Listen Up!

TFS is working hard to get our message out.  After 75 years, you’d think everyone would know us.  In fact, they should be tired of hearing about us.  But that is just not so….

SO….  We are working to STOP BEING SO SILENT….  It’s time to let everyone know what we do, how we do it, where we do it, and when…

Here’s a small example of why we need to stop being so silent…  This video contains a small sample of the programs, people, and outcomes that make us want to blow our own horn until everyone knows that TFS is BUILDING A STRONGER COMMUNITY BY STRENGTHENING THE FAMILY!




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Empowerment Zone!

At TFS, we seek to understand and render services in a comprehensive, whole way.  It is in this spirit that we present the Empowerment Zone.

Rarely is a testimonial given about rebuilding financial stability without the presence of feelings of shame, remorse, anger, frustration, or other negative feelings.  When dealing with creditors or having to retrain well-ingrained patterns, rebuilding stability can seem impossible, if not daunting.  The good news that TFS’ Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) department wants to share is simple:  You are not alone.  You can do this.  We will help.

I can speak to this struggle personally.  At one point, while living on the thinnest shoestring possible, I resorted to using my credit cards.  Before long, it seemed that the mountain of debt had become insurmountable.  I felt so ashamed that I had made the decision to use my cards.  I felt angry that I had to use them to keep gas in my car so I could get to the job that didn’t pay the bills I was incurring.  I felt like everyone assumed that if I had credit card debt, it was the result of too many Coach bags or Jimmy Choos.  I had none of that to show for my debt.  I just had the anxiety that came from seeing a 1-800 number show up on caller ID, knowing that the funds to make the situation right were still not available to me, no matter how much I worked.

The day I picked up the phone to approach my creditors was terrifying.  I felt unprepared and inadequate to the task.  The days, however, that followed as I worked a plan were empowering.  I negotiated down some of the balances I owed and did research on my rights, making sure I was taking advantage of the protections I didn’t even know I was entitled to.

To have a support system as you go through this scenario is invaluable.  To have professionals who can help you navigate the dangerous passages, as well as guide you toward the areas of repose is an advantage not afforded to everyone.  Most of all, however, to have your empowerment returned to you so that you can be you without the anxiety and fear and shame and self doubt (or whatever your emotional preference is) is a benefit beyond measure.

Our professionals in CCCS are able to help.  They’ve created the Empowerment Zone for just such an occasion.  Come, get information, get empowerment, and get on with the life you should be living!

Empowerment Zone
Blue Ridge Location
2:30 – 4:00 pm, Wednesday, March 13, 2013
919.821.1170 for more details

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Tuesday with Triangle: Where have we been???

Athens High School Band enjoying breakfast after helping us all wake up at the Wake Up with TFS breakfast!

TFS staff members Julie Sager, Nellie Tillman, and Meg Stradling at Wake Up with TFS breakfast

Clients speak at the Wake Up with TFS 2nd Annual Breakfast

TFS staff, board members and supporters with the proclamation.

The Mayor of Raleigh, Nancy McFarlane, presents a proclamation to Clymer Cease (TFS Board Chair) and Alice Lutz (TFS CEO) declaring Triangle Family Services Day in recognition of our 75th anniversary.

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Tuesdays with Triangle: A Slice of Peach Pie

You should see my calendar this week.  The busy sections are peach colored (Outlook picked the color, not me) and the open slots are white.  There is so much peach I could make a pie, except there are no white slots in whichto eat it. This morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. to return emails and get a jump on the day.  I even left a message for someone who is interested in volunteering, not thinking that when she got in this morning at 9:00 a.m. she would wonder why I returned her call at 5:30 a.m. I thought to myself, “oh no, blog day.”  Then I realized that my schedule this week is the best blog topic of all.  If you examine my calendar this week there is a slice of everything that makes TFS important to the community.  To stick with the pie motif, here are some slices:

  • Meetings with community leaders:    I started the week by helping Alice Lutzorient our new Advisory and Board members.  They are an inquisitive and intelligent group. We are so lucky to have them engaged with our agency and in our community.  Joining our Board of Directors are Beacham Wray, Ian MacGregor, Karen Ryden, Robin Gallant, Jennifer Fair, and Eric Braun.  New to our Advisory Board are Beverly Murray, Ed Paradise, and John McKinney.  Later this week I have meetings with our Mental Health Advisory Committee and our Family Safety Advisory Committee.
  • Interns:  As I said in the blog last week, we have nine new interns.  They are amazing, energetic, talented, and ready to dive right in!  I get to meet with them twice this week and these meetings are the highlight of my days!  We are still working on everyone’s schedule in an effort to accommodate their classes and other commitments. We are really close to getting it just right!  These nine interns will contribute $164,250.00 worth of services to the agency and the community over the next 9 months.
  • Events: This week is full of preparation for upcoming events and there is even a WONDERFUL fundraiser this week!
    • Diamonds Direct Fundraiser: This week only, 10% of the proceeds go to one of three charities and we are on the list!  It is never too early to get your loved one a holiday gift!  Head over to Diamonds Direct located at Crabtree Valley Mall this Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday and tell them you want your donation to go to TFS!
    • Wake Up with TFS breakfast: I am also helping the staff gear up for our Wake Up with TFS breakfast, which will be on Thursday, Sept 6 at 7:30 a.m.  I have been recruiting the staff volunteers who will be there “working the crowd” and answering questions.  If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, go to our website RIGHT NOW before we sell out!
    • Finally, our staff is participating in an agency fair at the United Way kick-off event on Wednesday, Sept. 12th and I am scheduling interns and staff to participate!

With all of these exciting things going on, I may have to wait a little longer to eat that delicious piece of pie.

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Welcome! Fall 2012 Interns

Tuesdays with Triangle! –Welcome to the Fall 2012 Interns

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting with TFS’ new interns for the fall. Getting everything together was a bit chaotic, but everything went smoothly. The air was filled with nervous excitement as we prepared for the interns. It is always a fund day for us –it is like show-and-tell around here. We each get to talk about the things we love doing (our jobs).

During the introductions, we were able to learn a thing or two about the interns.

Christian Charette, LMFT Intern, Capella University

  • Studying Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Spent 15 years in Christian Ministry
  • Goal is to work in couples therapy

Hayden Dawes, MSW Intern, NCSU

  • Undergraduate degree in Music/Voice
  • Loves connecting with people
  • Previous work in sales

Cathy Donohue, MSW Intern, NCSU

  • Undergraduate degree in Education, Minored in Adolescent & Child Psychology
  • Former Military Police Officer
  • Enjoys working with people

Nick Isganitis, MSW Intern, NCSU

  • From Rochester, NY
  • Experience working with children with Autism
  • Interned with Big Brother/Big Sister last year

Carrie Mitchell, MSW Intern, UNCH-CH

  • Interned at Butner last year
  • Experience with vocational rehabilitation & testing
  • Enjoys working with the elderly

Jen Sherman, MSW Intern, NCSU

  • Undergraduate degree in Dance
  • Previously taught Art at a Magnet school
  • Goal is to work with foster care & adoption

Krista Zak, MSW Intern, NCSU

  • Undergraduate degree in Psychology & Communication
  • Works part-time at a psychologist’s office as an office manager
  • Interested in family therapy, child therapy, & co-parenting

Brigitte Vernon, MSW Intern, NCSU

  • Undergraduate degree in Psychology with a Child Development  concentration
  • Experience with conflict resolution
  • Previously worked as a Teaching Assistant with 4th graders

This is just a quick preview of our interns. More interesting facts and photos to come!

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Wake Up with TFS!

September 6th, 2012

Any of you who have spoken to Alice Lutz, our CEO, in the last 6 months have probably already heard our new agency mantra… we have been quietly helping families in crisis for 75 years and it is time to make some noise. This theme of “helping out loud” and serving as a “voice for the Triangle” will be obvious when you attend Wake Up with TFS, our annual breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 6 in the PNC Arena. This breakfast is held as a way to bring community members together and to recognize the leaders who have served on our Board of Directors, Advisory Board and a host of other committees over the last year. But we will also be celebrating this year and making a lot of noise. We have an amazing staff who tirelessly help our clients day in and day out. We have clients who work hard to improve their lives and want to inspire others to do the same. It’s only an hour and a half of your time and you really don’t want to miss it. Walking in the door last year it looked like a Who’s Who for Raleigh when you glanced around the tables. The food is excellent, the program is brief, the conversation is stimulating and it is just a great way to spend a Thursday morning.

The good news is Alice shot down all of my ideas about how to make noise. Unfortunately there won’t be any noise makers, staff cheers, or bullhorns. But there will be an opportunity to hear about the things an amazingly talented staff are doing to help your friends and neighbors in our community!

So go right now to our website and buy your tickets. Take some friends from your office. Head over with your spouse before you each start your days. See you there!

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Tuesdays with Triangle: Julie Sager

Julie Sager

Today I would like to introduce you to Julie Sager.  She is the Director
of the Financial Stability Division, which includes the Emergency Housing
Program and Consumer Credit Counseling Program.  Julie is a disabled
veteran who used her VA benefits to get a degree in Social Work from NC
State.  Her first contact with Triangle Family Services was as an intern
and we never let her go!

When asked about her most memorable experience at TFS, she discusses the
Homelessness Prevention Rapid Rehousing stimulus money for the emergency
housing program that came through in 2009.  “This money allowed us to
help clients on a much deeper level than we had been able to do
before.”  Even during challenging financial times, Julie keeps
frustration at bay by focusing on “the good that comes from the efforts
and mission of the organization.”  She points to the example of her
staff launching a financial literacy program for youth despite the tight
funding issues.

Julie considers her biggest achievement as working with and advocating for
clients who are in need.  Her involvement in community initiatives aimed
at helping the homeless are a point of professional and personal pride.
“This year I was able to participate in the National 100K Homes
Project.  I went into the homeless community with interns and staff to
help interview and get accurate medical information from the homeless
population in Wake County.  This information is used to prioritize housing
so that the people most likely to die on the streets get housed first.”
She is actively involved in our partnership with United Way and serves on the
Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness.

Julie’s typical workday can last up to 11 hours and includes reporting and
invoicing, dealing with upset clients, supervising staff around client
services, managing the facility and attending all levels of meetings around her
two programs.  Julie and I frequently laugh while comparing the glamorous
tasks we each get to do as agency leaders… plunging the toilets, picking up trash
in the parking lot, disposing of bugs, etc.  How does she have time for
her family with such a hectic work schedule?  She has a great strategy for
incorporating her family into her day, “I bring them with me to events and
sometimes make them help with office work.”

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