New home for ‘Families First’ program

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 17, 2002

A new location was all it took to revive a program that sees tothe needs of families in Lincoln County.

The Lincoln County Families First Resource Center is reaping thebenefits of the move from Eva Harris School to its new location at511 North Church Street.

“We’re just so happy to be here. It’s a better location, and ithas a little more friendly atmosphere,” said Jason R. Case, programdirector.

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The building, owned by King’s Daughters Medical Center, onceserved as a kidney care facility and a home health care office. Itwas only being used for storage when Case approached the hospitalabout using it.

Originally a house with several large rooms upstairs anddownstairs, it is now used for office space, two respite care roomsand a large resource center.

The respite care rooms are filled with toys, books and games forthe parents and children involved in Department of Human Services(DHS) programs to enjoy while being supervised through a glasswindow.

“They help us out so much with the visitation. They’ve got agreat program,” said Becky Curlin, with DHS social services.

Adjoining the two rooms is the resources center, complete withpamphlets, informational videos and books covering a range oftopics.

“Last year we spent about $20,000 on books and supplies for thelibrary,” said Case.

The resource center is open to the general public and can beused just like a library. Computers are even available for thosewho do not have access to one.

“We tried to think of everything, but if there’s something wemissed, we’ll find it,” said Case.

The center’s top priority is to provide enough information andguidance to people so that they can get their lives in order.

Families First employees try to lessen dependence on DHS byhelping people get off welfare and into the work force. They offerinformation on different ways to find assistance, from low-incomehousing to adult education.

“Basically we help by improving them. We give them theinformation they need to help themselves,” said Case.

Every Monday night, the center offers parenting classes foranyone who wants to learn a few tips on how to be a better rolemodel and guardian.

“It’s not about telling people they’re doing things wrong,rather it’s about teaching them how to parent more effectively,”said Case, adding that the classes usually last about six weeks,and parents can join the classes at any time.

The center hopes to offer teen parenting classes soon in orderto fill the needs of younger parents, who may face differentsituations than more traditional parents.

Parents can also find assistance through the Mommy’s Day Outprogram offered from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. every Tuesday andThursday.

“It’s basically for people who need to get out and get a breakfor a few hours,” said Pat Williams, who oversees the program.”Parents can bring their children here and go shopping, go to thedoctor or do whatever they need to do.”

Appointments are set up by calling the Lincoln County FamiliesFirst Resource Center at 833-1653.

Other programs offered through the center are support groups,school based abstinence programs and after-school tutoring.

“We can even offer CPR and quit smoking classes,” said Case.”Anything that someone wants to know a little more informationabout, we can get a group or class started.”

The center is also looking to start a mentoring program withhigh school students working with elementary children for at leastone hour a week.

The programs is just one ways that show evidence the center isgrowing in its services.

“Within the first month, we probably had as many people overhere as we had at Eva Harris the six months previous,” saidCase.