MADISONVILLE, KY (11/27/12) — As the winter months approach, the need for a good, heavy coat becomes of increasing importance for children. The economy doesn’t freely support very many trips to the doctor when a child gets a cold or flu virus that won’t go away because they don’t have a good coat to wear. As much as residents do to support fundraising efforts for a variety of needs in Hopkins County, one that school officials say is still in dire need of community support is the Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC) at our area schools.
FRYSC departments in the schools work primarily to “… break down the barriers between school and home,” as stated by Patricia Snodgrass, who works at Browning Springs Middle School FRYSC. The FRYSC assists students in academic tutoring and testing and prepares them for high school, college, and school to work programs. They are not funded through the Board of Education for salary, benefits, or anything considered extra such as clothing or supplies. It is expected that the students’ parents provide these things for their children; however, unfortunately, what is expected is not always the rule. Parents aren’t always able to provide for their children’s needs, and the schools’ FRYSC departments are trying to step in and fill that void so that the children are more focused and “school ready.”
Snodgrass illustrated the importance of the student feeling secure in having their basic needs met before they ever walk in the front door to the school. “Test scores are important. Grades are important. Moving on and up through the school years successfully is important for students, but if Johnny doesn’t have anything to eat at home, he comes to school hungry, and if he doesn’t have a coat, he stays cold, and he’s going to feel insecure and unfocused and can’t learn in class.” She continued, “They have to feel good about their self-esteem, and their basic needs have to be met so they care about all the other stuff. If they’re to grow into successful adults, then they won’t need services like these for their own children in the future. Our goal is to show them that we care and provide for them and stop the cycle that leads to poverty. If you show them that you care, maybe they’ll start caring about themselves.”
Snodgrass went on to reiterate the current need for resources for students whose parents can’t afford to provide for them. “We’re sending food home with students on weekends because they tell us they don’t have things to eat at home. We’ve had people asking for help this year who have never asked for anything before due to the poor shape of the economy. We don’t have enough funds or resources ourselves to meet the need of the number of students who are doing without. Support from the community is becoming a vital need for us as well. People assume that the resource centers in the schools have plenty of funding, as if we are supported by the Board of Education. That’s not the case. We don’t have the funds we need to support the number of students who need it.”
When asked where funding comes from for the FRYSC department for administrator salaries and support for families’ and students’ needed resources, Snodgrass told SurfKY News that full department funding comes from the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. She was allotted $1,200 this past year to provide for over 400 students at Browning Springs Middle School.
Parents who are participating in the programs are discouraged from “double dipping” into multiple charity programs, as there are hundreds more children and families on waiting lists for such programs and resources. Many families aren’t afforded the assistance they need at all if other people take advantage of charity programs for themselves in acquiring an over abundance of resources.
Snodgrass said that all monetary donations go into the schools’ accounts for students. There is also a need for food items and school supplies. She explained that, while clothing donations are appreciated, it is difficult to fit the students with donated clothes because the sizes that they need are so varied. The FRYSC administrators prefer to purchase the clothes based on individual students’ needs. The school accepts cash and/or check donations. Checks should be made payable to “School Name/Family Resource Center.” All donations are tax deductible.
Recently, SurfKY News posted an article informing the Hopkins County community of the Teen Shopping Program for 30 qualifying students at each of the six middle schools in the county (click here for full article). The PACS office in Hopkins County is assisting the FRYSC in taking 30 students from each of the middle schools in the Hopkins County school district on a shopping trip with $100 each to the VF Factory Outlet in Hanson. This is going to be beneficial to each of those students, and the support from the community is greatly appreciated; however, the need is still significant in the number of students who are still in need clothes and shoes and supplies.
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