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Committed to Kids: The UMFS Mission

Unwavering Champions for Children & Families

When 5-year-old twins, Trevor and Lucy, along with their older brother Jordan, lay down at night, there are smiles on their faces and a shared feeling of comfort that they haven’t had in a long time.

Life hasn’t been easy for the three siblings who were in foster care until September. Their mother, Isabella, had fallen on hard times. In and out of several jobs and stuck in a few bad habits, Isabella knew she needed to make some changes to make life better for her family, which included two children from a previous relationship.

She made the difficult decision to temporarily put her children in foster care through UMFS, a Virginia-based, social service organization. This connection to UMFS provided many healing opportunities for the children, as well as some necessary bedding items for the kids when they were ready to return home.

“I had worked hard to get everything ready for their return home from foster care, but I didn’t have a mattress, pillows, and other bedding for my kids,” Isabella recalls. “If it wasn’t for UMFS and the Children’s Greatest Needs Fund, I don’t know what I would have done. UMFS was a lifesaver.”

UMFS established the Children’s Greatest Needs Fund as a way to help foster children entering foster care with special or educational needs.

“All too frequently, children in foster care with UMFS have been taken from an unsafe or abusive home and come to us with only the clothes they have on,” said Greg Peters, CEO and president of UMFS. “In these emergency situations, UMFS needs to be able to help the child and immediately provide some basic necessities. In Isabella’s case, we were able to help provide items this family so desperately needed when the children returned home.”

These donations meant Isabella’s children would spend their first night back at home with cozy, warm sheets, a pillow, and a new mattress. The result? A welcoming home environment and a good night’s sleep – something all children need to be successful.

UMFS is a social service nonprofit organization headquartered in Richmond with locations throughout Virginia. For more than a century, UMFS has been an unwavering champion for high-risk kids and their families, doing whatever it takes to help them overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Staff with the organization work to empower kids to overcome trauma, succeed in school, and create lifelong connections. “The UMFS goal,” says Peters, “is to help children and families become self-sufficient members of their communities, and in turn, to create a world in which caring, opportunity, and generosity are passed on from generation to generation.”

The organization also operates Charterhouse School, a place where Virginia’s children with special needs venture safely from their comfort zones and start to get out into the world. The school’s elementary, middle, and high school students benefit from a proven curriculum of instruction in academic and social skills. As a result, the fully accredited school has a proud history of helping students reach graduation or their goals of returning to the public school system.

“We couldn’t be unwavering champions for high-risk children and families without the support of our donors, the passion of our volunteers, and the commitment of our staff,” Peters added. “Together, we are able to make a difference in lives of our community’s most vulnerable families, like Trevor, Lucy, their brother Jordan and their mother Isabella.”


Brian Chandler is president of Commonwealth Public Relations and frequently writes about local healthcare topics. He lives in New Kent with his wife and their two young children.
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