Family Support Center
Located in Karosta, Liepaja
The Family Support Center is a community outreach center sharing holistic Christ-centered care with families in Karosta. Parenting and early childhood development classes are offered to young moms, and counseling and mentorship is provided to parents and their children. The goal of the center is to strengthen families by equipping parents and children with the tools to develop healthy attachments and relationships with one another.
The Family Support Center was created as a response to the overwhelming needs of vulnerable families in the Naval port village of Karosta, which means “port of war.” Karosta is an isolated section of Liepāja separated by a canal built as a Naval port for the Russians. When the Russians abandoned the site in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was pillaged by the local population and occupied by families that needed a place to live. It quickly became an area that was plagued by all the challenges of poverty and isolation as the community is separated from more developed parts of society.
Orphan Outreach founded the the Family Support Center in 2018 as a response to the overwhelming struggles faced by children and their families in Karosta. The center addresses the various issues faced by at-risk families including alcoholism, domestic violence, unemployment, unsupervised kids roaming the streets, lack of education and kids who are behind developmentally.
The goal of the center is to strengthen families by equipping parents and children with the tools to develop healthy attachments and relationships with one another in order to protect children from repeating the same cycle. Ministry leaders saw that, while meeting practical needs is important, it is the lack of love, acceptance, sense of direction, and self-worth that children then carry with them into adulthood. That lack results in parents who do not know how to form healthy attachments with their children. The Family Support Center serves as a bridge, helping parents connect with their children, motivating them to improve their own lives, and assisting families to become strong and healthy.
The center focuses on three main areas: early intervention through baby classes for moms and their babies and toddlers up to age 3; individual support for children through Montessori classes and specialized therapies; and lastly case management support for families based on their unique, individual needs. Support for each family looks different and includes counseling, support groups for parents, assistance with navigating social services and the provision of material support such as food supplies, medicine, and school supplies.
Additionally, in 2023 work will begin with teenage boys and young men in the community who are often left on the streets with the temptation to get involved in unhealthy behaviors. There is a significant need to engage in activities that they find interesting and motivate them to productive activity that will be a benefit for them, their families and the community. We are partnering with a local pastor who has a heart to minister to these middle and older teens by building relationships, serving as a mentor for them, doing Bible studies, and teaching them how to stay active and healthy by working out together at a local gym.