Who We Are


Families First opened its doors to children and families in 1986. Abused children were brought here at any time of the day or night. Caring staff and volunteers were ready to heal the hurt.

Families First began with one person's dream to protect children. Firstel, a local corporation, held a contest among employees to design a community project that would develop into a public/private partnership. It was Firstel's way of "paying community rent." Donna Adrain-Falzone wanted to make a difference. She entered the contest with a vision of a haven for abused and neglected children. Donna won... well, really, the children won.

From 1984 - 1986, a lot of work had to be done. Bunny Nicholson, Cassie Spencer, Kittie Arnold, and Donna Mediema were busy developing the program, finding just the right location, getting a board together, applying for non-profit status, hiring staff, and, of course, raising money. Volunteers were eager to become a part of Families First, all because of Donna's dream and the power of one common vision.

Our founders believed that preventing child abuse and neglect was more than a social service problem, it was the community's problem and it required community involvement.

Today, we are proud of the organization that has become Families First, and the many lives we have touched. Every volunteer, staff member, board leader and contributor has left a meaningful mark on the organization, benefiting the parents, children and families that have come through our doors. As we know, home is where the heart is, no matter where the heart lives.