July 15th, 2024

Community Service Fair offers connections to support agencies

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on May 10, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Multiple agencies showcase their community resources during the Community Service Fair offered by the Family Resource Network on Friday afternoon at the Interfaith Food Bank Co-op Community Kitchen.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge residents had the opportunity to connect with multiple agencies during the Community Service Fair on Friday afternoon provided by the Family Centre’s Family Resource Network.
Family Centre executive director Maral Kiani Tari, said the purpose of the Community Service Fair was for families to network and learn what programs are available to them through the FRN.
The event took place at the Interfaith Food Bank Co-op Community Kitchen on Friday afternoon.
“The FRN is a provincial network of agencies working together to provide support to families in our community and they are for families with children ages 0 to 18 years old and within the network the family centre is the hub and there are seven spokes underneath the hub,” said Kiani Tari.
She said that means there are seven other programs that are run through other agencies in the community but work as a network together to provide a wrap-around service for families in the community.
FRN provides programs and services in partnership with AHS’ Families First, Parents As Teachers, Lethbridge School Division’s Making Connections, Lethbridge Family Services’ Families that Thrive and McMan’s Family Preservation and Family Centre-Play and Parent Education.
Team lead for the AHS families first visitation program Shannon Murtland said they work with families with children from prenatal to three years old.
“We support families getting connected to resources, parent education and child development. We primarily work with families that are experiencing hardships or barriers to access services or life experiences that are impacting their ability to parent effectively,” said Murtland.
She said they help families that might need support in getting housing security, financial security and food security.
“Our focus is to help stabilize the family and getting them connected to resources that can help them maintain stability where they can focus on parenting,” said Murtland.
She said their referrals come through Alberta Health Services.
“Through public health we do universal screening and if the family meets some of those criteria and then they pass on to our program to see if they are interested in those supports,” said Murtland.
Another agency in attendance was the Lethbridge School Division’s Making Connections. Family support worker in the Lethbridge School Division Anne Kish said they assist families within the school division with community services.
“We are action focused and we become involved when a family is wanting to connect to services but need some help to do so and is unable to do so independently,” said Kish.
She said the services they typically refer families to are things like housing supports, food supports and helping families to navigate government systems.
“There’s a lot of community resources that are really well kept secrets and people don’t know about them until after the fact, and so we like to connect families to resources at the times that they need them that are actually beneficial to them,” said Kish.
She said an example of a government system they can connect families with is for family support for children with disabilities or other service providers that can provide direct supports to their child.
“We can help them to navigate those systems and get connected with those different organizations,” said Kish.
She said family support workers work alongside schools and families that are connected with the LSD from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school.
“It doesn’t matter so long as there is a child that needs to be connected with a service, work with the entire family,” said Kish.
To Connect with the various organizations in the FRN contact the Family Connector at Family Centre at 403-320-4232 ext. 204

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