Many clients who seek assistance at our Family Support Centers do so in a crisis and out of desperation. They often feel their lives have spun out of control. Peggy Ray believes her job is to ensure that they leave her office with hope.
Peggy is the Family Support Supervisor for LCS Northwest’s Lake Stevens and Granite Falls Family Support Centers. The two centers serve more than 800 clients annually. Services range from emergency food assistance and help with a job search to finding a safe place to live.
Q1: Tell me about yourself and your role with LCS Northwest.
I connected with LCS Northwest shortly after the Oso mudslide in 2014. As a grief and trauma specialist, I was providing grief support for Oso survivors through FEMA. When FEMA ended its services, LCS Northwest offered me a job to continue providing support to the Oso survivors. My role expanded over time to include other Family Support duties and today I’m the Family Support Supervisor for two of the agency’s centers.
I’m a mother of six kids and grandmother to three, so I know something about surviving crisis and chaos. I’m also a Rotarian and active in my community.
Q2: How does a Family Support Center strengthen the community it serves?
Our Family Support Centers are embedded into the fabric of the community and respond to the needs of the community. As an example, we provide a class in Granite Falls that teaches participants how to cook on a budget making the best use of items you might find in a community food pantry. Providing long-term grief support to Oso survivors though the Arlington Center is another example.
We strengthen communities in many other ways as well. We organize Back to School Fairs that help cash-strapped families properly equip their kids for the school year. We help connect community members with critical services that help them regain control of their lives.
Q3: What makes your service model unique?
I believe we give people a hand up, not a handout. We train and teach people how to overcome the obstacles that they face in their lives. We’re giving them tools that can serve them repeatedly if they need them.
Our strength is our holistic approach to services tailored to the individual. One size doesn’t fit all here. A woman may need help updating her resume and she’s on her way. Someone else might need help paying the rent, developing a personal budget, and finding a better paying job. Yet another parent might need baby supplies, food bank services and parenting classes. Our plan of action is unique to the person and the family.
Q4: Who do you serve and how do clients find you?
We serve anyone in the community who seeks assistance. However, the majority of our clients are economically disadvantaged.
People are frequently referred to us by friends, family, neighbors, and other community organizations. Folks also find us on Facebook or learn about us at community events.
Q5: What motivates you to come to work each day?
My motivation is helping others who want to improve their lives. We cannot change their past but we can help them redefine their future. I am honored to do this job.
Editor’s note: You can watch Oso survivor Tim Ward describe his recovery and healing experience in this video.