“At CFR, we hope to make a difference in the community by changing people’s lives, to help them become self-sufficient and to be able to take care of their own families, their own communities without intervention from the government, nonprofits, churches — to able to thrive on their own,” said Barr, who moved to Cobb County in 1973. She began working at the nonprofit in 1984.
The CFR’s roots were emergency services. The organization started in 1960 as Cobb County Emergency Aid Association helping families four times a year. In 2004, the Cobb County Emergency Aid Association changed its name to Cobb Family Resources when it moved from Kennestone Hospital to Wright Street. The name was subsequently changed to Center for Family Resources when it moved to its present location.
Over the years, Barr has seen CFR expand from an emergency aid source to a resource that helps families out of the cycle of poverty.
“You could look at (family) files and see that they were sustaining with help,” the Smyrna resident said. She is married to former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr. They have four grown children and eight grandchildren.
CFR determined that people found themselves in crisis because of lack of affordable housing, child care, transportation and inadequate or no education or job training to get and keep a job.
“As we expanded our services we looked at how we could impact those four things to be able to help the families going forward,” Barr said.
Today, the organization provides an array of other services such as housing for homeless families, employment/education services and community leadership development.
“Over 80 percent of the families that come into our program move out to permanent situations to be able to take care of those. I believe (CFR) is successful because of supportive services, wrap around services and that we really help the family work with all these issues to become self-sufficient,” she said.
CFR makes a difference in the community by empowering families to help themselves.
“I really think we are changing lives, slowly. It is making the difference. We don’t have the ability to track our families over years and years. I only have stories to tell, and they’re pretty important,” she said.
The community is vital to the work of CFR.
“This is a really great community to work in. Cobb County is different. We really do work together, and that’s not necessarily the case in other communities. It’s not just nonprofits working together, but the business community works with us, the education community works with us, the faith-based community works with us,” Barr said.
CFR is located in the Mansour Center at 995 Roswell St., NE, Suite 100, Marietta. For more information, visit thecfr.org or call (770) 428-2601.