Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Housing Affordability

.Many people do not realize that it can be less expensive per month in many cases to own a home than to rent and apartment. And the savings in the long run is enormous. I (Michelle) know from personal experience.
Here is one example  that is from  the Central Maine area at The Kennebec Valley Community Center(KVCAP KV Homes and Housing Service)
"KV HOMES & Housing Services, a Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, provides individual counseling, group education and supports home ownership opportunities in Kennebec and Somerset Counties"
Here is the list of all the Maine Housing Cap programs:http://www.mainehousing.org/DATACapAgencies.aspx?PageCMD=1

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Youth & Family Services

I (Stephanie) found this website that has a variety of different services for individuals, families and children. Nurturing Programs, Therapy (in home and out), Substance Abuse treatment, Youth Shelters, I was amazed at how much they have to offer. They are a Central Maine organization, with their main offices in Skowhegan.

Here is the website. They are very organized, listing criteria, eligibility, online referral forms, and contact information.

Free Diaper Program

Diapers cost at least several $100s of dollars annually per child. There are programs that provide them to families that meet certain financial guidelines.
Here's a national program that provides disposable diapers:


Here is their income guidelines chart:http://communitywide.org/diapers-for-babies.html

There is also a national cloth diaper program.http://www.clothdiaperfoundation.org/
This one sometimes closes applications because of so many applications, they have to rebuild their diaper supply.
Check in in often or signing up for their online newsletter will reveal when their diaper applications are reopen. Their Join Our Mailing List is about halfway down the page on the right.

Families and Children Together

I (Lauren Dicker) found this website www.familiesandchildren.org, a program in Maine that does several different things.
Maine Kids-Kin- A program to help grandparents,aunts and uncles, along with other family members who are stepping in to raise a relative's child.

Treatment Foster Care-provides a safe, supportive and nurturing home for children in the foster care system that face behavioral and emotional struggles in daily living.

Supervised Visitation- provides a nurturing and secure environment
for children in the foster care system, kinship placements or private
court situations to visit with their birth parents or other relatives.

Adoption program- offers pre-placement home studies,
updated home studies, domestic adoptions of infants, and post adoption supports.

Kindred Way- is a unique and intensive group care program
that serves two female residents with developmental disabilities.

They are located right in Bangor.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Local Family Type Programs / Classes in Maine Calendar

Hello visitors! For those that live in here in Maine, there is now a events calendar at the bottom of the page.

To see a vertical list of the programming just click agenda.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Since this free clothing store listing is not yet listed under 211 Information, I will post it here.

Town of Fairfield, Maine

Lamb's Clothing Shop Fairfield First Baptist Church 12 Newhall Street, Fairfield, ME 04937. Tel: 453-0170. Open Thursday 10 am-2 pm. The clothes in this store are of good quality. Some are even new.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Transportation Alternatives

A few years back, I wrote the following article for the Maine Employment Times Transportation alternatives are of importance to many families these days for benefits such as environmental activism and monetary savings.
A note to non Maine visitors,though the links in the article specifically apply to Mainers, at least some of the basic ideas on alternative transportation can apply to anyone in any locale.

Michelle Giroux
Published in Employment Times
December 12th, 2005

Transportation Alternatives for the Daily Commute
By Michelle Giroux

Out of the various elements of employability, transportation ranks high on the list of essentials. Employers understandably expect punctuality and a limited number of call-ins form their employees. However, many workers, especially those with few resources, struggle daily to find affordable and reliable conveyance to and from their place of employment. Even members of the work force that have ready access to a vehicle and no significant financial restraints may still wish to have more control over the fluxuating automotive fuel costs and still arrive at work in a timely manner. Alternative methods of transport generally are not widely advertised, but with a little research, and a whole lot of creativity, successful transportation procedures can be a reality.

Walking and biking or any other human powered transport methods allow commuters to get to work virtually expense free and complete their exercise regime in one fell swoop instead of being reserved as a last resort. Although the practicality of auto-less travel is dependent on daylight hours, temperate weather conditions and solid back ups, it has the potential to fit into a comprehensive transportation plan.

A shared commuting situation such as carpooling can cut down on individual expenses and lengthen the life of participating automobiles by combining resources and sharing burdens such as driving and schedule planning. Probably the most common reservations to this type of option is concern over individual driver responsibilities and reliance on other drivers; concerns about scheduled driver no-shows and subsequent courses of action to follow in the case of such a scenario. Careful planning is vital for a workable carpooling venture and requires close communication between participants, such as early notification of schedule changes and emergencies to allow time for everyone to make other predetermined arrangements. Many carpooling opportunities are posted on community bulletin boards such as at places of employment, colleges and universities as well as at professional commuter service organizations.

Public transportation in Maine including bus, rail, train, and ferry, generally consists of scheduled fixed route pickup services for intercity and even interstate commerce to the general public at a nominal cost, which spare change will probably cover for a one way trip.
While the majority of Maine’s transit systems that offer extensive services in terms of hours of operation are located within the larger cities, it definitely is an option worth looking into in smaller towns as well, as fees may be even lower and can work in conjunction with other services. Taxicabs, the most common type of public transportation for vehicle-less employees proves to be expensive on a regular basis, but for those individuals seeking alternative and affordable types of transportation, taxis stand to serve as one potential backup as part of a comprehensive transport plan.

Professional agency type programs and incentives are offered to commuters in Maine who utilize alternative type transportation services.

GO MAINE Commuter Connections (www.gomaine.org) provides extensive transportation alternative links, as well as offering benefits to registered users such as a carpool match program and an emergency ride home guarantee?, which applies to carpoolers and bus riders as well as walkers and bikers.

Fuel costs continue to be an issue for traditional commuters as well as carpoolers. Gas price comparison Web sites such as MaineGasPrices.com provides current price per gallon for local gas stations throughout Maine so all motorists, including members of the work force, can be as well informed as possible and ultimately have a little more control over transportation expenses.

For further information visit the following Web sites:






Maine Family Networks

I (Lauren) found this website http://www.mainefamilynetworks.com/ is run by parents in Maine. It has links to other web-sites with helpful information and also activities for the kids! I thought it was neat to see this a local run web-site by parents.

Maine Home Visiting

I (Lauren) found this in part of my research http://www.mainefamilies.org/index.html. This website shows where new parents and parents to be can turn to for help. Trained visitors come to there homes and share helpful ways to parent. Then depending on our area it shows you the programs are available to you. It also shows a section with different family activities.

This is a great thing for first time parents, or a single mother doing this for the first time someone who is there to support here and guide her in the right direction

Book Swapping Clubs

This post and its links are intended for book-lovers and scholars  and or book-lovers and scholars you know. Books and high costs do always have to go hand in hand. These type of clubs have book options for members of the whole family.
I, Michelle, have personally used paperbackswap with great results.http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/how_to_swap_books.php  They have  CD and DVD sister sites.
It is a free club. Shipping costs only are incurred when the shipper sends out a book. Receivers pay no shipping costs. For those who don't have any books to swap,book credits can be bought for $3.45. That covers all hard and softcover books including textbooks!

I'll write more about other swapping sites I have found through my search on them.☺
Well, I'm back to post other online book swapping clubs. Please note, that I, Michelle, personally am only a member of paperback swap whom  I have received personal reading as well as text book from.
If anyone has any experience with any book swapping club, please tell us in the comments section right under this post.
Well, here's some online book swapping clubs that exist:



http://bookmooch.com/about/ (there's no credits involved- a certain amount of books must be sent in before trading can begin. Each trade in separate and can be conducted anytime.)


http://www.bookins.com/ (Books and videos are traded according to equal value)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lifeline/ Safelink Cellphone Service

Could you or someone you know use a  no cost cellphone and  talking minutes  each month? Well, for those income eligible, the is a program called Safelink/Lifeline.https://www.safelinkwireless.com/EnrollmentPublic/home.aspx

Note to those that receive Lifeline from a non cellphone. Lifeline is only offered ever as a landline or a wireless(cell phone).
Here is the program's qualifying guidelines. https://www.safelinkwireless.com/EnrollmentPublic/Verify.aspx
 Here's link to state specific questions including what states  offer the program and what states  plan to in the near future. Maine does offer the program.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ask Questions and Get a Hand with Building Projects

Hi. The comments feature is now enacted so that you can send a message our way. To do so, just click on Post a Comment just below the post text.
I f you are in need of a particular service but have not been able to find it, ask us. We will investigate. The thing is , many helpful  free to low cost  programs and services have very little advertisement.  The ones we know of,we will advertise for them!

Do you or others you know need some help with a home fix it project without a costly bill?  Well, there is a growing nationwide program called DaveZillion.com It is an online community where people sign up to help others and to receive some themselves all without money exchanging hands.  Services performed and received can include such projects as fixing a roof, to moving furniture or just to borrow project required tools.
Here is an NBC Nightly News video of this program.http://www.happynews.com/news/982010/website-helps-neighbors-tackle-home-fixes.htm
 If any visitors get involved with giving and or helping in this program we'd love to hear   personal  experiences.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

211 Information

211 Information and Referral Search is a non-profit telephone call line and internet information portal that has coverage in at least parts of 46 states as of August 2010. At least some of the states provide 24 hour a day phone coverage.I called it at 11:15 PM and spoke to a live representative!
By phone, callers call dial 211 to find local contact information on everything under the sun,  sort of speak, in terms of  social service/ nonprofit agencies. In other words, places to get help. Just a very few  examples are info on  local fuel assistance agencies,  low income housing, homeless shelters, food banks ad no cost meal programs  that are sometimes called  called soup kitchens.

211 has a web-page as well. To find needed programs; first, type 211 into the internet search box.211 Call Center Search will show up.Clicking that bring the national 211Information and Referral Search home page.
Here's a step by step account of how my(Michelle) recent search session went like. I typed in the zip-code for  my town  and then a nearby city. There is a search box  for typing in towns and cities as well as clicking on state names.
211 Maine link then came up and I clicked on that. Towards the top of the the Maine 211 page, there's  several categories to choose from,. I chose Find Help and then clicked on  the top choice:Search the 211 Directory.In the search-box, I  typed free clothes. A bunch of search results came up. There is actually a free clothing store in my area that was not listed however.  There is a contact info link at the top of the page.
The info on their program page http://211us.org/  encourages people to send them an email about known available programs that  aren't listed.  I also strongly ask others to do the same so that more people can be helped. I found the email for my state and just  sent one their way.

I also looked for and  found  area heating assistance, ASL interpretive services, an area dental clinic, child care referral. I had to scroll down a bit to find what I wanted for that cause the referral agency is in a larger city and the results for a general search like come up as closest to  the what has been typed in for your city or zip.

There is also a 211 in parts of Canada now:http://www.211canada.ca/


Welcome to That Family Services Friendly Blog which is a project of Lauren, Stephanie, and Michelle.
This site is dedicated to social service, non profit and no cost to very low cost program type listings and links that are especially  of benefit to families, children as well as to  individuals. We will highlight  programs that help families nationwide and abroad in some programs,  make ends meet as well as list some local Maine programs that encourage positive familial relations.