FUSION 502 brings smiles, generous spirit to children at Louisville Family Housing Services

As one of the oldest nonprofits in the region, we are privileged to work with many volunteer groups who return again and again to devote their time and talents to the children and families we serve. FUSION 502 is one of the dedicated community groups that has chosen to support Volunteers of America by volunteering frequently at Louisville Family Housing Services (LFHS), hosting birthday parties, family fun nights and donating gifts for the children staying with us in our shelter. FUSION – which stands for "Friends United in Serving our Neighborhoods" – was created in 2015 by Lisa Hayden, an active volunteer in the Louisville community.

Lisa (pictured at right in sunglasses) had been volunteering at the Family Emergency Shelter (FES) on her own and with her daughter for years, but wanted to start a group to involve her friends and other community members interested in supporting families in need.

"Each year I have a Christmas party at my home, and everyone brings toys, coats and gifts for kids that we can donate to a local charity. We brought tons of gifts to the family shelter that first year, and have continued to donate gifts each year," Lisa said. "That first experience led me to take a tour of the Family Emergency Shelter, and I was hooked. I started volunteering with my daughter in the kids' playroom and we were on the "birthday team" that held monthly birthday parties for the kids at FES."

Once Lisa and her friends established FUSION 502, the group chose our Family Emergency Shelter as the site of their first group project in April 2015. They have continued to bring their enthusiastic and giving spirit to the children and families we serve.

Though FUSION 502 likes to "spread the love" across the Louisville community by volunteering at a variety of organizations, they keep returning to Volunteers of America because of the children we serve, Lisa said.

"Kids just want to be happy and have fun, and there's nothing better or more rewarding than putting a smile on a child's face."

Lisa's experience with the children and families at FES serves as a reminder that many families in our community are at risk of homelessness, often just a paycheck away from being forced out of their home or apartment.

"Ever since my first tour, the shelter has held a special place in my heart," Lisa shared. "The people who are staying at the FES are just regular people who fell on hard times. Most of America lives paycheck to paycheck. One tough break or job loss could leave any of us needing help just like these families."

You can help ensure that Louisville Family Housing Services, which faced severe funding cuts this year, remains open for the 44 children and families we are currently serving by making an end-of-year gift at voamid.org/donate. Your gift does more than supports the families we are serving this holiday season. Your generosity also helps end the cycle of poverty and homelessness in our community.