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Helping families is promise we should make

Quite often, I get a phone call or an email about a person or a family in need of housing, or a job, or a few bucks to pay the rent or the electric bill, or money to get a prescription or pay a doctor or dentist bill. I’ve even run into folks who needed money to get their driver’s licenses renewed.

And, I will never forget the woman who stopped me in a local parking lot for a few dollars to go to the dentist. She was in agony and helping her was the only thing humane to do.

We have many remarkable organizations and individuals in this town who step up and do the only thing I believe humans should do: They help. Yet, if I’m getting calls and our local organizations are doing all they can for folks, seems to me the time has come to see how we can expand our reach.

We have a slogan in Boulder City that says: “Be Kind, Be Boulder!” That slogan means quite a few things to me, but let’s discuss the “expand our reach” issue.

For more than a decade, I’ve been involved in an organization called Family Promise of Las Vegas. Family Promise not only provides a temporary home to families at churches, mosques and synagogues throughout Clark County, but it helps with all the hurdles folks face when moving from the street or their car to a permanent home. You may not realize it, but a family simply can’t go from desperation to sustainability in a week.

The framework of Family Promise is such that with a minimal staff and the generosity of the Clark County faith-based community and other organizations, they are able to house families at no cost to the program. These institutions open their doors and their hearts and share their spaces with families. Thanks to the volunteers at these organizations, the families are fed at no cost to the program. The institutions or the volunteers pay for the food for three meals a day.

Family Promise receives some grant funding, but the heart and soul of the program, the sheltering and feeding of families is done by volunteers and their organizations. Family Promise does not spend funds on this most important aspect of the program.

For a number of years, I’ve thought about creating a Family Promise of Boulder City. I have discussed the idea with a few people, and each and every one I talked to was supportive of the idea. So, what are we waiting for?

A friend of mine and I took an unofficial count of Boulder City churches and came up with 16. Some of these groups do not have the facilities to house individuals or families, but a number of them do. In fact, Grace Community Church will be hosting the families from Feb. 1-8 and has been doing this for a week, sometimes two weeks at a time, several times each year.

So why don’t we get together and have the folks from Family Promise’s national headquarters come discuss with us how we can establish Family Promise of Boulder City?

Boulder City has the heart, the infrastructure and the volunteer spirit to pull this off. I hear folks saying all the time that we want to help “our own.” Well, this is our chance!

Boulder City residents volunteer at the Senior Center of Boulder City, Emergency Aid of Boulder City, Lend a Hand, Boulder City Hospital, Rotary fundraisers, the Community Club, Nevada State Veterans Home, and the Chamber of Commerce as well as at their churches and our schools.

I’ve seen hundreds come out to plant trees and beautify the city. Others, quite silently, help seniors who need assistance with cleaning a yard or building a new roof. I could go on listing the good deeds undertaken by Boulder City residents, but I want to expand upon what we have done. I feel the time is now to start the discussion about a Family Promise of Boulder City.

Although the creation of this new organization will take time and money, it can happen if the desire to “Be Kind, Be Boulder” is within us. Call me or send me an email and we’ll talk.

Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at roseannrab@hotmail.com or at 702-347-9924.

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