How One Nonprofit Works to Strengthen Families.
No matter who you are or what your circumstances, everyone needs boundless, restorative love. This is the goal at Ser Familia (translates to Being Family), a nonprofit that has remained focused on investing in families since 2001.
“We exist to love on people in crisis,” said Myriam Hysa, development officer for Ser Familia. “We serve the Latino community, getting them through tough times until they are thriving, whether they are documented or not. At Ser Familia, we believe strong families make our communities stronger, better and safer.”
Ser Familia’s founder and executive director, Belissa Urbina, was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, she experienced a rough spot in her marriage. She reached out and got help from an organization in her hometown. After she moved to Georgia, she couldn’t find an equivalent organization offered to the Latino community. This inspired her to launch Ser Familia. During the last 20 years, the nonprofit’s life-changing programs spread to 36 Georgia counties. Last year, the organization provided services to more than 7,549 Latinos in Georgia.
Headquartered in Kennesaw, the staff and volunteers are dedicated to strengthening Latino families through programs that empower them to thrive and enjoy a healthy family environment. They achieve this through educational programs that increase family members’ communication skills, while decreasing high-risk behaviors. They assist families in crisis, serve as advocates and support other organizations that wish to serve Latinos in a culturally competent manner.
To better serve those in need, staffing increased, and the Acworth and Buford locations have moved into larger facilities in Kennesaw and Suwanee. The footprint in our community also includes two offices in Norcross and Smyrna. Ser Familia also received national accreditation for its mental health program.
“As outreach coordinator for Ser Familia, I feel it’s not enough to just go around telling people about our wonderful organization,” said Migdalia Rivera, “but how we can bring our first responders and law enforcement agencies to work with us as one — sharing what they have to offer and how we can work together to benefit families. Our focus is not solely on supplies and donations; we also provide mental health services and workshops that allow parents and adolescents to take control and get to a healthy stable family environment. Even if at the end of the day I was able to help a family not sleep on the floor, or was able to supply food to another and the children go to bed with a full belly, I have done my job well.”
Ser Familia programs include:
• Couple’s workshops and retreats
• Youth workshops and retreats
• Strengthening Families Program
• Triple P (Positive Parenting Program)
• Domestic violence advocacy, awareness and support
• Mental health counseling services in Spanish
• Advocacy programs
• Cultural and linguistic proficiency consulting
Ser Familia relies on the support of volunteers. For more information about volunteering or to make a donation, visit www.serfamilia.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-363-3079. The new and expanded Kennesaw headquarters is located at 1100 Cobb Place Blvd. NW, Suite 170.
– Susan Schulz is a Bible teacher and mentor who lives and plays on the Etowah River in Canton. Connect with her on social media or at susanbrowningschulz.com.