Natasha came to Laramie from Fort Morgan, CO, in the fall of 2002 to attend the University of Wyoming. Now married for 11 years to her husband, Brandon, she has a son (6 years), a daughter (4 years), a dog and a cat. Natasha is well-known in the Laramie community, as she is the Children’s Director at Harvest Church and the Albany TANF Preschool Coordinator through a partnership between Basic Beginnings and our public school district (ACSD#1). Natasha and Brandon have built a wonderful life in this community and continue to love raising their family here. During Freedom Has a Birthday at Washington Park this year, Natasha led a fundraiser for us along with support from Harvest Church.
What first grabbed your attention about the Family Promise program?
It was really three things. First, Family Promise was a "community response,” meaning local solutions for local problems. Second, Family Promise was not a duplication of local services but rather a unification of local services. Third, I valued how cost-effective Family Promise affiliates have proven to be as [existing] organizations come together to serve families in need.
Have you encountered families in Laramie who could have benefited from Family Promise?
Yes. I have encountered these families in many different avenues of my life. The most recent instance was hearing from a friend about a family new to town with no stable housing or services for their two young children. While Laramie is great in that there were places for them to consider, I am so excited that in a short time Laramie will have a specific trajectory for [these] families.
What led you to initiate a fundraiser for Family Promise?
As much as I wanted to raise funds, even more I wanted to be a megaphone for all that Family Promise can boast about. My immediate response [to hearing about the program] was, "This is brilliant! Why wouldn't anyone want to get involved? People need to hear about this!"
How did our community members respond when you told them about Family Promise?
The "Harvest A Promise" fundraiser for FPAC at Freedom Has a Birthday led by Harvest Church was an amazing experience. One part was a round of “Pie Face.” The conversations at this booth stuck with me because we were all informing families with children about problems surrounding families with children. The other part was a scavenger hunt. While handing out hundreds of scavenger hunts, I gave each group of people a rundown on Family Promise. Everyone really engaged to listen and many asked questions.
Any parting comments?
One last thing that is compelling me from familypromise.org is that over 2000 local initiatives have come out of Family Promise affiliates. Local initiatives solve problems at a deeper level [than broad systems]. Also, Family Promise is a simple and cost-effective yet power idea, boasting [success] rates of 70% or more!