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The Friday Five is a weekly update that focuses on the FIVE topics, issues, events, volunteer opportunities or needs of Family Promise Waukesha County. This communication will update, inform and advocate for families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Here is the Friday Five for Friday, December 22, 2023.

Our mission is to help low-income families and families experiencing homelessness achieve sustainable independence

through a community-based response.


The Family Promise Five for December 22 are:



“Continuing to diagnose homelessness as a problem of the individual will undermine efforts to prevent and end homelessness. What is necessary is a structural understanding and response to homelessness. ”  

-- From a slide posted on Instagram by Family Promise of Greater Wichita



Thank you to everyone who donated gifts, provided supplies or volunteered to help on the day of the Holiday party on December 16. One child said, “This was better than Christmas morning!”


Please vote for your favorite staff door. Prizes will be awarded to the winner.



2nd annual staff holiday door contest

The staff has decorated their doors giving our Day Center a festive feeling! Now, we need your votes! What would the holidays be without some good natured competition? We invite you to vote for your favorite door. For Judging, please consider how the door promotes a festive holiday spirit and creativity. 

(Side note: some of us wanted the utilization of volunteers to be considered as a criteria for judging, but not all would agree that it should be a part of the voting criteria. Some of us encourage you to consider that and to look closely for evidence of the engagement of volunteers. Oh, and thank you to John and Robin from the Helping Hands group from Our Savior in Oconomowoc. If Joe wins, you win!) 



Please vote for your favorite staff door. Prizes will be awarded to the winner.

  • 0%Happy Holidays from our Gnome to Yours

  • 0%Wreathin' Around the Christmas Tree

  • 0%Happy Holidays Plinko

  • 0%Winter Soldiers



Trauma changes one’s ability to process information 

Our goal in serving families experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness is to provide care to families that is healing and empowers them to move forward. This approach is called trauma informed care. It is a term that you have probably heard but what is it? 

First it starts with an assumption that all the families we encounter have experienced trauma. One study found that 100% of women and 90% or men who were experiencing homelessness cited at least one traumatic experience in their life. Trauma comes in all forms. it includes experiences such as emotional, physical or sexual abuse, abandonment, or the loss of an important relationship. The loss of one’s home is itself a traumatic experience further complicated by other traumatic situations the family has experienced.

Trauma informed care recognizes that these experiences have a long lasting impact on the individual and even their decision making ability. Here are five principles that help bring about healing for those who have experienced trauma. 

1] Safety

Each family in the shelter needs to feel emotionally and physically secure. We do this by giving a person their own physical space, being patient and allowing them to share their story as they are able. Protecting their privacy and confidentiality is vitally important. 

2] Trustworthiness

It is not unusual for families to mistrust others. Too often many have been let down by others or the system that was designed to support them. Trust is built by consistency over time. 

3] Choice

Trauma can make a person feel powerless. Therefore giving families choice in as many areas as possible builds their sense of self-determination. 

4] Collaboration

Assuring the family that we are here to work with them to achieve their goals. Staff and volunteers have to set aside our agenda. Our efforts are about supporting the clients to achieve their goals. 

5] Empowerment

Empowerment starts with the belief that families and individuals can find and achieve their own solutions. Our role as staff and volunteers is to support. We have to be careful not to think we can fix whatever issues they are facing.    

Another way we speak about trauma informed care is that it is a client centered approach. This means our decisions are made with the needs of the client in mind first. 

Thank you to all who contribute to a client-centered, trauma informed approach to care!



End of year campaign seeking $200,000 

We are getting closer to our goal. As of Thursday, December 21 we have raised $113,950 of $200,000. 

We are grateful to everyone who has supported this campaign. We are especially grateful to our Community Challenge Fund supporters. 

If you have not yet given, we need you. 

What this comes down to is whether we have the resources to help families or not. It is very simple: your gift becomes rent assistance, security deposits, shelter, case management. It allows families to avoid eviction or keep their heat and lights turned on. It is what helps them move past that unexpected expense, temporary job loss, or falling behind on rent. It allows them to secure their home for good. 

A home means everything. It is the place where memories are made, homework is done, bedtime stories are read, board games are played, and birthdays are celebrated! We have it in our power to impact the lives of families experiencing homelessness for generations. When families are housed this is good for all of us.  

Home for Good 2023 EOY Booklet
Download PDF • 2.60MB

If you have already given, thank you! Would you consider sharing our end of year campaign with your network of friends, relatives and colleagues? Those who believe in Family Promise and the work we do are the best ambassadors. 

Thank you for all of your support and consideration!

Read Z’s story about the impact your support has on families experiencing homelessness.



Volunteers needed on Jan 24 to count those experiencing homelessness.

Twice a year Housing and Urban Development asks each local Continuum of Care to count all those who are experiencing homelessness. All recipients of the Emergency Solutions Grant are required to participate in this point in time count. Would you be willing to volunteer to help count those who are experiencing homelessness on January 24?  Training would be provided. Volunteers should be prepared that:

  • The count begins at 10pm and goes until 2am

  • Lots of walking is involved- perhaps for 2 hours at a time.

  • You may have to walk on uneven terrain and in rural areas.

  • It’s January in Wisconsin so it could be- will be -cold. 

How is that for selling you on this opportunity?! In all seriousness though it is a need and if you bring a friend it could be fun!

You can complete the form to sign up to participate in the PIT Count. In the form you will be asked which part of the county you would prefer to count. The information on this application will be shared with the Point In Time/Data Committee of the Waukesha Continuum of Care. Thank you for supporting local organizations and the community helping those experiencing homelessness. All those involved would meet at the Salvations Army Family Please fill out this form so we can better coordinate the night of Point In Time Count (PIT). 

We will be meeting at The Salvation Army at 445 Madison Street, Waukesha, WI 53186 on Wednesday January 24,  at 10:00 PM. The parking lot is available. Please meet in the second floor Cafeteria.



Friday Five is taking a break until Jan 22

The Friday Five will take a break until January 22. During our breaks we like to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the Friday Five. To do so though we would like your feedback. Could you take 5 minutes to complete this survey?


Thank you to QPS Employment Services for their gift to Family Promise.

Thank you to We are grateful to Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc for their generous contribution from Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Thank you to Hope Lake Country for their generous contribution and amazing support of families experiencing homelessness.



Dec 24 Christmas Eve

Dec 25 Christmas - offices closed

Dec 31 New Year's Eve - offices close at noon

Jan 1 New Year's Day - offices closed

Jan 15 MLK Social Justice Panel (Joe Nettesheim is a panel member-details coming.)

Jan 24 Point in Time Count- Volunteers needed

Jan 25 Fund Development Committee Meeting

Jan 30 Program Committee Meeting



Access our Threads account through Instagram

You can also join our Facebook volunteer group to learn about volunteer opportunities.


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