|Bristol Ribbon Cutting|
Family Promise of Bristol, marks our 8th Affiliate in Tennessee as well as our 2nd in Virginia. Bristol’s main thoroughfare, State Street, is also the state line, and one can jaywalk from the Volunteer State to the Commonwealth and back. While hosts are in both states, the Day Center is in Virginia, which makes it officially a Virginia Affiliate.
Efforts began when the United Way Director for Bristol TN, Lisa Cofer, along with the mayor, Margaret Feierabend, started exploring whether the model in nearby Kingsport and Johnson City could apply to Bristol; the three communities consider themselves the Tri-Cities. Meeting with the two neighboring Affiliates, they determined they could develop the program in Bristol and with the schools reporting more than 100 homeless children, it was very much needed.
The community meeting took place two years ago, almost to the date, at First Presbyterian in Bristol TN. The group went diligently to work and have arrived today with nearly their entire budget in hand, ten host congregations (two more are in process, just not official yet), a diverse, competent and committed board and a talented director in Sharon O’Keefe-Hicks. Sharon has extensive experience in community social services, mental health, and has served on the local human rights board; she was trained by Brian Rosecrance. Redeemer Lutheran in Bristol VA is providing a house for the Day Center. A donor gifted them with a brand new 15 passenger van.