Member Agency Spotlight 2020 – Diakon

Diakon Lutheran Social Ministires

In this “Member Agency Spotlight”, we want to acquaint you with some of our member agencies, what services they provide to our community, and ways that you can get involved.

We had a Q&A with Fayrouz Azer, Director of Permanency at Diakon.

What is your name and position at your organization and how long have you worked there?

My name is Fayrouz Azer and I am the Director of Permanency at Diakon where I have been working since July of 2016.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

My bachelor’s degree was in Electrical Engineering but I fell in love working with families when I volunteered with the Jesuit Refugee Service organization (JRS) to work with Refugees in the Sudan. I was then offered a scholarship to get my Master’s degree in counseling from Gwynedd Mercy College.

What does your organization do and what is your mission?

Diakon’s mission and vision is to respond to God’s call to serve the neighbor through acts of service. Diakon has been serving youth and adults for 150 years. Our roots date back to the 1800’s when its founding organizations operated 2 children’s homes for orphans of the Civil War. Over time the care of abandoned, neglected and orphaned youth shifted from residential to community based services and by the 1970’s foster care and adoption were common in this country. Diakon is currently providing in- home services to maintain youth in their original home which goes along with our mission to assure permanency for all youth who come through our various programs, no matter if it a maintaining the youth at home, kinship placement or adoption.

How long have you been in operation in Bucks County?

Diakon’s Intensive In-Home Permanency Program has been operated for the past 24 years with Bucks County Children and Youth. The program was acquired by Diakon when Lutheran Children and Family Services of Eastern Pa. decided to close its children’s division. Diakon Adoption and Foster Care acquired this program in 2016 and have continued the service for families and youth in Bucks County.

What are some programs and services that you offer?

Diakon was formed in 2000 upon the merger of Tressler Lutheran Services and Lutheran Services Northeast. These organizations formed Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries which managed 10 senior living communities and a multitude of human services programs including services for adjudicated youth, behavioral health services, adoption and foster care, and community services such as Meals on Wheels, APPRISE Medicare counseling, and a network of senior centers.

What are some ways that members of the community can get involved with your organization?

-Assisting with transporting our families to medical appointment/therapy sessions

-Tutoring children

-Helping with Thanksgiving meals

-Adopting children for the holidays

Why is being a member agency with The United Way of Bucks County important to your team?

United way has been a great support to our program by offering families access to the Help Center. You also offered us backpacks, toilet papers, furniture, and household items. Also giving teens and tweens gift cards for the holidays has been a huge help.

What are some of your goals for 2021?

Continue to work with families in Bucks county and provide them with all the support they need to ensure the safety of their children and when possible to remain together.

Anything else you’d like to share?  

Thank you so much for all what you do to our community.

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