Program Supports Local Families in Need

Easter Seals Goodwill Industries is helping struggling families turn the corner and achieve sustained economic success through its Family First Initiative.

Easter Seals Goodwill Industries is assisting New Haven families by strengthening their financial wellbeing and economic stability with job coaching and placement through the Family First Initiative. This program, with funding and referral services from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the Anne E. Casey Foundation, focuses on job placement and work support to increase household income and in turn increase family assets, including savings accounts, among other things.

"Primarily we provide services to households that have single female as the head household member, that are unemployed or underemployed," says Richard Borer, President of Easter Seals Goodwill Industries (ESGI).

ESGI grew out of a merger of three different groups - The Crippled Children's Society (later known as Easter Seals), Goodwill Industries and Rehabilitation Center - and has been working with New Haven residents for over 70 years.

The Family First Initiative at Easter Seals Goodwill Industries helps struggling families, often single parent households with young children, gain economic stability through addressing underemployed or unemployment status.

While the Family First Initiative focuses primarily on families, Easter Seals President Richard Borer admits that this program has ripple effects, and thus added benefit for the city of New Haven.

"Obviously the city of New Haven plays a tremendous role in the lives of the people that we serve," says Borer. "I'm sure that having people fully employed, working, happy and healthy makes a better city, too."

Borer says it is gratifying to work with individuals who are totally committed to their future success and, in the turn, the wellbeing of their families.

"It's great to see the success of not only that individual, but the entire family and family support network," says Borer. "It's really exciting when people see that they're turning the corner in their lives and you're helping them to have sustained economic success."

In 2015, The Community Foundation made a $50,000 multi-year grant to ESGI's Family First Initiative. Funding was made possible from unrestricted funds at The Foundation, and the Sarah Bronson Fund, which was established by bequest in 1940. The commitment plays a pivotal role in the program's success and gives hopes to many individuals and families.

"When you think about the parade of tears, that sea, in a lot of neighborhoods, especially in New Haven, the unemployed, the underemployed, the homeless, the needy," says Borer, "it's programs like Family First and especially funders like this and the grants that we get from The Community Foundation that help to wipe away those tears and create opportunity for folks."

Did You Know?

In the State of Connecticut 32% of children are living in single parent families, while 30% of single-parent families with related children are below poverty level.