STATEMENT OF MISSION
Family Guidance, Inc. exists to bring hope and a future in Jesus Christ to vulnerable children and families of all cultures throughout western Pennsylvania.
THE HISTORY OF FAMILY GUIDANCE, INC.
Family Guidance, Inc. (originally founded as Youth Guidance, Inc.) has been strengthening families and touching at-risk youth with the love and grace of Jesus Christ since 1964. Youth and family comprise the most vital mission field facing our generation. Family Guidance is called to bring healing to the broken places and to offer at-risk children hope and a future.
Rev. Dr. James M. Leckie founded Youth Guidance, Inc. in 1964 to reach adjudicated youth. He quickly found that he could multiply his impact by equipping others to do what he was doing. This was the birth of Pittsburgh’s first youth mentoring program, the One-to-One Program, which originally worked only with boys and within several years offered girls mentors as well. Dr. Leckie quickly developed one of the region’s best camping programs for at-risk young people.
The camping program was enhanced in 1980 with the acquisition of a beautiful, 40-acre camping site in Beaver County. Then, in response to the need for specialized support to youth and families in Aliquippa Terrace’s public housing, the Club Program was born in 1982. The agency constructed its permanent headquarters in Sewickley in 1984. In these years, the agency began to place a greater emphasis on prevention, working not only with teen-aged “juvenile delinquents”, but more and more with younger children who could be spared heartache and dire consequences with sound guidance and direction at an earlier age.
Having observed the impact whole family systems had on children’s development, Dr. Leckie resigned from Youth Guidance in 1985 to develop a comprehensive, proactive family program. Family Ministries was incorporated in 1987 with the initial goal to more fully meet the needs of men asking for help with their marriages. Family Ministries then added ministries for counseling engaged couples and enriching couples’ marriages. In 1996, it formed the Partnership for Families, a unique consortium of churches committed to strengthening families throughout western Pennsylvania.
Robert L. Jamison became Youth Guidance’s president in 1988, and for 13 years Youth Guidance and Family Ministries operated separately, carrying out their unique missions effectively. Youth Guidance launched the Y.E.S. Program to develop urban after-school programs in the mid ‘90’s, followed by the InnerChange Program, an outreach to mobile home parks in Butler, in 1997. Thousands of youth and families were helped by both organizations. Then, on January 1, 2000, Youth Guidance, Inc., and Family Ministries, Inc., merged to form Family Guidance, Inc. The new agency became western Pennsylvania’s most comprehensive faith-based resource for strengthening families and offering youth hope and a future.
In October 2000, the Manhood Mentoring program was launched to reach high-risk fatherless teenage boys, and DADDs (Dedicated and Devoted Dads), was born in 2001. Dr. Leckie retired on December 31, 2001, and became Founder and Retired Chairman.
In 2004, Family Guidance embarked on a dramatic initiative to expand and improve the quality of the ministry’s camping program. Check out the progress of our Camp Capital Campaign.
In 2005, Family Guidance embarked on a exciting initiative called the Learning and Mentoring Program (LAMP.) In conjunction with the Gang Free Schools Project run by the Pittsburgh Board of Education, Family Guidance is helping to reach and mentor kids who are at risk for Gang-related activity.
In the Fall of 2005, The Marriage Works was introduced. This is a program funded through the Administration for Children and Families which is a partnership between Family Guidance, the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry and the National Fatherhood Initiative. The program provides marriage enrichment, couple mentoring, and fatherhood and parenting classes to couples who reside in the East End of Pittsburgh. This became a springboard for the TWOgether Pittsburgh Initiative, launched the next year.
In the Fall of 2006 TWOgether Pittsburgh was introduced. This is a coalition comprised of Family Guidance, the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry, the National Fatherhood Initiative, the Women’s Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh, Smith Brothers Advertising and project evaluator, Stanley Denton. This initiative, unprecedented in scope in the Pittsburgh area, seeks to partner with 30 local congregations to provide marriage enrichment, pre-marriage preparation, couple-to-couple mentoring, and divorce prevention. TWOgether Pittsburgh will also provide education on marriage and families in high schools and a media campaign regarding the benefits of marriage. The program is funded through a five-year grant from the Administration for Children and Families.