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National Family Month 2023

To our community,

The purpose of National Family Month is to recognize the vital role that families play in our local community, and to encourage families to foster healthy relationships. Families are the essential foundation of our community. They provide parents and children with a sense of belonging, identity, and support. Family relationships are critical for healthy emotional and social development, and they help to shape an individual’s values, beliefs, and behavior.

Moreover, National Family Month aims to promote strong family values and raise awareness of the challenges and issues faced by families today. For instance, some families face financial stress, work-life balance, and conflicts within the family. The month provides an opportunity to address these issues and find ways to overcome them.

A New Leaf knows that many families across the Valley are under unprecedented strain from rising living costs and inflation. Parents are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. Children often go without meals and show up to school without the supplies they need to be successful. We have so much to do as a community to ensure that all families are able to thrive.

Thanks to supporters like you, A New Leaf is able to offer urgently needed assistance to these families. Not only do we provide food and shelter, we are also able to provide the healing and counseling many of these families need to recover from a crisis. Thanks to people like you, A New Leaf will serve nearly 30,000 families this year.

Thank you for helping to serve our neighbors in need. Without your donations of time, money, and support, families across the Valley would be on the streets with nowhere to go. A New Leaf counts on your kindness to make our community a safe place for families.


Tanner Swanson Signature
Staff Member Kristina Gonzales Headshot

Tanner Swanson

Communications Manager

A New Leaf

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See how your contributions helped Emily and her family!

Camilla's Story Blog Photo 1

Emily never thought she would be a single mother, but when her husband left her and two young children, she was shocked to find herself in that situation. She had to do the work of two parents now and financially provide for her entire family. It was terrifying.

“I had a job, but it only paid minimum wage. I needed to do more. I had no idea where to go or who would want to hire me. I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.”
Emily started looking for local programs where she could get a GED and finish her high school education. She knew this would be the first step towards financial stability.
Emily found A New Leaf while searching for programs online and decided to get help with GED courses, financial assistance, and career coaching. She immediately got to work, updated her resume, and found a counselor to assist in her job search.
“Being able to pursue my education again changed my life. Being a parent is hard when you don’t trust yourself to provide your children with what they need. A New Leaf helped me to trust my ability to provide for them.”
Camilla's Story Blog Photo 4
Emily received financial assistance to pay for her GED courses and tests so that she could complete them quickly and apply for a better job. After two months, Emily passed her GED and found a full-time position with benefits and competitive pay. She was finally able to feel financially secure.
“Getting my GED was the first time in a long time I felt good about myself. Then I got a job offer, and that just rocked my world. I never thought I would find a career that paid enough for me to feel secure. Without A New Leaf, I would be struggling paycheck to paycheck. I can’t thank the people that helped me enough. They changed my life forever.”
Emily plans to stay with the company that hired her and has already been promoted. Her children are doing better in school and at home now that they have stability. Emily feels confident that she will never have to worry about providing for her children again.

Why is the Family Unit Important?

A New Leaf understands that the family unit plays a critical role in shaping our identities and providing a sense of belonging. As children, we learn about ourselves and the world around us through our interactions with family members. Our family members provide us with a sense of who we are and where we come from, which helps to shape our self-identity.
Through our family interactions, we learn important values, beliefs, and behaviors. These early experiences can have long-lasting effects on our social, emotional, and cognitive development. For instance, children who grow up in families that value education are more likely to succeed academically, while children who grow up in families that prioritize physical activity are more likely to engage in regular exercise.
In addition to shaping our identities, family also provides us with a sense of belonging. Belonging is a fundamental human need, and it refers to the feeling of being accepted, valued, and connected to others. The family unit is often the first place where we experience a sense of belonging. Family members offer emotional support, encouragement, and companionship, which can help us feel connected and secure.
Moreover, the family unit can provide a sense of continuity and stability. Family traditions, stories, and rituals can help to create a shared sense of history and identity. For instance, family holiday celebrations can help to reinforce family values and create a sense of community. These shared experiences can help us feel connected to our past, present, and future, and create a sense of belonging that extends beyond the immediate family unit.
Strong family relationships have numerous emotional and social benefits for individuals. A supportive and positive family environment can help individuals feel loved, valued, and connected, which can have positive impacts on mental health. Here are some emotional and social benefits of strong family relationships:
  • Emotional support: Strong family relationships provide emotional support to family members during difficult times. Family members can provide a listening ear, empathy, and comfort, which can help individuals cope with stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. Emotional support from family members can also lead to increased feelings of self-worth and confidence.
  • Sense of belonging: Strong family relationships help individuals feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. Family members can provide a safe and nurturing environment where individuals can be themselves and feel valued. This sense of belonging can lead to increased happiness and overall life satisfaction.
  • Communication skills: Strong family relationships promote healthy communication skills. Family members learn to express their thoughts and feelings in a respectful and constructive manner. These communication skills can be useful in other relationships, such as friendships and romantic partnerships.
  • Social support: Strong family relationships provide social support to individuals. Family members can help individuals navigate social situations and provide social connections that may be helpful in various aspects of life, such as finding a job or pursuing a hobby.
  • Reduced stress: Strong family relationships can help reduce stress levels. Family members can provide emotional and practical support during times of stress, which can help individuals manage stress more effectively. Family members can also provide a sense of security and stability, which can help reduce stress levels over time.
The significance of National Family Month extends beyond individual families. Strong family relationships can have positive ripple effects on society as a whole. Families can help to create strong communities, reduce social isolation, and improve mental and physical health outcomes. National Family Month is a reminder of the important role that families play in shaping individuals and society.
During this month, various organizations and communities across the country organize events, workshops, and activities that promote family bonding and togetherness. The goal of National Family Month is to raise awareness about the importance of strong, supportive families and to promote policies and programs that can help families thrive.

Challenges American Families Face

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Family life in the USA can be challenging due to a variety of factors, including financial stress, work-life balance, and conflicts within families.

Income inequality: In 2020, the median household income in the United States was $67,521, but this varies greatly depending on factors such as race and location. For example, the median household income for white families was $76,057, compared to $56,113 for Black families, and $62,598 for Hispanic families.

Childcare costs: According to a new Brookings Institution analysis of data from the U.S. Agriculture Department, it will cost, on average, about $17,000 a year, to raise a child. This can be a significant burden on families, especially those with lower incomes.

Healthcare costs: The cost of healthcare in the United States is a significant burden for many families. In 2020, the average annual cost of employer-sponsored health insurance for a family was $21,342.

Lack of paid leave: The United States is one of the few developed countries that does not guarantee paid leave for new parents. Regarding paid family leave, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that only about 1 in 4 employees (24%) in the private sector workforce have access to paid family leave.

Poverty: In 2019, 34 million Americans, or 10.5% of the population, lived in poverty. Poverty can lead to a lack of access to basic necessities like food and housing, which can have a significant impact on families.

Work-life balance: Balancing work and family life can be difficult for many Americans. Long work hours and the pressure to be constantly connected through technology can make it challenging for individuals to find time for their families and personal interests.

Conflicts within families: Family conflicts can arise for various reasons, such as disagreements over values, parenting styles, and finances. These conflicts can cause tension and emotional stress within families, as well as lead to estrangement and breakdown of relationships.

Parenting challenges: Raising children can be challenging for parents in the USA. Parents may face pressure to provide their children with the best education, extracurricular activities, and other opportunities, which can lead to stress and financial strain. Additionally, parenting styles and approaches may differ between parents, leading to disagreements and conflicts.

Aging parents: Many Americans are faced with the challenge of caring for aging parents. This can include managing medical care, financial decisions, and navigating complex legal and logistical issues.

Mental health: Many families struggle with mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or addiction. These issues can have a profound impact on family dynamics and relationships.

Divorce and separation: Divorce and separation can be extremely difficult for families, particularly for children. It can lead to emotional and financial stress, and can be a major disruption to family life.

It is important to acknowledge and address these ongoing challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, and to continue advocating for equality and inclusion in all areas of life.

What You Can Do to Help a Family in Need

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While there are many local resources that families can access to find a helping hand, it takes a village. That is why you have the power and the potential to make a significant change in a family’s life by showing your support in their time of need. Here are some ways you can help:
  • Offer emotional support: One of the most important ways to help a struggling family member is to offer emotional support. This can include listening without judgment, offering encouragement and validation, and simply being there for them when they need someone to talk to.


  • Provide practical assistance: If your family member is struggling with financial or practical issues, you can offer assistance by helping them with tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking meals, or providing transportation.


  • Help them access resources: There are many resources available to help families who are struggling, such as food banks, housing assistance programs, and mental health services. You can help your family member access these resources by doing research, making phone calls, or accompanying them to appointments.


  • Offer financial assistance: If you are able to, you can offer financial assistance to your family member in the form of a loan or gift. However, it’s important to set clear expectations and boundaries around the assistance to avoid causing resentment or dependency.


  • Encourage them to seek professional help: If your family member is struggling with mental health or addiction issues, it may be important for them to seek professional help. You can encourage them to seek therapy, counseling, or support groups, and offer to help them find a provider or make appointments.

A New Leaf’s Family Resources

A New Leaf’s many resources serve families in need all over the valley and tackle many problems that affect the family unit such as domestic violence, homelessness, mental wellness, foster care, education, and financial stress. Family-specific resources provided by A New Leaf include:

Family Connections: Offers services that promote household stability, parental assistance and guaranteed support in family unification.

Supervised Visitation Only: Provides visitation for families whose children are placed in the legal custody of the Department of Child Safety.

Parents and Children Teaming Together: Provides in-home rehabilitative services for families with challenging needs.

Nurturing Parenting Program: Offers short-term services to improve the parenting abilities of families through in-home and community-based support. 

Local Resources for Families in Need

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Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS): AHCCCS is Arizona’s Medicaid program that provides health care coverage to low-income individuals and families. Eligibility requirements vary depending on income, family size, and other factors.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP, also known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides assistance to low-income families to purchase food. Eligibility is based on income and household size.

Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES): The DES provides a variety of services to low-income families, including cash assistance, child care assistance, and employment services.

Arizona Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP provides assistance to low-income families to help pay for home heating and cooling expenses.

Community Action Agencies: Community Action Agencies are non-profit organizations that provide a variety of services to low-income families, including emergency assistance, food assistance, and housing assistance.

Arizona Food Banks: There are several food banks located throughout Arizona that provide free food to low-income families.

Arizona Housing Coalition: This organization provides resources and assistance to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.

Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH): Offers various programs to assist low-income families with housing. The programs include rental assistance, housing rehabilitation, and homebuyer assistance. Eligible families can apply for these programs online or in person at their local ADOH office.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): A federal program that helps low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. In Arizona, the program is administered by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). Eligible families can apply for LIHEAP benefits online or in person at their local DES office.

The Arizona Family College Savings Plan: A state-sponsored college savings plan that helps families save for future education expenses. The plan offers tax benefits and investment options. Eligible families can enroll in the plan online or through a financial advisor.


How Families Can Celebrate

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National Family Month is a time to celebrate and strengthen family bonds. A New Leaf encourages you to set aside time this month to cherish and show love for your family. Here are some suggestions for how families can celebrate this special month:

Have a family game night

Gather the family for a night of board games, card games, or video games. This is a fun way to spend quality time together and build family bonds.

Take a family trip

Plan a family trip to a nearby destination or take a road trip. This is a great way to create new memories and strengthen family relationships.

Volunteer together

Find a local volunteer opportunity and get the whole family involved. This can be a rewarding experience that teaches children the importance of giving back to the community.

Cook a family meal

Choose a recipe that the whole family can make together and have a fun cooking night. This is a great way to bond over a shared activity and enjoy a delicious meal together.

Have a family movie night

Pick a movie that the whole family can enjoy and have a movie night complete with popcorn and snacks. This is a fun way to relax and spend time together.

Get active together

Plan a family hike, bike ride, or outdoor activity. This is a great way to get exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and bond as a family.

Create a family tradition

Start a new family tradition that the family can enjoy every year. This could be anything from a family game tournament to a special holiday celebration.


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