Family Connection Focus: Family Promise of Effingham Takes ‘Holistic’ Approach

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GUYTON — Family Promise of Effingham is a good first option for people in need of a second chance.

The church-supported agency’s mission is to help homeless and low-income families achieve independence through a community-based response.

A lot of changes are in the works for the organization. It will soon leave its current location on Church Street in Guyton for the campus of Centerpoint Community Church in Springfield.

The church donated a building for Family Promise to use.

“With that change, we are going to change our model — how we operate, and how we assist families” Family Promise Director Leah Kessler said. “Come April, families will actually be staying at that house and living in that house for up to 90 days as they work toward permanent housing and work on their goals.”

Kessler said the new building will allow Family Promise to be more impactful.

“We feel like that will give more stability to our families,” she said. “That’s just a missing piece that I feel like we’ve never been able to give to these families and I’m really looking forward to providing that stability so that they can overcome the crisis that they’re in and work toward stability and sustainability.

“We are really excited about the changes coming up.”

Some key things for Family Promise remain the same, however.

“We still need volunteers, we still partner with churches and we still are dependent on people giving of their time,” Kessler said.

Kessler said there are currently 68 homeless families in Effingham County. The causes range from domestic violence, fires, broken families and joblessness.

“We try to provide our families with everything they are going to need, including job readiness, financial counseling and any educational support so that we can put them on that foundation of success,” Kessler said. “We provide a holistic approach. Not only do we provide an overnight shelter and a meal, we provide them with spiritual nurturing, parent-teen counseling, mental health counseling and taking care of the whole self.”

Family Promise’s biggest fundraiser, the 2018 Bed Race, is set March 10 at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Rincon.

“It’s just a fun way for everyone to come together and raise awareness for a cause like homelessness,” Kessler said.

Kessler said there are more than 100 homeless children in Effingham County.

“Hopefully, we can bring more awareness to homelessness and poverty right here in our backyard,” Kessler said.

The cost to enter the bed race is $100 per team. Teams include five members — four to push and one to steer.

Starting Monday, registration will cost $125. All beds must be registered by 9 a.m. on race day.

Awards will be given in several categories.

For more information about the race or Effingham Promise, call 912-228-4748 or email

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth story in a weekly series about organizations in Effingham County Family Connection, part of a statewide initiative that cultivates public and private collaboration at the local level. Georgia Family Connection is represented in each of the state’s 159 counties, making it the largest network of its kind in the nation. The Effingham County Board of Commissioners is the local affiliate’s fiscal agent.

Read part three in the series: “Family Connection Focus: Ready2CONNECT Offers a Path to Independence.”