RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – To help families find the services they need to satisfy their basic needs and reduce obstacles to learning, an office is being used within the brand-new O’Brien Middle School.
“It’s not only for families; it’s for everyone who is in need right now,” said Jessenia Segura, director specialist at the North Valleys Family Resource Centers. “As you can see, we have many basic supplies right here, like as clothes and hygiene things, and we can also assist them with the application process for Medicaid and SNAP.” ”
The Washoe County School District (WCSD) now operates five Family Resource Centers, with the majority of them offering food pantries.
The O’Brien center also assists with the application for the Energy Assistance Program through the Welfare office.
“We have school supplies, we have a limited number of those but we have some,” said Segura. “Gas money also and we have gift cards that we were able to purchase through the grant funding that we have available.”
The majority of referrals to the program come from schools and municipal organizations, but pandemic limitations severely cut visitation to the centers.
“We couldn’t have that one-on-one contact, where before were able to see people inside the buildings, we had to change that,” said Segura.
According to her, a lack of understanding is also fuelling this tendency.
The newest center, housed inside the new Hug High School, has seen a small number of families. Brenda Costello, Program Specialist, stated that their services extend beyond the school’s gates.
“It’s called the Feemster Family Resource Center,” she said. “We actually have parenting education program within Washoe County School District so I supervised three parenting programs and one of them is for little ones so zero to five. They’re not even in school yet but we serve them.”
She adds that, depending on the situation, they may even make a house visit.
The program is grant-funded and free for families.
“We want our families to keep coming back to us because we don’t want them just in crisis, we want them to be stable and to move forward,” said Costello. “It’s the long-term services that we really want to connect with our families.”
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