Community Champions

Susan White Occupational Therapist, NeuroRestorative North Carolina
Grant Recipient, Families Moving Forward

Susan White has volunteered at Families Moving Forward in Durham, North Carolina for the past ten years. The non-profit offers a temporary home to families with children in the crisis of homelessness. The program works to create a path to stability and self-sufficiency through personalized services and ongoing community support. Their vision is that with this model family homelessness in Durham will end by 2020.

Susan originally got involved when the organization was a mobile model and “rotated” to 12 churches for their shelter. During this time Susan assisted with organizing meals, overnight hosts, and transportation to transform her church into a home for 3-4 families. It took a total of 60 volunteers per week to make this a successful temporary home.

The organization opened in a new stationary location this past July which can host up to 21  families. Families Moving Forward partners with community agencies to provide supportive services such as mental health and substance abuse counseling/treatment are provided. Heads of household work to attain personal and professional goals related to obtaining full time employment, developing financial literacy and transitioning into permanent affordable housing.

While the organization’s location has changed, Susan’s passion and dedication to volunteering has not. She continues to form relationships with many of the individuals and provides occupational therapy, free of charge, to those in need. “I feel it is important to give back to the community,” said Susan. “I see the positive impact the organization has on families when some of them come back to volunteer alongside me once they get back on their feet.”

“Susan is a natural caretaker,” said Jerry Villemain, State Director, NeuroRestorative North Carolina. “She is very compassionate and her empathy leads her to go beyond usual expectations. She cares about her community and she cares about all those in it, particularly those less fortunate trying to overcome barriers.”

Visit http://familiesmovingforwardnc.org/ for more information on Families Moving Forward.