Many people who wind up in Freedom House don’t have family in the area; or if they do, it’s not family that can be counted on in time of need. So, beginning in January 2009, we started Aftercare, a voluntary program where Freedom House graduates can choose to maintain a relationship with us for a period of 12 – 18 months or longer.
Our Aftercare Coordinator calls weekly to check in and see how things are going, to discover any “emergencies” that may have arisen and hold the families accountable to maintain their family goals and structure. Home visits help ensure that what is being said on the phone is reflected in the homes. And, when available, graduate families are paired with Guardian Angels, a mentor family who walks alongside them as they settle into their new, abundant life in the broader community. Right now, we’re serving between 35-40 families in our Aftercare Program, that’s well over 30% of graduating families.
We encourage graduated families to keep in touch, even if they don’t participate formally in Aftercare. More and more are calling in to take advantage of our help after they leave, and we’re meeting 80% of all those needs. We allow families to earn their supplies, if needed. We don’t hand them out, we have families come in and work with us by volunteering to earn needed items – it’s our “hand up, not handout” philosophy in action.