July 2018 Connects E-News

Come to FamJam 2018 for a Day of Family Fun!

FamJam 2017

FCCS and Mayor Andrew J. Ginther’s FamJam is a free family enrichment festival held each year. Join us on August 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons for a fun day of food, entertainment and community resource booths. FCCS and the City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods will jointly present this kid-friendly event for the 8th consecutive year.

FamJam includes fun and informative activities for the whole family. The event will be held rain or shine. The event is free, but parking is not, with available parking spaces at local garages. Entertainment will be provided by local youth acts on the pavilion stage. More than 85 organizations will offer resources, giveaways and health screenings to the community at their booths. We will also be joined by safety forces from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Columbus divisions of police and fire. Complimentary snacks will also be provided.

Click here to learn more.

Youth Enabled to Take Charge of Their Destinies

Former Foster Youth Who've Pursued their Dreams: (from left) Joshua Hatch, Dominique Chapman and Princess Kumba

“You can start your life now…You can create your own story,” said former foster youth Princess Kumba, during the life skills conference for youth who are preparing to transition into adulthood. The event was held at Deer Creek Lodge in June. In addition to former foster youth, child welfare professionals, community advocates and others gathered to share their experiences, skills and wisdom with FCCS youth over three days.

The conference featured presentations on a variety of topics including creating a financial foundation, making healthy choices and pursuing higher education. Youth were also able to meet individually with representatives from community resources. Job Corps, the Center of Vocational Alternatives and Impact Community Action were there to offer employment assistance. FCCS’s College Bound Mentoring Program, the Columbus State Community College Scholar Network and the Capital University Foster Advocacy Center were there to provide education resources. Representatives from the New Bridge Program were also available to offer housing assistance and other supportive services.

One of the most powerful resources for attendees was hearing directly from youth formerly served by the agency who have found success. A panel discussion was held with recent college graduate Princess Kumba, Joshua Hatch who is a senior at Wright State University and Dominique Chapman who is currently pursuing her doctorate. All three encouraged the youth to use the resources that are available to them. “You have to utilize the tools that they give you,” said Chapman.

“People in this room will help you,” Hatch concurred. “To get what I deserved, I had to work for it,” he said.

Chapman encouraged the youth to rise above their past difficulties and make a bright future. “You can’t use what has happened to you as an excuse to not do what you’re supposed to do,” she said. “You owe it to yourself to be successful.”  

Jamole Callahan, a motivational speaker and foster youth advocate led an open discussion with the youth about their fears surrounding leaving agency care. He encouraged them to “be their first and best supporters.” “You have to keep going forward. You are in charge,” he said. 

Click here to learn about FCCS's Youth Transition Services Program.

Mid-Ohio Food Bank Helps FCCS Families

    Serving as a critical safety net for those without enough to eat, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank has been feeding local families in need for the past 38 years. This nonprofit serves up almost 155,000 meals daily through a network of 650 partner agencies in 20 central and eastern Ohio counties. The almost 70 million pounds of food the food bank brings in annually comes from a variety of sources: the United States Department of Agriculture, food manufacturers, local businesses, local farms and community donations.

The Mid-Ohio Food Bank serves Franklin County Children Services’ families on a regular basis, whether through a neighborhood food pantry, after-school program, homeless shelter or soup kitchen. For child welfare caseworker Erinn Anderson, food insecurity seems to be one of many challenges with which FCCS families struggle. “This is a pretty common issue for the demographic we serve,” she says.

In her experience helping families as a child welfare caseworker, Ivy Pinkins has found that those facing food insecurity tend to be resource savvy. Often, struggling single parents or grandparents on a fixed income rely heavily on food pantries connected to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank to “bridge the gaps” between paydays or when their monthly food assistance kicks in, Pinkins says.

To find a local food pantry, volunteer, or to learn more about how the Mid-Ohio Food Bank helps fight food insecurity, visit www.midohiofoodbank.org. For more on Operation Feed, an annual fundraising campaign proudly supported by FCCS employees, visit www.midohiofoodbank.org/get_involved/operation-feed/

FCCS Insider: Creating Young Leaders

Two FCCS youth, Precious and Brady, have been selected to participate in the 2018 Central Ohio Leadership Academy (COLA) cohort. The program gathers 50 high school juniors and seniors from a variety of backgrounds. They learn about leadership, ethical decision-making and relationship-building from facilitators and educators at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, as well as community leaders. What all participants have in common is being recognized as leaders within their high schools.

Fifteen-year-old Precious, a student at Independence High School, looks forward to developing skills that will help her find employment opportunities. Brady, who is also fifteen and a student at Westland High School, hopes to develop his decision-making skills.

Upcoming Events

August 4 - FCCS and Mayor Andrew Ginther's FamJam
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Columbus Commons
160 S. High Street

Franklin County Children Services and the City of Columbus invite you to a free, family enrichment festival at the Columbus Commons. FamJam will bring families together with community resources, vendors and information tables, as well as tons of fun and entertainment. Rain or shine! For more information, call (614) 341-6085 or click here.

August 11 - African-American Male Wellness Walk
7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Livingston Park
732 E. Livingston Ave.

FCCS is co-sponsoring the 14th annual walk/run, which will also include free health screenings for the entire family. For more information visit aawalk.org, email aamwalk@gmail.com or call (614) 754-7511.

August 11-12 - Festival Latino 2018
11:00 a.m. to 8: p.m.
Genoa Park
303 West Broad Street

FCCS and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio will share resources with the community at an information table. For more information visit https://festivallatino.net/.