December 2019 Connects E-News

Grant a Child’s Wish This Year!

  FCCS Volunteer Coordinator and Part Time Elf Joy Xaybandith

The shelves are up, and the elves are in! Holiday Wish is now accepting gifts to grant the wishes of youth under the care of Children Services. Last year, the central Ohio community provided over 6,500 children with gifts. These are children who may have experienced abuse, neglect or difficulties in the home. We need your support in making the holiday bright for FCCS children this year!

This year Holiday Wish is accepting items for babies, toddlers, preschool, and school-aged children. Children who are 11-years-old and younger receive gifts or toys valued at $50, while youth twelve and older receive a $60 gift card.

At FCCS, we believe that all our children should receive gifts that reflect their culture and celebrate their uniqueness. Since its inception, the program has been challenged with meeting the diverse needs of the children we serve, especially for our girls and boys of color between the ages of 8 and 11. The Holiday Wish Black Girl Magic campaign is seeking culturally specific gifts: ethnic dolls, inspirational poetry, multi-cultural books, ethnic hair care and skin care products. The goal of Black Girl Magic is to promote self-love and acceptance with gifts that reaffirm the value of girls and boys of color.  

Here is how you can help:

  • CONTACT Holiday Wish at or (614) 275-2525 to sponsor a child, learn more about the program or volunteer your time
  • DONATE cash for gift cards online at or write a check made payable to the Franklin County Children Services Children’s Fund and send it  to: Holiday Wish, 855 W. Mound Street, Columbus, Oh 43223
  • DROP OFF a new unwrapped toy at Holiday Wish, which is located near I-70 in the Children Services' building at 855 West Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223 or make a purchase from the Holiday Wish or Black Girl Magic wish lists on

Issue 10: FCCS Renewal Levy Passed—THANK YOU VOTERS!

   The 2019 levy has passed! Franklin County voters have said a resounding “YES!” to continue funding for Children Services’ programs and services to abused and neglected children and their families by voting for the 3.1 mill renewal levy. Preliminary results from the Board of Elections show that 80% voted to approve this levy. We are very appreciative of this strong community support, and we thank all who contributed to making this levy campaign a success. We will now be able to continue our work and meet our mission to assure the safety, permanency and well-being of every child we serve and to provide help to their families. We can all take pride in the value our community places on what we do.

We want to thank the voters of Franklin County for their continued support!

The Committee4Children (C4C) prepared an outstanding campaign with the leadership of former judge and United Way of Central Ohio President and CEO Janet Jackson as chair. Community Outreach Coordinator Doris Calloway Moore was tireless in her efforts to make sure everyone in our county knew about the levy and was both passionate and diligent in conducting a wide range of campaign activities to gain awareness and support. The entire C4C team is to be commended.

Thanks also goes out to the many employees of our agency and our board members who volunteered to make phone calls, walk door to door, talk to groups, give money and/or distribute yard signs to get our message to county voters. And, a special thanks to those who work for our partner agencies, who volunteered to help with the campaign. Our collective efforts were certainly rewarded.

It was a very positive result and a vote of confidence for all of us who protect children by strengthening families.

Issue 10 will not increase taxes. About two-thirds of the agency’s budget is funded through two levies, a 1.9 mill that renewed in 2014 and the 3.1 mill passed in November.

Families and Partners Honored During National Family Week

(From left) FCCS youth Denzel and Donell Warren-Albert perform during the National Family Week Celebration. On November 25, a crowd left St. Stephen’s Community House feeling inspired after hearing stories of accomplishment and triumph despite adversity during the National Family Week celebration. Awards were presented to families who participate in the Family-to-Family (F2F) Program and community partners who make their successes possible.

In partnership with St. Stephen’s Community House, Gladden Community House and Central Community House, FCCS helps link families in need of services with resources right in their own communities through the Family-to-Family Program. Rather than having cases managed by Children Services, families can get the help they need and learn to help themselves through parenting classes, material assistance and more.

Community Partner awards were presented by each settlement house to individuals and organizations that help families. Community Properties of Ohio received an award for offering event space and child care during parent meetings. Trina Ardrister of the Godman Guild was recognized for providing resources for adult education to F2F clients. Both Kathy Jackson, affiliate director of I Support the Girls, Vineyard Transitions and Bed Brigade were recognized for donations that they made to families who were establishing new homes.

Family of the year awards were presented to parents who made the most of the resources that they were given to provide security for their families. They were able to gain employment and stable housing, while learning about managing finances and navigating the challenges of parenting. Winners included: Desiree Moore, Sonya Gordon, Michelle Coats, Kimberly Mills and Kelley Hammond.

The evening concluded with a keynote speech from F2F alumna Kaitlyn Zubku who spoke fondly of her experiences with the program and those who supported her family. Entertainment was provided by musicians and FCCS youth Denzel and Donell Warren-Albert.

Tips for Today: Talking with Kids About Mental Health

Support for mental health is vital to a child’s well-being and development. Failing to address mental health issues can have serious consequences. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, suicide is the second leading cause of death in children, adolescents and young adults age 15 to 24. Parents and caregivers need to be open with children and discuss their feelings and experiences to ensure that children’s needs are met.

On Our Sleeves™, “the movement to transform children’s mental health,” sponsored by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, aims to help families identify and address mental health issues, as well as access and navigate resources. According to their research, one in five children is living with a mental illness, and 50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses start by age 14.

When it comes to addressing mental health issues with your child, where do you start? On Our Sleeves™ has recommendations:

Be Open and Responsive

Encourage your child to be open about their feelings and experiences by sharing your own at an age-appropriate level. Remove the stigma from mental illnesses by talking about emotional issues the way you would talk about a physical illness.

While there may be times when direct questions are necessary, try not to pressure your child to communicate, but encourage them to express themselves. Spend quality time with them to build a sense of trust. Create a safe space for discussion without judgment. Be kind, reassuring and prepared to listen.

Get Help When You Need It

Don’t be afraid to seek support. Your family pediatrician is a good resource for help with addressing mental health concerns. If communicating with your child is challenging, consider connecting them with a mentor. They may be more willing to be open with an adult who is not their parent. Include the child in finding ways to address issues.

Click here for more information about On Our Sleeves™.

FCCS Insider: Partnership with CAPA Exposes Youth to The Arts

This holiday season, FCCS youth are attending "Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol" at the Ohio Theatre thanks to the donation of 200 tickets by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA). A partnership between CAPA and the agency, which began five years ago, has enabled youth to experience a variety of performances including: Black Violin, the Summer Movie Series, Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance, Peking Acrobats, and more. Volunteers and their mentees, kinship families and youth involved in the Youth Transition Services and Therapeutic Arts Programs have all taken advantage of these opportunities. According to Volunteer Services Coordinator Leesa Evans, “One family looks forward to seeing 'A Christmas Carol' every year. It’s become a tradition for them.” Thanks to CAPA’s commitment to engaging the community, young people continue to have the chance to dream and imagine through the fine arts.

Visit to learn more about CAPA.

Upcoming Events

Now through December 24 - Holiday Wish 
855 W. Mound St.

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:

January - National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month is a time for recognizing the importance of mentors and their ability to positively impact young lives. Click here to learn about mentoring opportunities with FCCS.