31 Dec Family Coaches-a Lifelong Difference
It was about four years ago when Randy sat down with his wife, Jamie, to meet with Carolyn Rexius, the Executive Director of CAFA. They had never heard of Safe Families and didn’t exactly understand what it was. However, after meeting with Carolyn they decided to give it a try.
“We actually didn’t know much about what it was, but we trusted Carolyn and knew it would be a good thing. So, we met with Angela and started to piece together what our role would be,” Randy remembers.
Randy is a former elementary school teacher who taught for 36 years in Roseburg, Oakridge and Springfield. After being with him for just a few minutes, you wish he had been your teacher. His kindness and charisma are contagious.
Randy and Jamie have served as family coaches and family coach supervisors with Safe Families since 2016.
“It’s wonderful to help people and do something that really makes a difference in someone’s life—it’s all so worthwhile.”
Just last month, Randy and his wife were able to watch the Lord provide for a young father and his son, when the man’s own family had abandoned him. 18-year-old John came home after spending a week at his friend’s house to find that his parents had sold the house, moved and left his belongings out on the front step.
He had no idea where they’d moved and without any support from home or family, John soon found himself living on the street. During that time, he met a woman, started a relationship and soon they had a beautiful baby boy. Unfortunately, because of alcohol and mental issues, his partner- the boy’s mother- couldn’t take care of the child and DHS awarded sole custody to John.
John tried to get as many hours as he can at his job at Burger King—but a good week was just 3 shifts. Between the fast food job and selling plasma John hoped to give his son Skylar what he needed. However, with no support system in place, John had no one to watch Sky while he was at work.
Finally, he heard about Safe Families. He was matched up with a wonderful family who have become adopted grandparents to Skylar. The Host Family’s granddaughters have also fallen in love with Skylar and play with him and spoil him daily!
Meanwhile Randy is working with John to figure out employment, child raising and long-term career goals.
As a family coach supervisor, Randy helps with in-takes and is often the first one to meet with the family in need. He gets to hear their story, bring encouragement and help communicate to the host family about what’s currently happening. He then assigns a family coach to meet with the placing family. Their role is to develop a relationship with the family, check in and help them navigate their situation.
Part of the beauty of Safe Families is the focus on the long-term change and growth for the placing family-that’s often where the family coach comes in, to help focus on ideas and ways to create lasting change.
A lot of Randy’s daily tasks include help with finding apartments, help applying for jobs and chasing down birth certificates. This can be a challenge when the client has no permeant address.
Another part of the family coach role is letting schools know what’s happening, touching base with the team, encouraging the placing family, and managing and problem solving.
Why does Randy keep going? “There is something so positive about getting to play a part in what the Lord is doing—especially when it all runs together smoothly,” he says.
So, what exactly does it take to be a family coach? Randy’s final word for people interested in changing lives with Safe Families in this role, “If you have the heart and skills to help problem solve and find solutions, and navigate systems to help people find the help they need, then the family coach role would be for you”.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please check out our volunteer opportunities here: https://safefamilieslanecounty.org/volunteer/