Share the Love this February

We’re Detroit lovers, and when we hear about other organizations and businesses that share our passion for the community, we can’t help but Share the Love!

This month we got to know our friends at Detroit-based Alternatives for Girls, or AFG, and learned more about the powerful and compelling work they do to help at-risk women in the community. AFG Director of Fund Development Anna Weaver gave us the lowdown on the organization’s prevention, shelter and outreach programs.

How does AFG support the community?

Anna: AFG is a southwest Detroit-based nonprofit organization that has helped homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation since 1987. Our goal is to help these women explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, grow strong and make positive choices in their lives. Like Avalon, we find value in encouraging and supporting our members to live and explore life to its fullest potential.

Who qualifies to receive help from AFG?

Anna: Our programs are built to help women of all ages, based on their needs and situation. Our prevention program serves at-risk girls ages 4-21 that are susceptible of gang involvement, abusing drugs or alcohol and school truancy. AFG’s shelter program focuses on helping women between the ages of 15-21 by providing housing, counseling and support to help get them back on the path to success. The outreach program lends resources and information to women of all ages to help them understand the dangers of engaging in high-risk activities.

What is the impact of AFG’s prevention, shelter and community outreach programming?

Anna: AFG assists thousands of women in the community each year, based on resource and spacing availability. Our resource center responds to an average of 1,800 crisis phone calls per year, while the community outreach program connects with more than 2,000 women annually. The prevention program educates between 70 and 80 women per year, while our shelter program provides a safe place to stay for an additional 100 to 125 women and their children.

What helps AFG differentiate from similar outreach organizations?

Anna: While some of the other resource centers and groups in the area offer some of the same shelter and outreach services, our prevention program helps to differentiate us from the pack. We offer academic enrichment services, mentoring and financial benefits to help the girls understand that they are bright and able members of society. We place an importance on education and encourage the girls to seek a higher understanding in their areas of interest by helping them to apply for college, save money and all the other steps along the way. We’ve recently implemented college savings programs, and thanks to our generous community donors, can provide an initial deposit and match student deposits up to $500.

How can the community help support AFG?

Anna: There are multiple ways the community can help support AFG and the women we serve. From monetary and in-kind donations to volunteering with our street outreach and mentoring programs, you can make a difference. And of course, next month we’re partnering with Avalon to host the Share the Love campaign, which will provide customers with three fun ways to donate, including:

  • Eat more cookies – All four Avalon locations will be selling specially labeled sea salt chocolate chip cookie boxes with proceeds benefiting AFG.
  • Donate online – Patrons who make a $25 or more donation online via alternativeforgirls.org will automatically receive an emailed voucher redeemable at any Avalon location for a free loaf of bread.
  • Dine with your sweetheart – Avalon Cafe and Kitchen in Ann Arbor and the original retail shop on Willis Street in Detroit will be donating a portion of all sales to AFG on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Learn more about how you can Share the Love by visiting www.avalonbreads.net.

For more information on AFG’s assistance programs, please visit alternativesforgirls.org.

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