Family Support gets hi-tech boost

Recently two hi-tech companies came to the rescue of a very low-tech local agency in Douglas County, the Family Support Council.

When longtime community volunteer John Amundson learned that the agency was struggling with an outdated computer system and software - so much so that the employees could barely communicate with one another - he volunteered to contact IBM to see how they might be able to help.

Amundson, a former IBM employee, contacted the company's community fund which may be utilized by former personnel to assist nonprofit agencies with projects and equipment.

Through the fund, Amundson was able to obtain a new computer server for the Family Support Council.

GE Energy stepped up to assist with the purchase of several computer stations and updated software.

Several on-going grantors including Department of Human Health Services and the Smallwood Foundation assisted with other additions to bring the server up to capacity.

Executive director Kelli Johnson said the efforts showed how easy it is to make a difference.

"I really think people can see that they can partner with other companies. That cooperative spirit is so important," she said.

"Volunteerism doesn't have to be about showing up five days a week," she said. "It can be given in many different forms."

Johnson said Family Support Council can always use a helping hand, and the families it serves are grateful for everything.

"We can always use office supplies, paper towels, gift cards for gas or the grocery store. Anything that helps our clients and for which we don't have the funding," she said.

An ongoing need is Abbey Crossing, a shelter for women victims of domestic violence and their children.

"Right now, it's 100 percent funded by private donations," she said. "We pay the manager, but no other funding goes directly to the shelter to pay utilities and purchase food."

Johnson said Family Support Council needs four new computers to complete the information technology project.

The agency also is looking for a volunteer to create a new Family Support Council Web site.

"Our old Web site ended up going away," she said. "A lot of foundations do their own research via Internet and won't know about us without a Web site. The more visible an organization is, the better chance of getting funding. But above and beyond that, we want parents and volunteers to be able to go our site and access information about us."


The Family Support Council has a list of ongoing needs for the Abbey Crossing shelter.

Items include used cell phones, gas cards, gift cards, certificates for haircuts, movie passes, swim passes.

New items include twin bedding including sheets, pillow cases, blankets and comforters, bath towels, wash clothes, curling irons, hair dryers, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, diapers, sanitary wipes, cookware, vacuum cleaner, dinnerware, mixing bowls and storage bowls with lids.

Executive director Kelli Johnson can be reached at 782-8692.


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