NORTHFIELD — Torrina Bennett-Michael, chief development officer of Family Service Association, has seen the good her organization can do with her own eyes.

A first-time mom with a 4-year-old daughter was referred to the association’s Parents as Teachers Program.

The mother was feeling overwhelmed and had many stressors in her life, including an open case with the Division of Child Protection & Permanency, formerly known as DYFS, being in treatment for substance abuse and recently having her driver’s license suspended.

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“In the 17 months that she has been involved with the program, she has made many positive changes in her life,” Bennett-Michael said.

The mother’s DCP&P case has been closed. She completed substance abuse treatment, earned her driver’s license back and has enrolled in college. She also has a part-time job and was recently promoted to a managerial position.

“She credits her parent educator with providing positive support as well as assisting her with the resources she needed to realize her goals,” Bennett-Michael said.

This single mom’s story was one of the testimonials that could be found on billboards inside Family Service Association’s first Faces of Hope fundraiser held Wednesday evening at Atlantic City Country Club.

The event was held to raise awareness and funds for children and families facing poverty, homelessness and unemployment, as well as children awaiting adoption.

Two different organizations were given Beacons of Hope awards for their support of the Family Service Association.

Borgata’s Heart and Soul Foundation has donated more than $40,000 over the years.

“We support a lot of charities that fit into our mission,” said Hugh Turner, treasurer of the foundation. “Our mission is to support our community with a focus on families and youth.”

Bob Fatzinger, senior vice president of South Jersey Gas Co., received the award for his organization, which has donated more than $25,000 to the association.

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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