September 2019 Connects E-News

Kinship Caregiver Embraces Family

Kinship Caregiver Patty RickettsFamily is everything to Patty Ricketts. So, when this 71-year-old grandmother’s three grandchildren needed a safe, stable place to stay, there was no question that they would come live with her. “I’m doing what I was brought up to do,” Ricketts says. “Family comes first. You do whatever you can to take care of your family.”

Since 2013, Ricketts and her husband Daniel have had legal custody of Dominic, 13, Skylar, 12, and Hannah, 9. Their North Linden household is a bustling one. “Sometimes it’s chaotic,” Ricketts admits, “but it’s all about the kids.”

According to Ricketts, Dominic is a loyal brother who’s fiercely protective of his siblings; Skylar is a fishing enthusiast who enjoys doing household projects with his grandfather; and Hannah is a “girly girl” who loves Taco Bell and YouTube. The three became involved with Franklin County Children Services due to their mother’s drug use, with Dominic and Skylar spending almost three years in foster care before the Ricketts ultimately gained custody.

Having experienced a lot of family conflict, Dominic, Skylar and Hannah have found consistency and structure at their grandparents’ house. “We have given them stability,” Ricketts says. “They know they can count on Grandma and Grandpa to be there. If we had not stepped up, they would have been back in the system.”

For Ricketts, raising three grandchildren in her retirement years is not without its stress and challenges. When they need a break, the couple, who have been married 49 years, treat themselves to some ice cream. “We sneak out to Dairy Queen,” she says, laughing. Ricketts also has a group of lifelong girlfriends from high school that she meets up with once a month for pizza and conversation. “There have been times when that support for me was everything,” she says.

September is National Kinship Month. Click here to learn more about how FCCS helps kinship families like the Ricketts.

Agency Youth Get Their Kicks

It's all about the design for sneaker enthusiasts Rickyia (left) and Rico.Rickyia is excited about having her initials and some hearts drawn on her brand new pink and black sneakers. She asked designer Robert Williams to do them, but he deferred to fellow designer Bryant Anthony. “He’s the one who does the hearts,” Williams said as he painted lightning bolts on her brother Rico’s orange and black “kicks.” Rickyia and Rico are just two of the youth who stopped by an exclusive pop-up sneaker boutique created by Warhol & Wall Street for the benefit of families served by Franklin County Children Services.

Warhol & Wall Street, a Columbus area marketing and experiential agency, wanted to contribute to FCCS youth and they created this opportunity with a simple desire in mind: “to eliminate the negative feelings associated with receiving free and discounted goods by providing an exclusive sneaker ‘shopping’ experience for youth as V.I.P.s at their own pop-up sneaker store.” They fulfilled their goal in part by holding the first annual Sneaker Ball, which raised funds for the cause.

Designers Williams and Anthony donated their services, along with other partners whose contributions made the three-day shopping event possible. Williams was eager to be part of this event. “I have three kids of my own, so I know what it’s like,” he said. “I just want to give back. It’s all out of love.”

Antoinette Daniels was happy that her family of six children got the V.I.P. treatment at the pop-up store. “We just came through a hard time and I started a new job, so I really appreciate this because it means that I won’t have to buy them new shoes for a while,” she said.

Fun, Food and More at FamJam 2019

Finding Fun at FamJam 2019Caribbean rhythms, elegant dance moves, hot dogs, face painting and health tips were all part of the activities that made FCCS and Mayor Andrew Ginther’s FamJam a crowd-pleaser on August 17 at the Columbus Commons. The ninth annual family enrichment festival brought thousands together for lots of fun, while learning about helpful community programs and safety tips. Families also enjoyed complimentary food, including Whit’s Frozen Custard and bounce houses.

Emcees DJ Dommy Huge Deal Styles, DJ Justin Luuv and DJ Trub kept the audience entertained while introducing the stage acts and special guests including FCCS Executive Director Chip Spinning, City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods Director Carla Williams-Scott, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin, Columbus City Council Member Shayla Favor, Columbus City Council President Pro-Tempore Elizabeth Brown and more. Special appearances were made by Brutus Buckeye, FCCS’s own Ted D. Bear and a host of other mascots. Reggae band Lungu Vybes kicked off the event with live music. Other acts included XClaim! Dance, Spirit of Wedgewood, and Modeling with a Message. Sam McCoy and the Franklinton Prep Steel Band closed out the event. Click here to view photos.

It's Children's Day at COSI

   Celebrate Children’s Day at COSI on September 27 from 5 to 9 p.m. You’ll find fun, entertainment and education at this annual event, made possible thanks to a partnership between COSI and the Franklin County Commissioners. FCCS families will receive free admission, while the general public can attend at a reduced rate. Parking is $6.

During this special evening, families who attend can explore COSI’s hands-on exhibits and experience live entertainment on stage including: Joe Lyons Magic, Shazzbots Duo and Supa Fun Band. Local mascots including Brutus Buckeye and FCCS’s own Ted D. Bear will be there too.

Children Services will provide community resource materials for everyone who attends including parenting tips on topics such as stress and parenting, safe sleep and leaving a child at home alone. Click here to download a printable flyer.

FCCS Insider

Dr. Kimberly TolerCongratulations Dr. Toler

Franklin County Children Services congratulates Dr. Kimberly Toler for recently receiving her Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) Degree from Walden University. Her research and dissertation focused on “Social work perspectives on trauma informed care for opioid use disorder clients in Ohio.” Dr. Toler serves as the director of family services for the agency. 

2019 FCCS Levy: ISSUE 10

Franklin County Children Services, the agency mandated to protect and care for the county’s abused and neglected children and troubled youth, has started its 2019 levy campaign. The largest source of the agency’s income, 67 percent, comes from two 10-year property tax levies —spread five years apart—a 1.9 mill levy that was renewed in 2014 and a 3.1 mill levy, passed in 2009 that expires at the end of this year.

The Franklin County Commissioners have approved placement of the 3.1 mil renewal levy, Issue 10, on the November 5 general election ballot. This levy will not increase taxes but will allow the agency to continue providing vital services to Franklin County’s children and families.

“The agency will lose nearly $85.6 million – more than 42 percent of our income if this levy does not pass,” said Executive Director Chip Spinning. Janet Jackson, former municipal court judge, city attorney and past president and CEO of the United Way of Central Ohio chairs the Committee4Children (C4C), a political action committee working to help assure passage of the levy. Information about the levy campaign and volunteer opportunities can be found on the C4C website, committee4children.com.

Upcoming Events

September 27 - Children's Day at COSI
5 to 9 p.m.
COSI
333 W. Broad St.

At FCCS's annual Children's Day celebration at COSI, children and families involved with FCCS will receive free admission to COSI exhibits, while a reduced rate for general admission is available to the public. Join us to enjoy local musicians and shake hands with local mascots, including FCCS's own Ted D. Bear. Parking is $6. Click here to learn more about Children's Day at COSI.

September 28 - UNCF Walk for Education
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wolfe Park
105 Park Drive
FCCS will sponsor a team participating in this event which raises funds for college scholarships including the FCCS Alvin R. Hadley Scholarship. This scholarship is presented to an agency youth each year. For more information, visit www.uncf.org/events/event/2019-walk-for-education-columbus. or call (614) 221-5309.