join us in helping struggling families achieve sustainable independence and stability
President: John Ellis
John is married to Stephanie Ellis and they have two married children, Lindsey and Leah. His employer is Georgia Power and his role there is as Financial Comptroller. John and his wife attend First Baptist Church where he is active with the Gideon's Jail Ministry. So what led John to become active with Family Promise?
"Stephanie and I stayed very involved with our children as they grew up in the Tift County School System and we saw many of their classmates who struggled at school because they were struggling at home. Now that we are "empty nesters", we want to be involved with a ministry that can impact lives right here in Tift County. We believe that giving a child a safe, stable home, will give them the opportunity to get a good education and reach their full potential. We also believe that letting them and their families know that someone cares and sees potential in them is an extremely important part of them reaching that potential."
Vice President: Akeria Lockett
"I serve as my church secretary at Dayspring Church, which has committed to Family Promise in being a support congregation. I am actively involved in various organizations in the Tift Area; President of the Tift Co Child Abuse Council, board member with the Tift Co Commission on Children and Youth, volunteer with Society of St. Andrews (project to end hunger) and started a non profit of my own "Pearls of Wisdom", an all girls mentoring group in 2014.
In 2016 I was named one of Tifton's "Top 10 under 40". I am grateful for the opportunities that has been placed upon me "For the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few". I'm blessed to have great family and friends who have played an intricate part in my life as well as through ministry.
Why did I become involved in FP? Because I have a love for people.....ALL people, especially children, we have to be the voice for those whom are hurting the ones that cries go unheard, I am an advocate. We have to live in this world TOGETHER so our job is to strengthen, embrace, be kind and love TOGETHER. The diligence is challenging but I know my work will not be in vain as long as God is first!!!
Treasurer: Libby Robertson
Libby Robertson is married to Donny Robertson and they have two grown children. Libby is a very active member of St. Anne's Episcopal Church, where everyone knows that if you want something done...just give it to Libby! She does most of her church work as part of the Kitchen Ministry. Libby is a 28 year employee for Tifton's The Big Store so you may have seen her there over the years. She is an adoring grandmother to Kayd Asbury and between his sports events, church, work and Family Promise...Libby rarely sits still. In regards to her motivation to support Family Promise Libby says...."I got involved for the children, keeping children with their families and helping that family in a time of transition."
It is not surprising that Libby's favorite Bible verse is Luke 2:22. "Increase in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.".
Secretary: Sandy Donovan
Sandy Donovan holds a master’s degree in Pediatric Nursing. She has a passion for improving the health and welfare of children and their families which has guided her professional and personal activities over the past 40 years. She has an extensive background in health and education having taught nursing at the university level along with children and families through school and public health services. She is currently employed with Tift Regional Health System in Quality Management helping nursing staff improve patient outcomes. She serves in the Tifton community as the Treasurer of the Tift County Commission on Children and Youth and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Tifton Judicial Circuit serving children in foster care, along with teaching 2nd Grade Sunday School in her church. Her connection with Family Promise started when her oldest daughter completed her undergraduate BSW internship with Family Promise/InterFaith Hospitality Network in Johnson City, TN. Tift County has in place services for 4 of the 5 types of homelessness seen within communities. The gap in the Tifton area is for homeless children and family units where a family can remain together until they can get back on their feet. She believes Family Promise fills this gap perfectly and offers not just a hand out but a hand up to keep families together and to minister to the complex needs that occur when a family faces homelessness.
Fund Development Committee Chair: Kenneth Morgan
Recruitment Committee Chair: Thad Paulk
Policy Committee Chair: Nancy Bryan
Nancy Bryan is a member of St. Anne's Episcopal Church and works as the Executive Director of Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House in Tifton. Prior to this job she was the CEO of Big Brother Big Sisters of South Georgia. After obtaining a degree in social work from UGA, Nancy has devoted her career to supporting the well being of children and families. Nancy is married to Tim Bryan, her high school crush! Together they have blended their four children into one family with four adorable grandchildren. Being "Grancy" is one of the biggest joys of her life.
As to why she got involved in the Family Promise of Tift Area movement she says..." I was compelled to be a part of this project to bring Family Promise to Tift Area because of two passions in my life. My work with Ruth's Cottage has shown me the huge need of resources for those who are homeless because of the number of calls we get from women we cannot help because, thankfully, they are NOT domestic violence survivors. In addition to that, I know that it is my commandment from God to be salt and light in the world. To do what I can, when I can, where I am, with all I have....at the time my Father puts a need in my face. He is good about providing those opportunities....and Family Promise is a big one. A way to love one another by providing shelter and resources to guide families to work out their issues and make a new independent start...utilizing church facilities and congregations as one team. That is so beautiful. It is a privilege."
Human Resources/Day Center Committee Chair: Dave Hetzel
Dave Hetzel is married to the lovely Louise Hetzel. They are members of First United Methodist Church, one of the host churches in the Family Promise of Tiftarea. Dave is retired from the United States Air Force and has a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Mechanics from West Virginia University and a Masters of Public Administration with a minor in Criminal Justice. Dave has served as a Tifton City Commissioner and has been a very active member of the community and volunteer for years.
When asked why he is heavily involved with the Family Promise Program, Dave replied. "Tift County does not provide a program that offers facilities that address homeless children and their caregivers. Coordination with Tift County Schools reveals their records show our community averages 55 homeless school children per year. National history shows that these families have also 1 preschool child for each one in school. Consequently our real homeless count is 110, plus their care givers define our real need for a program to provide healing. I want to be a part of providing a time-tested solution using existing resources. Family Promise has been doing that nationally for over 20 years."
Member at Large: Bill Kelley
"I finished growing up in Iowa, graduated at Iowa State Teachers College and taught a little before joining the Air Force when the Viet Nam war was gearing up. Met my future bride (from Oregon) in Germany where she was teaching children of our soldiers. After my last year in service in Tampa, we moved to Atlanta. Was 3 years with Travelers Insurance Company. Then I switched over to be with the American Heart Association for 31 years. I was responsible for recruiting, training and working volunteers in health education, CPR training, blood pressure screenings and of course, the ever present fund raising. I started with 25 counties in SW Georgia, then had DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnet Counties for 4 years and wound up with a large section of South Central Georgia and living here in Tifton.
Our 2 sons grew up here and my wife (Cricket) taught at J. T. Reddick Middle School for 19 years. I have been active in the Tifton First Methodist Church and now also the Oasis Family Church as well as with Gideons International. Cancer took my “Cricket” 8 years ago. I have recently become active helping start a new non-profit called Family Promise. While I was already pretty busy, helping kids and families recover quickly from unexpectedly becoming homeless is too much like Mother Hood and Apple Pie for me to not want to help them. This 501c-3 has been organized for over 30 years, is all over America and their level of organization is equal to any national organization like Heart and Cancer. I want to do “what I can do” while I still can.