Mid Town Family Resource Center
Since 1998, the Parkersburg office has operated a series of neighborhood-based prevention, youth development and family support services funded through a variety of sources. The family resource center focuses on supporting neighborhood families, providing after school care with academic help, and child abuse prevention through strengthening families. Secondary focuses include delinquency prevention, positive youth development, service learning opportunities for all ages and help through a clothing closet, a food pantry and computer re-distribution project.
The Mid-town Learning Center is an after school program for students of McKinley Elementary(K-6.) Certified through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, this fee-based program accepts students whose parents receive subsidized child care assistance as well as those who are able to pay their own fees. A parent support component provides neighborhood parents with opportunities to gain support, learn and practice parenting skills, and learn ways to relieve stressors for their families. Family engagement activities are held on a monthly basis. Funding sources for this program currently include: Partners in Prevention grants from Team WV/Prevent Child Abuse WV,(funded through the West Virginia Children's Trust Fund, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources) and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PAFC.)
The Mid Town
Tinkers computer re-use/recycle project receives and refurbishes older computers for distribution to families in need of a "starter" computer. Over the years of the project's life, the Tinkers have redistributed more than 80 computers to neighborhood families. Recently, the Tinkers helped a similar project get under way in neighboring Wirt County through a grant from the PACF.
Other grants in support of neighborhood youth work have included: Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Foundation, the Henry Logan Children's Home, the McDonough Foundation, Sojouners Care Network and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
A Client's Story:
The Tinkers Program, operated by Parkersburg Child and Family Services, involves young people in computer literacy and computer repair. Youth at the A.N. Gustke Shelter often take advantage of the computer "know-how" the Tinkers offer during their stay. Those youth leaving the shelter to return to their own homes may be able to receive free, refurbished computers to take with them.
One such recipient is "Sam". Sam had little exposure to computers before his stay at the shelter. Sam's home environment includes a single mom, two teens, an elementary-schooler and a two-year-old with serious medical conditions. (Mom and the two-year-old are part of Parkersburg's Birth to Three program as well.)
As Sam learned more about computers and the Internet, he began to see ways to use the computer to assist his family. A visit to MapQuest brought a map to guide his mom to the Cincinnati hospital where the two-year-old had an appointment.
When Sam left the shelter for home, he carried with him a refurbished computer and knowledge to help his mom begin to learn more about his brother's complicated medical condition on the web and to maintain more frequent contact with the helping professionals providing services to this young child.