October 2018 Connects E-News

Caseworker Advocates for Youth in Crisis

Van FrasherIf you’re an unruly, delinquent or at-risk youth in Franklin County, meeting Van Frasher could change the course of your life. A Franklin County Children Services child welfare caseworker with 20 years of experience, Frasher is currently stationed at Franklin County Juvenile Court where he specializes as a diversion liaison. On behalf of FCCS, he collaborates with the court to identify at-risk youth and families who might benefit from at-home services and linkage to community resources. The goal is to strengthen families and address the underlying issues delinquent youth face, which are often related to trauma, substance abuse or a lack of parental guidance. Ultimately, the objective is to help all parties avoid involvement with both the legal and child welfare systems. “It’s all about working for the betterment of a child,” Frasher says.

A West Virginia native who has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in criminal justice, Frasher intended to go into federal law enforcement but somehow ended up as an advocate for youth instead. “I just kind of dropped into this field,” he says. Frasher appreciates his daily opportunities to alter the trajectory of troubled youth in need of intervention. “I’m here because I want to help,” he says.

A sixth-degree black belt who runs his own karate school in Gahanna, Frasher’s extensive martial arts background has been useful throughout his career in child welfare, especially when it comes to reading body language. Being a martial arts practitioner is all about “staying mentally and emotionally activated,” Frasher says. Being carefully tuned into how a frustrated or angry youth might be feeling can help him build the necessary rapport to have a constructive interaction, he notes. “A lot of times, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” he says.

Seven Baskets Serves a Community

Seven Baskets Executive Director Jeffrey Mansell at their Community HouseFCCS community partner Seven Baskets Community Development Corp. is working to weave a partnership between families, schools, neighborhoods and the faith-based organization for holistic community development. They particularly focus on providing opportunities for young people through tutoring, mentoring and after school activities, but their outreach extends to offering support to neighborhoods as a whole. “Our initial goal was to adopt a neighborhood and restore hope to the people who live there,” says Executive Director Jeffrey Mansell.

Education is a key focus for Seven Baskets. They partner with Leawood and Lindbergh Elementary Schools, where volunteers provide school day tutoring for third and fourth graders, after school mentoring for fifth graders, and more. Through their +2 Program, kids receive bags of food to supplement breakfasts and lunches on weekends. Seven Baskets has also galvanized donors from churches to corporations (including Payless ShoeSource) to provide shoes, clothing, hats and gloves for kids at the schools, as well as supplies both for individual children and their classrooms. They also regularly treat faculty to lunch and other pick-me-ups like doughnuts. Always ready to answer the call for help, Seven Baskets recently provided lunch and homework help at their community house for students at Leawood when school was closed due to weather conditions.

Summer is also a busy time for Seven Baskets. They offer a free six-week day camp. The program features reading and math exercises, arts and crafts and fun activities, including spending Tuesdays at the Seven Baskets Community Garden. Breakfast and lunch are included.

Teens have a chance to earn money through the Seven Baskets Gardening Service. It matches adults and teens who provide free lawn care (thanks to a grant from United Way of Central Ohio) to seniors and disabled adults in the Thunderbird Acres Neighborhood. Youth also learn life skills like sewing and how to open a bank account.

FCCS has identified Seven Baskets as a community hub, where resources can be provided to families. Visit seven-baskets.org or call (614) 406-2548 to learn more about the organization and how you can contribute.

Tips for Today: Adjusting to Changing Seasons

   It’s October, which means fall is here, a time for hot apple cider, dressing up in costumes, bonfires and football. As the temperature turns cooler and the leaves start to turn, getting prepared can help you and your family enjoy the crisp autumn weather.

Take some tips from mindfood.com. Stay organized by swapping most of the summer clothes with winter and fall clothes in your closets. Make sure all your family’s winter coats and jackets are clean and ready for the cold weather. Also, prepare beds with sufficient bedding for cold nights. Don’t forget to change the batteries in smoke detectors and service your furnace to make sure it is working properly. Lastly, clean and dust throughout your house to remove any dust mites; this is a great tip to fight seasonal allergies.

Stock your kitchen cabinets with staples such as beans, rice, soup, canned vegetables, bottled water, and potatoes. These items will come in handy when there is bad weather and you are not able to leave home. Also keep immune system boosting herbs on hand such as turmeric to help treat children’s colds. Mix them in a warm cup of herbal tea. Make sure your each of your family members has their annual flu shot.

Don’t forget to keep the kids moving and embrace the outdoors. Getting outdoors during the colder months is essential for maintaining vitamin D levels. Take the kids on hiking trips through nature trails or ride bikes with them. Whatever you do, make sure your family makes the most of the changing seasons!

FCCS Insider: Celebrating Children’s Day at COSI

In celebration of all children, Franklin County Children Services hosted its annual Children’s Day celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, at COSI. Children and families connected to FCCS received passes for free admission, thanks to donations from Kroger and a partnership between COSI and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. About 2,000 people munched on free snacks and danced to music provided by Bob Piascik Sing Along, Arnett Howard and Supa Fun Band during the evening.

Many of the children attending included foster children in agency care, who typically would not have the opportunity to visit COSI. They explored COSI’s hands-on educational exhibits, enjoyed visits by local mascots and family-learning time.  

FCCS has held the event at COSI for more than 20 years, thanks to civic and corporate donations. This special Family Friday Night at COSI was also open to the public for a discounted rate.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Upcoming Events

Now through December - Holiday Wish
855 W. Mound Street

For more than 50 years, Holiday Wish has provided gifts to children under the care of FCCS who might not otherwise receive them. Join us in helping make wishes come true! For more information or to donate:

November - National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is a time to focus on the children in foster care who are waiting for a permanent family. Locally, Adoption Day is held on November 14. On this day, the adoptions of several children under FCCS care will be finalized at Franklin County Probate Court. Click here to view a searchable list of FCCS adoptable kids.

November 19 - National Family Week Celebration
5 - 7 p.m.
St. Stephen's Community House
1500 East 17th Ave.

This annual celebration focuses on the importance of the family and those who build community connections that strengthen families. For more information, call (614) 275-2780.