Ser Familia, A Personal Journey that Became a Life Mission
I met Belisa on a hot afternoon. I had 101 questions for her. She was delighted to answer all of them and thanked us for the opportunity to tell her story. When I asked “Why are you doing this? You are not a social worker or psicologist” she said… “I believe the reason why I am on this earth is to do what I am doing. This started as a personal search for some type of support system… When we could not find it, we decided to start it!”
Formerly known as Renovación Conyugal; Ser Familia started as a project led by Belisa Urbina and her husband Miguel Urbina when they were unable to find couple’s support groups for Latinos in their community. They launched a volunteer initiative at their church adjusting a faith based curriculum to the realities of the Latino/Hispanic community in Georgia.
15 years later, Ser Familia is a thriving non-profit with federal, state grants (some of them supporting unique programming) and a healthy and growing chunk of individual and corporate funding.
Ser Familia’s core mission is to assist Hispanic families develop healthy relationships and communication patterns, as well as to develop leadership and life skills empowering participants to thrive and enjoy a healthy family environment. Their programs include:
- “Escuela para Padres” a trademark program based on Dr. Juan Jose Genovard’s books and techniques;
- “Renovación Juvenil” based on a self-developed curriculum proven to be successful and impactful in the lives of hundreds of youth but especially on the 23 families that aside from being graduates of the program, have also become trainers, volunteers and facilitators;
- Triple-P, a parenting intervention with the main goal of increasing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of parents to reduce the prevalence of mental health, emotional, and behavioral problems in children,
- “Strengthening Families” an evidenced based program tried in all 50 states and over 25 countries led by University of Iowa and developed to help families and youth resist peer pressure and risky behaviors.
Some of the supporting services Ser Familia offers include Cultural & Linguistic Competency Workshops that offer CEU credits with several academic organizations. In fact, very few people know but they visit police stations and other law enforcement agencies every month to talk about the realities of our community. They have trained psychologist associations, social workers, etc.
In 2012 the Georgia Latinos against Domestic Violence Taskforce became a program of Ser Familia. While they do run some support groups in areas where there is little presence from other non-profits, their focus is to work with service providers by becoming a resource, they offer clinical counseling for domestic violence survivors. The program has 2 clinical psychologists on staff and are planning to hire one more.
Today Ser Familia serves over 3,000 clients every year with the support of over 20,000 donated hours from volunteers at locations all around the state of Georgia.
They have announced their 4th annual fundraising “Celebrating our Heritage” on September 25th at the Rialto Center for the Arts.
For more information about our programs visit our website www.ser-familia.org