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January 23, 2013
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Family Resource Center offers services to community

The Family Resource Center, which has offered a host of services to community members, is in need of financial support as its four-year grant through Safe Schools, Healthy Students is expiring in June.

“We’ve just applied for a nonprofit status, which would make us more eligible for some grant opportunities, but we’re not in full mode to search for those kinds of things to apply for and looking for help from whoever we can,” said Karen Wallack-Eisen, Grass Valley Family Resource Center. director.

“So we’ve got some work to do to be able to sustain and remain viable for the community.”

The FRC will be having a fundraiser in the spring to help with costs, Wallack-Eisen said.

“We’re looking at means for continuing to be able to provide the services we do,” Wallack-Eisen said. “There’ll be a big fundraiser in April, and we received a beautiful quilt for a raffle from Cathy Stone.”

There are three local family resource centers, one at the Ready Springs school campus, one on the San Juan Ridge and one site at Magnolia School, which is open two half-days per week. The centers offer a host of services to community members, from those who are struggling and in need of assistance, to people wanting to learn more about the community, Wallack-Eisen said.

Guinevere Ewing said she was once a homeless, single parent who received refuge through the services and support offered through the center.

“We started coming here last year when we moved here and we were staying in Hospitality House,” Ewing said. “It’s been the best in helping me learn about Nevada County and what to do and is really kind of that comfort guide when I had questions or concerns or worries.”

Ewing was able to find help with clothing and parenting classes for her special needs son, Jaden, 4, who was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, a condition where spatial awareness and understanding of social cues are challenging, and the body craves extra feedback, she said.

“I’m looking for extra ways to learn to best parent and meet his needs,” Ewing said. “(Grass Valley FRC Director) Karen always has really good answers and personally knows people to connect me with.”

The FRC was able to connect Ewing with an occupational therapist and dance class to help with her son’s condition, a resume to use for reference and also even a mechanic when she was experiencing car trouble.

“They’ve helped with different emergencies,” Ewing said. “Every aspect of what they do has helped me out.”

Ewing attends parenting classes, including Parent Leadership Empowerment Advocates Group.

“We use the phones and computers, and we come here for clothing,” Ewing said. “I even have professional work clothes for interviews.”

The FRC is available with many services for any age range, Wallack-Eisen said.

“We basically serve children, families, individuals, anybody in the community, whether a single mom coming in who’s been left homeless or someone looking for violin lessons for their 10-year-old,” Wallack-Eisen said. “We’re here to find what folks need if they come in the door.”

The center offers multiple resources from computers to parenting classes to a professional clothes closet.

“We help those who come in and are looking for work, we have a computer lab for job searches, we help with resumes, people looking for housing, make referrals to Children’s Behavioral Health for a parent requesting counseling for a child or referral for a mom in a domestic violence situation,” Wallack-Eisen said. “And we have English classes, a clothes closet, a lending library and several tutors.

“We have a senior volunteer program, parenting classes offered by a well qualified Triple P Power of Positive Parenting coach, a monthly circle of security class and family fun nights we offer at different schools.”

Wallack-Eisen said it is important that the center remain open, as it has changed the lives of many community members.

“Almost two and a half years ago, we had a mom who arrived with two very young boys after leaving a domestic violence situation and was destitute and trying to find a place to live and unable to get work from issues in her past,” Wallack-Eisen said.

“And today through coming in here and getting resources, she now has her own business, her boys are both in a great school, she has a great new relationship and house she’s renting and even has a staff member, and she comes in giving us the good news, bringing her boys in, and they give us hugs, and their life is different.

“We can’t take total credit because it was due to her hard work and determination, but we were certainly there when she needed somebody.”

The center also helps struggling youth in need of services, Wallack-Eisen said.

“We got a call from the high school about a senior student living in his truck with a mom who is a substance abuser, so he refused to live with her,” Wallack-Eisen said.

“He needed assistance and came in, and we got him some clothing, found him unofficial foster placement, some food, and got his car towed to the high school so they could work on it at the high school, and we even helped him get an interview at Safeway, and he got the job.”

The center does not just offer services to those in trouble and is open to any member of the community, Wallack-Eisen said.

For those interested in donating or in more information, call 530-273-4059 or visit http://partnersfamilyresourcecenters.com.

“The comment I hear the most is that it’s so welcoming here,” Wallack-Eisen said. “Nobody is judged. We’ve literally had a meth addict out of the park come in and need to sit in here for an hour and a half and get a drink of water. We don’t judge anybody, and that’s a feeling everyone gets when they come in the door, where people are comfortable to share difficult things, and we are here to listen and help.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email jterman@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

“So we’ve got some work to do to be able to sustain and remain viable for the community.”
— Karen Wallack-Eisen,
Grass Valley Family Resource Center director


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The Union Updated Feb 12, 2013 02:39PM Published Jan 25, 2013 11:29PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.