Monday, April 19, 2004

A friend to families

Making life better

For 125 years, Family Service of the Greater Cincinnati Area has kept a clear focus on a daunting goal: Helping families manage the challenges of daily life.

Those challenges are, in themselves, a social history of Cincinnati.

In 1879, when it was known as Associated Charities, the agency helped families deal with floods and tough economic times and served as a conduit for churches and charitable groups.

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, Associated Charities volunteers organized massive relief efforts, delivering food and supplies with dignity and discretion. A few years later, they helped organize the first Hamilton County Welfare Department.

Beginning in 1880, the agency proved a guiding force in organizing social services in Cincinnati. It was known for its superb training of some of the city's first social workers - called "friendly visitors" - and provided instructors for schools of social work at colleges and universities and a home for social-services interns from across the country.

Today, Family Service helps more than 20,000 Greater Cincinnatians each year. It focuses on offering academic, social and emotional support for children at risk, helping families under stress and supporting any adults who are raising children. The agency operates in offices in Sharonville, Eastgate, Price Hill, Covington and Florence, as well as in local schools, homes and community centers.

For 125 years, Family Service has been one of Greater Cincinnati's most flexible and responsive social services agencies. Few family problems have been beyond its reach or grasp.

Local family advocates say the quality of its service is the reason for Family Service's sterling reputation, relevance and longevity.


This feature appears on Mondays. Is there someone or something you have encountered that makes life better in Greater Cincinnati? Send your suggestions to Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com

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