• Family Promise

Meet Jan Hutchings who is an Administrative Assistant with Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels. She also volunteers as an overnight person when her church hosts families.

Jan started with FPGNB as a volunteer in the summer of 2013 as they prepared for the opening - helping with painting and getting the old day center ready for guests. After the first guests were accepted into the program, she started volunteering as a receptionist, opening/closing the day center and answering phone calls, as well as volunteering with her church when they hosted. At the time, the only paid employee was Stacey Minor, the first Executive Director. Jan was hired in September of 2013 as the part-time Administrative Assistant and has been with FPGNB in this capacity since then.

Right before starting with Family Promise, Jan retired from teaching. It was not unusual for her to have children in her class who were experiencing homelessness (on average one child a year). These children might be living doubled up with extended family, rotating through different relatives’ and friends’ homes, coming in from the Crisis Center, sleeping on couches, or in a car. She saw the tremendous effect homelessness wreaks on children. Their attendance was frequently spotty and in class they had difficulty paying attention and completing assignments, tired from lack of sleep or distracted by problems that their families were coping with. Education simply could not have the same level of priority that children sleeping in a safe, secure, and stable environment enjoyed. Communities in Schools was a great resource for families, but it wasn’t enough. This close-up view of the difficulties of children experiencing homelessness made Jan know that she wanted to be a part of Family Promise when her church began discussing supporting this new nonprofit.

“I loved, and still love, that Family Promise is making a difference in children’s lives and is affecting generational change in the cycles of poverty and homelessness.”

Jan is very excited to see FPGNB expanding its efforts into programs geared toward the prevention of homelessness. The current Executive Director, Sarah, along with Family Services Coordinator, Jill, has continued the program’s shelter and graduate support components, and has implemented initiatives that assist families who are still housed but who are experiencing severe financial hardship and are at serious risk of becoming homeless. Experiencing homelessness is a traumatic event in a family’s journey. While Jan loves that they are able to help families overcome homelessness through the shelter program, she knows that preventing it from happening in the first place will allow FPGNB to have an even greater impact on the lives of families in our communities.

Thank you, Jan Hutchings, for your hard work, dedication, and many contributions (seen and unseen).

  • Family Promise

St. Francis by the Lake has been an Episcopal presence at Canyon Lake since the 1970s. Fr. David came to St. Francis in 2010. He had been searching for a parish that was highly involved in outreach ministry. When he fo

und St. Francis, he found what he was looking for. Presently, they have 70 different outreach ministries; some are one-person ministries, while others involve a whole team. A few of those ministries are international.

A few of St. Francis’ parishioners first learned about Family Promise through Marie and Pastor Paul Miller of St. Andrew Lutheran Church of Canyon Lake. St. Andrew was hosting families, and upon learning about the program, St. Francis volunteers offered support to St. Andrew during the week they were hosting families. Fr David and the parish felt called to be even more involved. This became a very important detail to factor in as they made plans to build what they call their Ministry and Outreach Center. They’ve continued to support St. Andrew, but they are very glad to be able to host families now.

From a biblical and theological standpoint, Fr. David and his parish believe that caring for those in need is one of the primary tasks of the church. The first leaders of the church directed that some believers be tasked with caring for those who had no one else to care for them. (Acts 6.1-6) This and other mandates have been their inspiration and guidance, and especially:

...Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14.16 (NKJV)

This call, however, goes deeper. One of the reasons why Fr David and St. Francis feel so strongly about supporting Family Promise is, they see its ministry implications: Family Promise not only feeds the hungry, but also embraces the families, gives them shelter, walks with them through their hardships, and offers appropriate support to break the cycle of homelessness. Meeting people where they are and helping t

hem in ways that encourage empowerment is something about which Fr. David is passionate.

We are so grateful that Fr. David and the entire St. Francis by the Lake parish have joined the Family Promise family.

  • Family Promise

Updated: Sep 26

Now that we are a graduate family, you would think that life is perfect for us, right? Well - that is not exactly how things played out. In the excitement of meeting my goals and graduating from this program, somehow I got this idea in my head that once we graduated life would be perfect with no more problems or worries. I guess I forgot that life is still life with all its ups and downs.

This is the last part of our story I am going to share. I hope other families will read this so they can have an idea of what to expect.

The best way I can describe graduating from the program is like what I imagine jumping out of an airplane feels like. You have worked for it, prepared for it, and you want to do it. You have your parachute all ready to go and then - you jump. It is thrilling, exciting, and totally scary!

The weeks after moving into our own place were like we had “jumped” and were waiting for our parachute to open. It was exciting, for sure. And I was so proud. I could tell my kids were too. We loved our new place. It was all ours and we could afford it. But I don’t think any of us realized how accustomed to the safety and support of Family Promise we had become. Suddenly, we were alone and it felt like a free-fall. Like waiting for our parachute to open.

It was very overwhelming at first. I didn’t expect that. Suddenly, I was by myself and had to manage a car and a house and bills and getting the kids to school and preparing all the meals and my own job and, and -- whew. It was a lot to take on all at one time. Oscar was definitely stressed and acting out. Sophia (even though she loved her new bed) slept in my bed for the first few weeks. It was a bumpier transition than I was expecting.

Slowly but surely, the parachute did open. We all started to calm down and feel safe again. I was so glad I had my weekly meetings with the caseworker from Family Promise. She encouraged me so much in those first months. She helped me keep going even though I didn’t have it all together. She reminded me of my plan, my budget, and helped me put systems in place. It was reassuring to have someone help me plan the details of my life. I’d never had that before!

One of the hardest things for me is that I was depending on food from the Food Bank as part of my plan. But with school and work, it was really hard for me to actually get there and get what we needed. I ended up going over budget on food a few times. I felt so bad! I didn’t want to tell my caseworker that I had made a mistake. Even that ended up being a learning experience for me. Obviously I was going to make mistakes. The difference is now I had the support and I had the plans in place to get back on track.

Eventually, the kids settled into their new school. Our apartment started to feel like home. We made friends with some of our neighbors which was such a huge comfort. I was doing really well at my new job. I even got promoted! Here is what I didn’t expect. The promotion came with a bigger paycheck. A bigger paycheck meant that we qualified for fewer benefits. You would think that it would just work out - that the extra money would cover the loss of the benefits. That isn’t how it was, though. So my budget changed. I dipped into my savings each week to cover it.

Then, my car broke down. I did have enough left in savings to cover the repairs, but I had to use it all.

I’m not telling you all of this so that you pity me. I just want other families to know that graduating from the program doesn’t mean all your problems go away. Expenses still come up. I had to work through some of my embarrassment and shame about basically spending the last dollar that I had worked so hard to save. My caseworker reminded me that for the first time in my life, I had a plan. I actually did have the money to cover it. I would just have to work again to build my savings back up. I did it once and I could do it again. Even though I wasn’t expecting to spend it all, that is what it was there for.

We have been on our own now for almost a year. We’ve had our ups and downs. But we made it. I am so proud of myself and my family. I am forever grateful to Family Promise. They scooped us up when we were down and supported us to get back on our feet. I learned things that no one had ever taught me before. For the first time in my whole life, the future doesn’t seem so scary because I know I have the tools to make it. Even more important - I have the tools to teach my kids how to make it. Thank God for Family Promise.

Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels

PO Box 311866, New Braunfels, TX 78131

(830) 214-0024

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