About Our Chapter
We are currently recruiting volunteers to be Family Coaches and Family Friends. We currently have 127 approved volunteers. We have a team approach to volunteering so that no volunteer feels alone or overwhelmed. We average 3 volunteers matched with each family, so we are in great need of more volunteers! The vetting process includes an application, 3 references, 2 background checks (FBI/NY State fingerprinting, child abuse clearance).
Church partnerships are the foundation of our ministry to serve families in crisis. We have 19 congregations fully committed to be a Safe Families church, and are continually seeking to partner with more churches. Our current churches are from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx. We are praying for church partnerships in all 5 boroughs.
Safe families is a volunteer-driven ministry. Our volunteers do the most significant work of connecting with families in need. We currently have five staff members in two teams:
- Family Support Team (conduct intake with families and provide professional support to volunteers)
- Volunteer Mobilization Team (recruit churches and volunteers and thoroughly screen volunteers).
Emily Cowan, Intake and Family Coach Supervisor
Emily lives in Brooklyn, NY with her quirky, bearded, artist husband and her ninja aspiring 6-year-old. Hospitality, to friend and stranger, has always been central to how they do life. Since marriage, Ben and Emily have intentionally pursued family-like relationships with others; sharing homes, hosting guests and welcoming all at their dinner table. Emily graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a desire to love God and serve people. After a year of youth ministry in England, Emily returned to Chicago to pursue a Master of Social Work where her heart for justice and reconciliation took deep root. Since then, she’s worked with youth and at risk populations in Chicago, Indiana, and Brooklyn. For her, Safe Families for Children is the perfect union of ministry and justice.
Laura Galt, Director
Laura has lived in Brooklyn, NY for 13 years with her husband and 4 children. Her family has temporarily hosted several children from her block when they were in crisis, including respite foster care. These experiences led to her desire to lead a team to start Safe Families in NYC. Laura is passionate about mobilizing communities into the work of prevention and family stabilization.
Jamie Knauss, Church Mobilization Coordinator
Jamie and her husband Rob, moved to Manhattan in 2014 from L.A. where they raised their 4 now-adult children. Jamie is grateful for the opportunity Safe Families provides to draw on her experiences as a pediatrician. She is excited to be part of an endeavor that helps us all better understand God's powerful and inclusive love as we walk with families in NYC who are striving to love and care well for their children but are overwhelmed by hardship, isolation and injustice.
Tia Richards, Church and Volunteer Mobilization Coordinator
Tia was born in Brooklyn, and raised in the suburbs of New Jersey. As an adult, she could not wait to return to NYC to explore her deep passion for community and justice. After working many years in both city and community organizations focused on the empowerment of women and children (Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence, Lutheran Social Services of New York, and CAMBA to name a few), she realized that God was pulling her into more focused areas of equipping His people for the call to action. She’s excited to see how God continues to weave together the seemingly unexpected into what has always been His purpose. Tia loves traveling, baking, Zumba, and meeting new people.
Charisma Ross, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Charisma was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is the wife of Reid, the mother of two toddlers and the daughter of Panamanian immigrants. Despite her love and loyalty to the borough of Brooklyn, Charisma ventured south and attended Davidson College in the beautiful state of North Carolina. During her time at Davidson, Charisma's interest in Child Advocacy began to grow, eventually leading her to Hofstra Law School where she obtained her J.D. as a Dwight L. Greene Memorial Scholar. She hopes to live out pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father which means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
Hilary Yeo, Intake and Community Engagement Coordinator
Hilary is a native New Yorker, thrilled to be back home after many years living in North Carolina, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, where she worked to provide help and hope to children, women, and families facing difficult circumstances. Hilary believes that a safe and loving family is the best environment for human flourishing and that by keeping children safe and helping families stay together, we can help build a great city. Hilary is happily married to her husband Curt, and they are the proud parents of two awesome adult children.