The concept is simple - connect those who need help with those who can help.
It might begin with a mother who is diagnosed with cancer and a father who leaves his job to help her. They lose the car and the kids begin acting out, said Dr. Beth McMahon, president of Favors Forward.
On average for two to three months, that family receives the help they need, with meals, a cleaning crew, transportation and positive skill building for the children.
"The hardship is mostly felt by kids acting out," McMahon said.
The children are given an opportunity to try something they always wanted to learn, such as gymnastics or music. By learning that skill, it helps reduce the sense of hopelessness, she said.
Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to a range of adverse mental and physical health outcomes through a lifetime, including personal and academic development delays, substances abuse, depression, suicide, cardiovascular disease and premature mortality.
Yet having activity in which one part of a child's life may be controlled, reduces those threats.
"It doesn't matter what activity, as long as they're involved with something routinely, it helps," McMahon said.
After that time is over, the family now may return the favor by helping in whatever way they can.
"We're not handing you anything," McMahon said. "Next month, if I need a cleaning crew, if you're up to it, you're going to be on it."
Mackenzie Benner, of Williamsport, who recently turned 11, received horseback riding lessons from Linda Lee-Bower, owner of Woodridge Farm.
"Favors Forward offered a program because of my husband going on his third deployment," said mother Teianna Benner. "They pay for an activity for the child of the deployed."
Her husband, who left Tuesday, had a chance to see her in her lessons.
To pay it back, Mackenzie and some friends held a yard sale with a lemonade stand. The money raised went to help a family buy school supplies.
Mackenzie also has helped pick up trash in the park for a few hours.
She has been taking the horseback lessons for almost a year and also attended an all-day summer camp for five days.
Horseback riding has always been an interest for Mackenzie. Without Favors Forward, she probably never would have become involved, Teianna said.
Lee-Bower became involved with Favors Forward because she was introduced to McMahon through horses.
"I provide some lessons to some kids going through hardships," Lee-Bower said. "The smiles are what pay me back. It's a very, very worthwhile cause. Beth started this cause to fill a need and I think she has filled it. I am honored to be a part of it."
She will continue to provide the lessons at a discounted rate for the program and hopes to start some programs to provide riding lessons for groups of kids through the organization.
"We try to strengthen services in the community," McMahon said. "There's an epidemic of volunteerism."
Earlier this year, the Favors Forward Foundation received the Community Leadership Award of Merit from the state Public Health Association because of its leadership, contributions and impact on public health.
"It's really the hallmark for public health efforts in Pennsylvania," McMahon said. "What the award has to do with this is just a grassroots effort that engages an entire community to take ownership. I think that's why the foundation received it."
For McMahon, the organization is not one where one person directs others, but is a full community response. It also helps the people who might be embarrassed to ask for help because instead of getting a hand-out, they're helping others, too.
"The Pennsylvania Public Health Association is such a remarkable organization," McMahon said. "It's really a leader for public health efforts. It's quite an honor to be honored by those who do that for a living."
How the organization works is that people are not told what they have to do.
"We won't ask you to read if that's not your interest," McMahon said. "You can knit for Adopt-A-Shelter We try to capitalize on the skill sets and interests."
Before the family receives any help, they must go through a background check and a Megan's Law review. The organization also makes sure that the family is not receiving similar help elsewhere. Instead, it focuses on the families who have slipped through the cracks of other organizations.
The organization targets members of the community who are not receiving ongoing assistance and have experienced sudden and unexpected hardships, such as illness, death, disability or unemployment.
Favors Forward, a non-profit organization established two years ago, is a social network of more than 200 volunteers of all ages and skill sets.
Those skills include mechanics, accountants, cooks, cleaners, home improvement workers, food deliverers and more.
"We facilitate relations that are dying to happen," McMahon said. "Matchmaking."
Some of the volunteers did not receive help in the first place, but just want to provide favors for those who need it.
"If I take care of this person, it'll make the world a better place," McMahon said.
One of those volunteers is Steve Wiser, Lycoming College assistant head football coach.
He has been helping with the organization for a few years now because he and his wife were looking for an opportunity to help people less fortunate than themselves.
He adopted a family from Jersey Shore for Christmas. His football players helped move a family. On Sundays, they deliver food that Wegmans donates. This year he also adopted a child at back-to-school time.
The Adopt a Student Back to School matches the student with a local business, organization, agency or individual willing to provide the child's entire back-to-school needs.
"That's why I'm involved, to see the smile on their faces," Wiser said. "I get more pleasure, and my wife is the same way, I get more pleasure for helping other people than helping yourself. It's more about giving."
In addition to him and his wife, he involves the football players because he believes it is a good way to get them involved in the community.
"They learn to appreciate what others are going through," Wiser said. "The players are good about it. The parents encourage it. They like the idea of the community service It's a great education out of the classroom."
"There's no magic behind what we do," McMahon said. "We saw an opportunity and capitalized on it. They feel that positive addiction of helping others."
To refer clients, people can go on the website favorsforward.org, click the "Clients" link and fill out the attached form. The organization asks that volunteers and organizations complete the initial screening before referring a client to Favors Forward.
To sign up as a volunteer, people may click the "Volunteer" link on the website and fill out the form on the page. The information will be entered into the database. Clients will receive emails according to what service skills are indicated on the form.