Johnny Jobseeker is proud to announce the partnership with the Abide Family Center. This amazing organization was co-founded by two determined young ladies with a great vision, Kelsey Nielsen and Megan Parker. The Abide Family Center is helping children in Uganda stay with their biological families. They are passionate about helping families learn to take care of themselves as much as Johnny Jobseeker is passionate about helping you succeed. You will find their bios below:
From the Co-Founder, Kelsey Nielsen, Philadelphia area native, Temple University graduate –
I helped launch Abide Family Center in 2012 at the age of 22 alongside my Co-founder, Megan Parker. At the start of our college careers we had volunteered at an orphanage in Uganda, later working alongside them to help resettle children with their biological families. After finishing our undergraduate studies in Child Development (Megan) and Social Work (Kelsey) we packed up our things, said goodbye to our families and moved to a little town called Bugembe, in Uganda’s Jinja District.
Our vision for Abide was realized during our first few months spent at the orphanage. We began seeing families visit their children. We were confused because we thought that children in orphanages were abandoned and orphaned (and it is true, some are). As we started to ask the right questions, it became apparent that there was not enough being done to prevent family separation or keep children in their families. We came to find that the majority of children growing up in orphanages and children’s homes throughout the world and specifically, in Uganda, are there because of poverty. We came back and poured every ounce of our time, energy and research for the remainder of our undergraduate careers into figuring out a solution to this problem.
We started Abide Family Center to challenge the norm.
In Uganda, there are over 800 orphanages and more than 60,000 children living in these orphanages. The Ugandan government also found that, “85% of children in child care institutions / orphanages have at least one living parent” (Alternative Care, 2012). The majority of children living in orphanages have known family and their families, most likely, have not been offered adequate support to keep their children at home.
There is a clear and understood overuse and misuse of orphanages to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children and their families. The Abide Family Center model offers an alternative to vulnerable families caring for children, providing programs and services that support and strengthen families in crisis. Abide is a first of its kind organization, working alongside of the government and partnering orphanages to streamline appropriate cases for referral to the Center, providing family preservation services where poverty can be addressed and a family can be kept intact.
We are a first of its kind organization.
We have decided to take an approach to addressing poverty and family breakdown that is grounded in empowerment, using hand-ups instead of hand-outs. We help families in crisis start small businesses so that they can become self-sustaining and provide for their children’s needs on their own. We have had many people tell us that we should bring this model to America, as there is so much value in seeing individuals as strong and capable and working to help them make it on their own.
We have a big vision of seeing our center and services replicated in other areas of Uganda and across the world. We will not stop so long as there are families in need of support to stay together. Family is the foundation of our identity and we believe that every child, regardless of where they live, deserves the chance to stay with a family who loves them.