What if you could give opportunities instead of handouts? That's what Sunday Friends, a non-religious, nonprofit organization, does through its programs for very low-income families.
Sunday Friends does this in a unique way. It has created an integrated learning economy that offers families a working alternative to charity. Children and their parents are provided opportunities to earn the things they need.
They do this with volunteers through a variety of collaborative, carefully crafted activities, such as making gifts for children in hospitals, preparing healthy meals, cleaning the grounds of the host facility and writing letters to the Sunday Friends community.
These giving-back activities, along with the earning opportunities and the skills training, have been shown to promote positive outlooks, healthy productive lifestyles and self-sufficient futures.
Parents and children make meaningful contributions to the community through writing, cooking, art, cleaning and more.
Family members participate in classes and hands-on learning activities, focused on academics and practical life skills.
All participants earn tickets for their contributions and their participation. They save those tickets in interest-bearing bank accounts and spend them in our Treasure Chest stores.
As a result, everything changes, from self-concepts to skill sets to economic stability to families’ relationships with their communities. And, futures change for good.
Sunday Friends' approach of giving opportunities instead of handouts helps families break the poverty cycle. Parents and their children are able to practice money management and practical life skills that they can apply in their schools, workplaces and homes throughout the week. This fosters developmental assets in children and economic stability in families.
As program participants experience repeated positive outcomes for their efforts, they grow to understand that they have the power to take control of their lives and to make a difference in the lives of others. This realization has instilled the needed confidence in many Sunday Friends participants to make successful, life-changing decisions.