By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is Community Family Life Services, which is committed to safely offering needed programming in Washington, DC throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community Family Life Services (CFLS) is a trusted partner in Washington, DC, having served the community for more than 50 years. CFLS provides children, families, and adults with resources needed to move beyond poverty and homelessness, and supports women in their reentry after incarceration, assisting them as they move into permanent self-sufficiency. These supports include housing, mentorship, employment programs, as well as health supports such as a HIV testing. A unique program CFLS offers is its Speakers Bureau, which equips women with public speaking and communications skills, and provides them a platform to speak publicly and educate their communities and lawmakers about issues closest to them, including homelessness and incarceration.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges for social service programs, but CFLS found creative solutions to continue offering their programming. CFLS provides regular programing such as training for interviewing skills and goal setting by Zoom. The I BECAME series is a fishbowl discussion series that shares stories about women’s reentry experiences in a virtual forum. The in-depth interviews with CFLS Speakers Bureau participants, facilitated by CEO Ashley McSwain, provide a space for those in reentry work to hear real stories, and for clients to hear stories that parallel their own experiences, helping build a sense of community virtually. The nextevent is July 23 from 6 to 7 pm EDT.
In addition to its virtual events, CFLS is offering in-person programming safely. For example, on July 30th, CFLS is hosting a sex education and testing event, but doing so safely by limiting entry to allow for social distancing and requiring masks.
Thank you to Community Family Life Services for your ongoing commitment to the community, and for continuing to offer critical programming safely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.