Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: St. Vincent and Sarah Fischer Center

12/21/2009

Stars In midst of the chaos of shopping, gift wrapping and cookie baking I invite you to join me on Diva Marketing for a quiet moment to learn about the work of some smaller nonprofits. Throughout December I'll be highlighting stories from nonprofits that light the way for causes that may not be on the front page of the New York Times. It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center Story

Suzanne conti for svsf Story is told by Suzanne Conti who has been involved with the St. Vincent and Sarah Foster Center for many years. 

At one time the St. Vincent and Sarah  Foster Center was a foster home for children with volunteers providing Easter Baskets and Birthday toys.  Through the Center's studies they believed their efforts would be more fruitful if the children stayed with their parents as long as they taught the parents how to provide and parent for a successful family life. 

Tutoring of all forms is on-going and the results are wonderful, but the needs for these young Detroit families are greater than ever.  Sr. Judith would be so grateful to any assistance given to help these children and parents, whether it be crayons for the kids after school programs or warm coats and boots.

Providing education and skill development opportunities for at risk children and families in Detroit which have been devasted with the highest unemployment (38%) and highest levels of high school drop out rates (28%).  This charity is going to the heart of the problem- working to strengthen the family unit to become nurturing productive sources for children.

Svsf center photo of girls The odds say many of the children served in the Brightmoor and surrounding communities of Detroit will end up dropping out of school and going on to lives of poverty. Children's Learning Experience helps children beat those odds. Individual and small group academic support and encouragement a positive, nurturing environment that fosters a love of learning. Strict participation standards that include a high degree of parental involvement. The goal of the Children's Learning Experience is to ensure children are performing at or above grade level, and that goal is being met.

Many in the area are living in poverty, unable to support their families. Lack of education is a major component of the generational poverty that plagues this area. The Adult Learning Experience addresses this. The Adult Learning Experience has been designed around the concept of First Steps and Next Steps. In this program we recognize that getting a high school diploma or completing a GED is the crucial first step and the foundation for self-sufficiency. To help our students take that first step, we provide tutoring in math and language.

But a GED is no longer enough to give adults the ability to support themselves and their families. It is an important first step, but only a first step. That's why the Adult Learning Experience program goes further. Building on the confidence that comes with reaching a hard-won goal, we work with our graduates on Next Steps. Whether that Next Step is enrolling in college, attending a vocational school or getting into an apprenticeship program, we support program participants as they take measured, lasting steps toward self-sufficiency.

Values

The values of founders St. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, continue to guide the expression of the Center's mission.

Simplicity

Honesty, integrity and openness in all of our words and actions

Teamwork

Working together in service to others

Advocacy

Advocating for those with no voice

Inventiveness

Being creative in everything we do

Respect

Showing respect for those we serve and everyone we contact on their behalf

Service Quality

History

The agency traces its beginnings to 1844 when the Daughters of Charity first arrived on the streets of Detroit with only $8.50 in their pockets, with the intentions of opening a school. Within two years, they responded to community need by establishing the St. Vincent Orphan Asylum and a hospital. In 1869, the sisters opened a program to provide for the needs of unwed and/or deserted mothers and their children.

It is this spirit that began the Daughter’s 150 years of service to those in need in Southeastern Michigan. They had no idea that they would be responsible for founding the first hospital in Detroit, Providence Hospital in 1945, the first private psychiatric hospital in Michigan, three schools, an orphanage, and a home for unwed mothers and children in just over two decades.

In 1928, a fire destroyed a summer home located in Farmington Hills that housed children from the old St. Vincent Orphan Asylum in Detroit. Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. and Sarah Fisher of the Fisher Body Family read the news accounts of the fire. Because of their extreme gratitude to the Daughters of Charity and Providence Hospital for saving the life of their fifth son, Thomas Fisher, Charles Fisher took action by donating more than $700,000 to build a new structure at the corner of 12 Mile and Inkster Roads.

The formal opening took place one year after the date of the fire on November 25, 1929. The home reflected contemporary thinking in the institutional care of children. The Center’s Farmington Hills campus remained open as a residential facility for foster children until October 2005. In 2006, the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center brought 150 years of family and child experience to the Brightmoor area and the surrounding community. The statistics for the area are daunting: A 40% poverty rate for children; a nearly 30% drop out rate; and unemployment levels that hover around 36%. Children are at risk, and families are failing under the crushing weight of poverty.

Svsf logo More About St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center

Donation Link

Items desperately needed

Website

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Comments

I was one of the children that lived here from 1955 thru 1957 three years. I would like to know is there ever an alumni day?.Do you hear from other alumni kids. Mybe a book could be put together of the older kids that went here. a way to make money for the new needy.

Posted by: Anita HartleyVan De Steene on Apr 15, 2010 4:47:06 AM

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