When TwaNysha signed her twin boys up for kindergarten in 2019, one of the stops on the school tour was at United Way of Summit & Medina’s Family Resource Center (FRC). United Way’s FRCs offer families a safe space inside their children’s schools and access to a trained resource coordinator that can connect them with services like financial coaching, nutrition assistance and more.
During this first visit, TwaNysha met ShaQeria Hunter, United Way’s family resource coordinator for Robinson CLC. ShaQeria gave her information about the FRC and resources like Imagination Library, a United Way program that gives free books to children under the age of 5. “ShaQeria has even taken the time to read with the kids and give us extra books,” says TwaNysha. She is particularly grateful for this, as her kids struggle with reading so that’s been really beneficial for them.
TwaNysha’s involvement with the FRC has grown over the years, as did her bond with ShaQeria. “I learned that the Family Resource Center helps families get connected to resources throughout the community and about all the different events United Way was doing like family game night and food boxes,” she says.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, ShaQeria kept in contact over the phone, through text and email. She continued to set TwaNysha’s family up with food boxes, connected her to the Summit County Cares program to receive help with utility bills and made sure TwaNysha had access to the proper pregnancy care like doctors in the area and community diaper raffles. “We used to live less than a mile from the school, says TwaNysha. “When I had my baby it was mid-winter, and ShaQeria would walk over from the school to bring us our food boxes.”
TwaNysha and her four young children have since moved away from the Robinson CLC neighborhood, but they still visit the FRC often for family engagement nights, to receive basic needs resources and sometimes just to hang out.
“I want every family to know that the FRCs are there. It gives the children somewhere to go during the school day if they ever need something. And the families know it’s there too.” Her wish is that someday there will be a FRC in every neighborhood. “I think it will help the community tremendously,” she says.
Family Resource Centers are a safe, welcoming place in a school where parents and caregivers can get information, assistance and referrals to community resources – from financial assistance to peer support and more.