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Agape Child & Family Services Celebrates 50 Years of Providing Needs to Memphis Families

Story Highlights
  • COVID-19 has impacted Agape’s families greatly making funding for essential items such as food, childcare, cleaning supplies, medicine, etc. more important now than ever. Contributions of any size are always welcome, but for those who need guidance, know that as little as $50 will provide enough infant formula, disinfectant, and cleaning supplies for a week and $1,000 will supply a family with groceries, household supplies and medicine for one month.
  • Agape has collaborated with other partner agencies and utilized a range of evidence-based practices to take a multigenerational approach to serving the entire family.

Agape means “love,” however, love is just one of the many resources Agape Child & Family Services has been providing the Memphis community for the past 50 years. Founded in 1970 with a mission to be a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to providing children and families with healthy homes, Agape initially focused exclusively on adoption services for children in foster care and families in the child welfare system. Twenty-five years ago, Agape decided to implement a place-based strategy within the communities they serve, in order to reach families before they enter into the child welfare system. These communities are Frayser, Whitehaven and Hickory Hill. And, it all starts with Agape asking families a simple question: “What do you need?”

Agape Child & Family Services President & CEO, David Jordan

“Instead of assuming what families need, we said families know what they need. They know where they are at, and they know what life is like. They can tell us what’s going on, they can tell us their strengths and say, ‘here is the thing standing in the way of us being successful.’ So, we began what’s called a place-based strategy. Go to the place where people live, walk alongside and the first thing you do is ask: ‘What’s working well and what’s standing in the way of you being successful?’” remarks Agape Child & Family Services President & CEO, David Jordan.

Through pouring love into the community and lending a listening ear, Agape’s staff have learned the top five things standing in the way of familial success include:
1) Lack of safety in the community
2) A need for educational assistance, particularly for children
3) Lack of employment
4) Home instability and
5) A lack of hope for today and tomorrow.

To combat these barriers to success Agape has collaborated with other partner agencies and utilized a range of evidence-based practices to take a multigenerational approach to serving the entire family. “A whole-family focus gives the family the best chance at success. I could serve a child as a mentor going to their school and that’s very good. Nothing wrong with it, but also mom, dad, aunt, and uncle may have needs around employment. There may be housing needs, there may be a younger child in that home with early childhood needs, there could be transportation needs. So, if you are not addressing the whole family, while these singular efforts are very important, you probably will not have as much success” explains Jordan.

Agape Child & Family Services Staff

Staff, also known as Connectors, are charged with linking families to the collaborating organizations, which number more than 100, that partner with Agape and provide wrap around services that align most with each family’s needs. COVID-19 has impacted Agape’s families greatly making funding for essential items such as food, childcare, cleaning supplies, medicine, etc. more important now than ever. Contributions of any size are always welcome, but for those who need guidance, know that as little as $50 will provide enough infant formula, disinfectant, and cleaning supplies for a week and $1,000 will supply a family with groceries, household supplies and medicine for one month.

To support Agape financially during this time, you can donate online at https://agapemeanslove.org/donate/ or by texting agape2020 to 41444. Additionally, critical items such as baby formula, distilled water, disinfectant, and sanitary items can be shipped directly to Agape’s office at 3160 Directors Row, Memphis, TN 38131.

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