RINCON — Lucy Powell has a succinct explanation for her association with Effingham County Family Connection. She is the lone member of the collaborative not affiliated with an agency of some sort.
"My interest was born out of being born in Effingham County," she said.
Effingham County Family Connection is committed to improving conditions for at-risk children, families and communities. It works to foster relationships with local partners, increase policy makers' awareness of local issues, implement programs and practices, and leverage additional funding to support community plans.
Family Connection partners combat homelessness, hunger, domestic abuse, educational deficiencies and other problems.
Powell, a retired mental health professional, said that the need for Family Connection hasn't subsided since it started more than two decades ago. She rates homelessness among adults as one of the county's leading challenges.
"Homelessness not for families — they've got places where they can put mothers and children — but homelessness for a man with mental health issues. We have no place to put him — a man who is just down on his luck," Powell said. "I mean it would be harder for me to find a place to live than it would be a 25-year-old mother with three children because I wouldn't fit into any of the categories."
Powell has been heartened by many Family Connection success stories and believes there could be more with enhanced citizen participation.
"I think we just need more community involvement — people who are not from an agency," she said. "If you come to the meetings, you know that most of the people there represent an agency. You don't have a lot of community people in the meetings."
Powell believes more churches should be involved with Family Connection, too.
"It doesn't have to be the minister," she said.
Powell said there isn't a family problem that Family Connection can't help ease quickly.
"There have been issues presented in Family Connection meetings and groups were immediately formed to take care of the needs," she said. "That's the one good thing about it. If you bring a problem to Family Connection, there is always someone there to help you meet that need."
See the Sept. 12 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.