More than 200 walkers are expected to participate as Family Promise of South Sarasota County hosts its 2018 Dream Walk, set for Saturday, Nov. 10 in downtown Venice. Activities will begin at 9 a.m. at Venice Presbyterian Church, 825 The Rialto on the island in Venice.

Participants can choose either a four-mile or a two-mile route. The event is the annual fundraiser for Family Promise of South Sarasota County, which helps families with young children who are suddenly homeless. The organization works to re-establish stable housing and help family members gain the skills needed to maintain long-term independence. Since its inception in late 2015, Family Promise SSC has served over 170 people in 51 families with 99 minor children.

This approach is also a proven model across the country with independent Family Promise affiliates in over 200 communities serving more than 50,000 people annually, with a 75 percent success rate.

“Every child deserves stable housing and that’s why we’re here serving families and why we’re hosting this event,” said Jennifer Fagenbaum, Family Promise executive director. “There are over 400 homeless children in the South County area. We are helping these kids and their parents who need housing – over 85 percent of those in our Bridge Housing program have re-established a stable home. This event will allow Family Promise to shelter more families that may be living in cars or even outside, while we help them redirect their lives and get resettled into a safe home.”

Family Promise exists due to a unique collaboration with 20 host and support congregations in South County who provide overnight housing, meals with volunteer staffing until these families can find stable housing. Crucial follow-up case management is provided for those who ‘graduate’ to help families continue to improve budgeting and problem-solving skills to help ensure they navigate effectively to maintain housing stability.

Last year, with close to 800 donors supporting 175 walkers, Family Promise exceeded its goal by 40 percent. The goal this year is $60,000 and officials hope to raise even more. Organizers are seeking event sponsors and walkers to partner with. The title sponsor — for the second year — is Pinkerton Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network in Venice.

“We are proud to serve as major sponsor for this event. The Family Promise organization provides our community with a common-sense approach to the very real problem of families becoming homeless,” Pinkerton Managing Director Scott Pinkerton said. “Homelessness to independence is a worthy goal and Family Promise is very successful at it here in Venice.”

Businesses interested in sponsoring this annual event and those interested in forming teams of walkers or donating should send an email to info@familypromisessc.org, call 941-497-9881 or visit the Dream Walk page at FamilyPromiseSSC.org.

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