June 2020 Connects E-News

FCCS Celebrates the Class of 2020

A Few of the Members of the Class of 2020



This June, Franklin County Children Services has 55 huge reasons to celebrate: 55 impressive, inspiring youth who are donning their caps and gowns and graduating from high school. While earning a high school diploma is always cause for celebration, this milestone is extraordinary for students involved in the child welfare system. For these remarkable and resilient youth, who have often experienced overwhelming challenges and significant adversity, graduating from high school is an especially joyous occasion.

FCCS could not be prouder of the class of 2020 and all that they have accomplished. There’s aspiring business owner Kylee, who plans on studying interior design and architecture. And focused, bookish Taja, who wants to be a cybersecurity expert. And caring Alicia who intends to help others by becoming a state-tested nursing assistant (STNA). While the majority of our grads plan on working full time or attending Columbus State (Go Cougars!), we also have youth off to Hocking College, Wright State, Bowling Green, Ohio State University Newark and Capital University. We have aspiring lawyers, judges, teachers, athletic trainers and artists in the making, to name a few of our youths’ future goals and dreams. Congrats to our amazing class of 2020. We wish you all the best!

Foster Youth Rises Up

(From Left) Graduate Mark Mayle and His Mentor Fred Lockhart“Believe in yourself, want to be great for yourself, and don’t worry about what other people have to say about you.” That’s the advice that Mark Mayle gives to other foster youth who are struggling to succeed. Mark has overcome difficult circumstances to graduate this spring with a 4.1 GPA and looks forward to a promising future. He is the recipient of Franklin County Children Services’ 2020 Rising Up and Moving On award.

After missing a lot of school, Mark entered foster care at age 11. He worked hard to catch up over the years and has excelled. In addition to earning good grades, he’s built a thriving small business custom decorating sneakers and boasts of having more than 50 clients. He also works with a local construction company, where he’s learned to install drywall, do some plumbing and electrical work, and more.

Mark is very close to his foster mother, whom he refers to as “Nana” and credits her support with helping him stay on track. “She is a hard-working woman. She encourages me and keeps me striving to be great and not let anything bring me down,” he said.

Mark has also benefitted from the supports that FCCS has given him, particularly through the Simba Mentoring Program. Simba matches African-American boys with African-American males in the community in one-on-one relationships. Mark has developed a strong relationship with his mentor, Fred Lockhart. “He is awesome. He’s silly, funny and encourages me to do good things,” said Mark. He also credits FCCS Simba Mentoring Program Director Daryle Cobb. “Mr. Cobb is my dude. He’s a great guy,” said Mark. Both men have checked on Mark several times a week during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This young man’s ambition is to learn and earn. His plans include attending trade school to study auto mechanics or increase his construction knowledge. Mark took some business classes in high school and may also want to own his own sneaker store or auto shop.

Learn more about FCCS's Mentoring Programs

Summer Fun During COVID-19

    Summer is typically a time when families prepare for vacations, time at the pool, backyard barbeques, and fun gatherings. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, families need to take extra precautions when going outside for activities. There are also fun and educational activities to enjoy indoors.

Getting outdoors is important for families. Visits to parks, walks around the neighborhood and playing sports are great ways to exercise and get fresh air. This is also a great time for backyard and neighborhood fun with the kids. So, blow up the inflatable pool, break out the sidewalk chalk and dig out the hula hoops and roller skates.

Families should take care while spending time outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending taking precautions including wearing masks, maintaining a six feet distance from those who don’t live in your household and regularly washing hands for at least 20 seconds.

Families can also have fun indoors with these suggestions and more from Family Vacation Critic:

  • Head to YouTube for virtual rides on Disney Park attractions including Space Mountain, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and more.

  • While summer is a time for fun, children should also try to maintain their academic skills. Use online educational resources. Amazing Educational Resources updates their lesson plans regularly. In addition, Scholastic has fantastic online classes targeted at specific age groups starting at pre-K.

  • Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Many communities have organized a teddy bear hunt by placing teddy bears in their windows for children to spot.

Summer is also the perfect time to teach children life skills such as how to wash laundry, cook great dishes, create a budget or sew masks.

While social distancing means avoiding large crowds, it shouldn’t keep families from having a fun and productive summer!

More Family Resources

Thank You to the Community

Masks Donated by One ChurchWe would like to thank community members and partner agencies who have heard our pleas for handmade face masks to be used by staff during the COVID-19 health emergency. They are comfortable, as useful as our purchased masks, and add a little character to our work! Staff are particularly fond of the fabric masks because they are washable and reusable.

As our staff continues to support families, they must be prepared to visit with family members where they live and work safely with co-workers and community partners using social distancing practices. While many are teleworking from home, these essential services must continue. We appreciate the community’s help in enabling our staff to do their work as safely as possible.

Thank you for donating more than 1,000 masks to date! Our staff is being provided the best in available personal protective equipment.

Donate to Franklin County Children Services' Children's Fund