and guidance from the case manager who empowers them in the decision making process to help them achieve their goal of finding a home. During this time they will also receive incredible support from our wonderful volunteers.

Our program is completely free to those who qualify. Families meet with their case manager each week to be sure they are meeting their weekly objectives. Services are available to families who meet the program qualifications as space is available.

A personal note from Andrew Madrid

“Hi I’m Andrew and I just wanted to say that we had a really good experience at Family Promise of Monroe County. The people are very welcoming and made us feel like family. My daughters and I will always have everyone in our hearts. We enjoyed the food and gained lots of good memories in the short time we were there. If it wasn’t for the program, who knows where we would be now. We thank God every time for the opportunity it gave us to better ourselves and we are forever grateful for Family Promise and the services they provided.” -Andrew

The Madrid Family was the very first family to enroll at Family Promise of Monroe County. The Madrid Family came with just what they had on their backs. Family Promise's wonderful organization and devoted volunteers were able to alleviate the stress of this father during his family’s time of crisis. The father worked tirelessly with the case manager on a daily basis. During their stay, the father and his case manager worked toward getting his state I.D., Social Security Card, enrolled his four-year-old in pre-k, enrolled in Badger Care and Health Care, Food Share, and searched for employment. While the father was working on his goals, volunteers stepped forward to engage the children who were not yet enrolled in school. Games, crafts, story time and other activities helped the days pass quickly. Following the national model, the family received shelter and Mr. Madrid successfully completed his goals and was called for three job interviews prior to making the decision to relocate with his family to Nevada. A follow-up was conducted after their move and the father is now working, and the girls are in school and childcare. When time allows, they enjoy fishing.

The people are very welcoming and made us feel like family. My daughters and I will always have everyone in our hearts. - Andrew

Our second family (a mother, father, and their one-year-old daughter) entered Family Promise of Monroe County in February 2020. This family would rather stay "unknown" for confidentiality purposes. This unknown family of three came into Family Promise from living doubled up with another family. The case manager worked closely with this family to search for housing, which was their primary goal. With a history of evictions, looking for housing in Monroe County had been rather frustrating for this family. Their family goal was to look for employment, and search for housing. The case manager reached out to many landlords and was able to secure three apartment showings. The case manager continued to assist this family with their overall goals. They became successful at finding employment and attended at least 4 house showings. Prior to completing their goal and exiting the program, the family reconnected with their family in New Mexico. As of today, this family is employed, has their own home, and is in the process of purchasing their own vehicle.

Our third family would also like to stay “unknown” for confidentiality purposes. This unknown family was a pregnant mother who also lived in a “doubled up” situation and was in need of services to search for her own apartment in Monroe County. This mother came into our program with only the clothes on her back also. Family Promise was able to partner with Mary Morrow’s Attic, a local resale shop, to obtain clothing donations for this family, and special items this mother needed during her stay. This mother made continuous efforts to reach her goal of finding housing. Fortunately, she was able to move into an apartment with relatives in a shared housing arrangement in Monroe County. Family Promise is grateful to have been able to support her in her time of need.

A personal not from Cheri

“Hi my name is Cheri. I am a single mom of an 8 year old boy named Cash. We moved to Wisconsin on June 12 2019 from California, with what we could carry in our bags and we had no real support system. All of our family is still in California but, we were in need of a fresh start. Where we were staying didn’t work out and we had no place to go and thankfully Families First got me in touch with April at Family Promise and our life will never be the same! We entered the program on November 16 2020, and I was in my new place on December 15, 2020. All the volunteers were completely amazing, they never hesitated to do what they could do to help Cash and I. We always had food, seeing that my son is a very picky eater they always made sure he had something that he would eat. While during our stay with Family Promise my son contracted Covid sadly, we were under quarantine and I couldn’t work. I was completely scared and frustrated because I just found an apartment and was not going to have the funds to move in. April kept me motivated. She always kept me in good spirit along with everyone else, I have never seen such an outpour of love and kindness in my life. When we did move in to our apartment Family Promise and all the amazing volunteers helped me acquire a lot of stuff for my apartment. This organization is a huge family that you can count on. Thank you Family Promise for everything. You helped give me the fresh start we needed. “ -Cheri Overstreet

Even during quarantine, Cheri continued to make contact with volunteers and her case manager to work toward getting her own place. Success was reached when she secured an apartment in Tomah, WI. Cheri and her son graduated Family Promise of Monroe County in 30 Days! What a blessing to start not only a new beginning, but also to be able to celebrate Cheri’s birthday on 18 December, Christmas, and New Year’s all in their new apartment. Our team ROCKS!

I have never seen such an outpour of love and kindness in my life. - Cheri

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