January 2020 Connects E-News

National Mentoring Month: Malaika Seeks Mentors

Click here to watch <em>Malaika Seeks Mentors</em>

January is National Mentoring Month and youth served by Franklin County Children Services particularly need mentors with whom they can create positive, lasting relationships. Youth who have suffered trauma associated with child abuse and neglect greatly benefit from having one-on-one relationships with adult role models. FCCS seeks partnerships with adults ages 18 and over who are willing to mentor through our Friendship, Simba, Malaika and College-Bound Mentoring Programs.

As 2020 marks its 25th year, FCCS takes this opportunity to celebrate the Malaika Mentoring Program. Malaika is a culturally and gender specific program that matches African-American girls with African-American women. To learn more about Malaika from program director Tonia Still and mentor Lashana Rankin-Crone, watch the video Malaika Seeks Mentors.  

Visit our website to learn more about FCCS’s mentoring programs.

Holiday Wishes Granted

Click here to watch <em>Thank You from Holiday Wish.</em>

FCCS would like to thank the central Ohio community for once again making our community’s children’s wishes come true. Since the program's beginning more than 55 years ago, Holiday Wish has been able to grant more than 200,000 wishes. Thanks to your donations this year, we were able to provide gifts for more than 6,600 children during our Holiday Wish program. Thanks to our Black Girl Magic Campaign, all of our culturally specific needs were met for the fourth year in a row!

This is the result of the generosity of individuals who fulfilled wish lists, dropped off toys, ordered gifts from our Amazon Wish Lists, made cash contributions, attended toy drives or even hosted one of the 70 toy drives held at a local business, or community organization. We would like to give a special thanks to the work groups, members of civic organizations, and individuals who volunteered to sort and wrap toys at our offices. We loved spending time with you and could not have made this happen without you.

A truly communal effort made the success of this program possible. We are grateful to be part of a community that embraces its children and brings joy to those who live under difficult circumstances, especially during the holidays.

All wishes granted, all because of you!

Click here to watch Thank You from Holiday Wish.

Tips for Today: Safety in a Winter Wonderland

After the excitement of Christmas and the New Year, we are faced with the reality of the cold winter months ahead. Planning for the low temperatures and dangerous conditions of the cold is critical. Winter can offer a wonderland of excitement when you are prepared with tips to keep your children warm and safe.

The first big snowfall brings out the excitement that entices children and adults to wander in the fluffy white snow; building snowmen, having snowball fights or simply making snow angels. Ensure that children have fun during these activities by taking measures to prevent frostbite, sunburn, and hypothermia. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies and children should dress in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions. Typically, four to five layers of clothing should be worn. The pockets of air between clothing trap heat, thus keeping you warmer. And make sure that all extremities are protected; head, hands, neck and feet.

Every 20 to 30 minutes parents should conduct “warmth checks” while children are outside playing. If they are wet or cold, have them come inside to warm up and change out of wet clothing. Also, continue to use sunscreen in the winter as sunlight can reflect off the snow and cause sunburn. Watch for signs of frostbite: pale, gray or blistered skin. If you suspect frostbite, bring your child inside immediately and apply warm water (not hot), to the affected area. Hypothermia can also be present. Signs include slurred speech, shivering and clumsiness. If your child displays signs of hypothermia, call 9-1-1 immediately! Keep the child warm and remove any wet clothing until help arrives.

Finally, encourage children to be safe while enjoying outdoor activities. Make sure that they take precautions like wearing helmets while snowboarding, sledding, or skiing. Find more winter tips at kindercare.com.

FCCS Insider: Holiday Visitation

   The 2019 Franklin County Children Services’ Holiday Visitation event hosted almost 1,000 people and transformed the agency’s 855 W. Mound St. building into a festive holiday setting. A chance for youth in out-of-home placement such as foster care to spend time with their birth families, the visitation creates an inviting atmosphere for engagement and interaction during the holidays. At this past event, families shared a meal, made a craft project, got their faces painted, visited with friendly therapy dogs and took photos with Santa. Mrs. Claus also made an appearance, spreading good cheer and handing out candy canes.

A three-day event that just marked its ninth anniversary, the Holiday Visitation relies on hundreds of individuals to help it run smoothly and safely. In addition to dedicated FCCS staff and committed community volunteers, much-needed support came from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office therapy dog program, Franklin County Children and Family First Council, STRS Ohio, Ohio State University College of Social Work and CME Federal Credit Union. In addition, more than 300 dozen homemade baked goods were generously donated by staff and community supporters for the families to enjoy during their time together.

Upcoming Events

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 becoming a mentor or volunteering with children involved with FCCS.


March - National Social Work Month

National Social Work Month is a time for increasing public awareness and knowledge of the profession of social work and how these dedicated individuals impact society.