THE FORUM: A Conversation with Families Helping Families

September 30, 2022

Twice a year, Baton Rouge area young professionals come together for a night of networking and wine tasting at Forum 225’s signature fundraiser event, Uncorked. We appreciate the opportunity each time Uncorked rolls around to select an organization for whom a portion of proceeds will be donated, allowing for us to contribute to our community’s resources and ability to serve all residents.  

This fall, we’re proud to donate a portion of event proceeds to Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge, a nonprofit resource center supporting individuals with physical, cognitive, mental, emotional, or behavioral disabilities.

We sat down with Dr. Marilyn Thornton of Families Helping Families for this month’s blog post in anticipation of Uncorked: A Night of Noir, taking place Tuesday, October 25. Tickets are on sale, and we hope to see you there!


What started as a result of legislative action in 1989 to establish community and family support for individuals with development disabilities has turned into an established network of 10 regional resource centers across the state known today as Families Helping Families. The Greater Baton Rouge center covers seven parishes, offering information, resources, and support to enhance the independence, productivity, and integration of those with disabilities into our community.

Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge leads several programs and initiatives for the region, including:

  • Inclusive Education Advocacy that supports families in developing an individualized education/transition plan to help their child to learn in the least restrictive most inclusive environment, ensuring full and valued membership in the community
  • Empowerment Program that focuses on behavioral and mental health issues (specific to Greater Baton Rouge)
  • Early Steps Program that focus on families and parents of children ages zero to three, focusing on resources for early childhood development, care, and education
  • Parents Helping Parents providing peer-to-peer support resources
  • Family 2 Family Health Information Center supporting families of children who have special health care needs to receive information, support, and referral

Having been with the organization for over a year, Dr. Thornton remains steadfast on her goal to bring a renewed focus on the organization’s mission and to reach a broader community in parishes outside of East Baton Rouge while continuing to expand services offered here. Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge is working to achieve inclusion across the board for every area and demographic to access the benefits offered by the organization. 

Interested in Getting Involved?

Of course, we hope you’ll purchase a ticket to Uncorked! A portion of proceeds will benefit Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge and a team member will be at the event to talk to attendees interested in learning more.

Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge has volunteer opportunities:

  • Winter Fund Fest and Toy Drive: November 12, 2022
  • Annual Active for Autism 5k Walk/Run and Fun on Fest: April 22, 2023
  • Fill out the volunteer form

Learn more and get involved here:

FY2022 Stats:

2,066 contacts with families and individuals with disabilities

Provided 3,355 units of information/referrals

65 training events

858 individuals trained

1,200 peer support provided

36 outreach visits

Parishes served: 


East Baton Rouge

East Feliciana


Pointe Coupee

West Baton Rouge

West Feliciana

To register for Uncorked: A Night of Noir, please visit the event webpage.