FRUA INC is now officially structured as ten FRUA regions covering all fifty states. This gives every single FRUA member family an opportunity to be connectged within their region to a regional community, which offers familes, not just contact with FRUA National communication, but with FRUA regional chapter newsletters, Yahoo groups and regional activity.
Beneath that regional structure, metropolitan areas or localized areas can self-organize into FRUA Parent Organized Districts, or PODs. These local sructures can further localize events and activities, from FRUA parent play groups and age-specific gatherings, to family potlucks and issue-specific educatinal topics; how to approach middle school, how to advocate for your child's IEP, or how to deal with a combination of medical diagnosis.
This information is meant to give you an idea of how to start a POD or simply to organize a FRUA activity. Do not plan to do everything yourself. Just use this as an outline for discussion when meeting with other families in your area.
Begin by contacting your FRUA Regional Chapter contact, so that you know what resources might be availble to you from the region. Follow this link to find the region chair and regional contact information: http://www.frua.org/community/chapter-contacts
Starting a FRUA POD doesn't really need to take all that much time. Each member of your volunteer leadership committee will need to be a current member of FRUA. You need to organize an event (a pot luck supper, play date, etc.) and find out if there is enough interest in your region for a FRUA POD. Your FRUA Regional leadership can help with this by getting a database of FRUA members in your area. You no longer need to field a full board or a treasurer for your area; this will be handled at the regional level.
Pull together a few core volunteers and find out what the needs are within your area; it might be specific educational and medical issues, or it might simply be to connect your children so they meet other kids like themselves -- "adopted from Russia, Ukraine, or other Eastern European and Central Asian countries." The more you learn what you need locally, the better you can adjust your gatherings or events to meet those needs.
Should you not find what you need at the regional level you can also contact our FRUA National Chair, Jan Wondra, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more specific help or questions.
If you need help locating members and other interested individuals in your area, please contact either your FRUA regional chair thorugh the contact link above, or FRUA National at email@example.com for a list of FRUA members in your geographic area. We do not give out member information to non-members, so you need to be a verified FRUA member.
You can get complimentary FRUA materials, newsletters, brochures or membership forms to promote your chapter formation at no cost by contacting Gay Ketterer at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are welcome to include information about your FRUA POD within your region's news published in FRUA's periodic journal, “The Family Focus.” by contacting email@example.com. To include your regional chapter news our your FRUA POD event in the FRUA national activity dircctory, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you have your core volunteers let your FRUA regional chapter chair know. The chapter receives a FRUA dues share for each paid membeship, for use within the region to help underwrite local events.
What the FRUA POD becomes is really up to members. Most areas have found that low-cost, kid-focused events are what most members need. Of course, this will change over time, as children get older and parents face new challenges. Some chapters and PODs have quarterly parent networking meetings or events. These events can be educational or purely social.
FRUA has a very basic mission and we ask chapters to follow it. “FRUA offers families hope, help and community by providing connections, education, resources and advocacy and works to improve the lives of orphaned children"
NON-PROFIT STATUS FOR REGIONS
One other important note is that FRUA's national 501(c)(3) status does not extend to the regional chapters. To be a non-profit corporation, the chapter must apply to the IRS on its own. FRUA PODs will not need, nor should they apply for 501(c)(3) status. If the regional chapter wants to pursue this, FRUA National offers a reimbursement in the amount of $150, to help a regional chapter obtain the 501(c)(3) status.