“Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.”

– Hazel Rochman

“The home is the child’s first school, the parent is the child’s first teacher, and reading is the child’s first subject.”

– Barbara Bush

Family Promise of Ontario County (FPOC) is part of Family Promise America. Their goal is to help homeless families become sustainably independent. FPOC is one of 200 Family Promise chapters across the US with the same goal and service model. Fall 2018 marked the entry of Family Promise into Ontario County. The chapter in Rochester, Family Promise of the Greater Rochester Area (FPGROC), has been operating successfully for 21 years.

Sustainable independence includes both gainful employment and appropriate housing. Family Promise works toward these goals while keeping the family together. FPOC combines the efforts of the faith communities, volunteer organizations, and existing social service agencies. For some families, time in the program is relatively short, especially if they have job skills, and mostly need time, assistance, and a safe haven, while working their way toward independence. For others, the path is longer and may include job training, before being able to be employed, and then moving into affordable housing.

The original and traditional model nationwide for Family Promise programs was for local churches to serve as “hosts” and provide clean, safe overnight lodging and meals for a week at a time. In addition to the overnight accommodations and meals, church volunteers also provided support, companionship, and assistance with the children while they were staying at the church. This operational model could not survive the years of Covid; thus an alternate model is now being used, still using the assistance of churches and church volunteers. Currently, Family Promise has rented several apartments in Ontario County where families are housed while they are in the program and working their way toward their own sustainable housing. Church volunteers are still providing meals, assistance and social interaction.

The role that Budding Readers plays happens once a family is settled into their new home. At that time Budding Readers gifts a bundle of new age-appropriate books to each child in the family from birth to age 11 (through elementary school).

Budding Readers is very excited to be part of this program and to be able to enter at the beginning. We want to keep the children interested in books and reading so that, in the long run, their family’s homelessness will not put them at an academic disadvantage.

Want to know more about the Family Promise – Budding Readers partnership?

Contact Tam Spitzer at books@buddingreaders.org, or (585) 900 -1725.