February 2022 Connects E-News

Cobb Receives Lifetime Mentoring Award

FCCS Associate Director of Organizational Health Daryle CobbAfter nearly 30 years of public service mentoring young people, Daryle Cobb, a new associate director in the FCCS Department of Organizational Health, has received the 2022 Excellence in Mentoring Award for Lifetime Achievement from MENTOR.

Being of service to others has long been part of Cobb’s life. “Because of the sacrifices made for me, I feel obligated to make the same sacrifices for the generation following me,” he said. Cobb began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Ohio more than 25 years ago and has mentored three young men into adulthood. The relationships that Cobb built with the youths in his charge have lasted long after their formal mentorships ended and they still remain in close contact. 

Cobb began working with Franklin County Children Services almost 30 years ago as a child welfare caseworker. He led the agency’s Simba Mentoring Program for eight years, before taking on the role of associate director of organizational health in 2021. He now manages both the Simba and Malaika Mentoring programs. Simba matches African American males served by the agency with African American men in one-on-one mentorships, while Malaika matches African American women and girls. Cobb is a strong advocate for young people and works hard to bring them opportunities for development including college visits, educational trips, motivational speakers and other avenues of learning.

He was nominated by Elizabeth Crabtree, director of Volunteers and Child Enrichment. “It is an incredible honor to work alongside Daryle Cobb. There is not an interaction with him that I do not learn something new or am not stretched in my growth,” Crabtree said. “This is what mentoring is all about.” 

MENTOR is a national nonprofit that promotes mentoring through research, advocacy and training. In its release, MENTOR wrote, Cobb’s 30-year career “has demonstrated profound dedication to supporting youth with opportunities and connections.”

Turner Assumes Public Information Office Director Role

FCCS Director of Public Information Office Valancia TurnerAfter focusing on sharing the mission and vision of Children Services with the community over the past five years, Valancia Turner is continuing her work by taking on the role of director of the agency’s public information office. Turner has led community awareness campaigns, served as a media liaison, and built strong relationships with community partners on behalf of the agency. She will now steer the public information office to continue to make an impact in the community.   

Prior to coming to FCCS, Turner held positions in marketing for media outlets. She also served on the boards and committees for several organizations including Huckleberry House, Central Ohio African-American Chamber of Commerce, Celebrate One and the Columbus City Schools Safe Schools Task Force. Turner is a graduate of the United Way of Central Ohio’s Project Diversity program. After earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Phoenix, Turner received her MBA from Franklin University. Currently, she is also a community ambassador for Leadership Columbus.

Turner is eager to continue reaching out to the community and intends for the Public Information Office to serve as a strong source of support for the agency’s mission. “I look forward to guiding the public awareness efforts on behalf of the agency,” she said. “Our focus remains on safety, permanency and the well-being of the children and families served by the agency through internal and external outreach.”

The public information office brings the mission and vision of Children Services to the community to gain public support and commitment to protecting children by strengthening families. Staff conduct community outreach through public speaking, events, media campaigns, web and social media content, newsletters and more. They increase public awareness of issues facing youth and families in the community, solicit donors and volunteers for agency programs and provide parentings tips and guidelines for reporting suspected abuse and neglect.

Tips for Stressed-Out Parents

Without a doubt, everyday life has been a challenge in these pandemic times. No one knows this more than the frazzled parents among us who have selflessly struggled to keep their families safe and healthy. For you heroic moms and dads, here are some stress-fighting tips courtesy of pediatric experts at the Cleveland Clinic, on how to manage the daily chaos and find a bit of peace.

Try not to bring stress home. Separating work life from home life is important, especially in the pandemic when boundaries are blurred and everything is often happening under one roof. Rough day? Talk it out with a friend or coworker “to help defuse stress before you leave work,” advises pediatrician J. Michael Wertman.

Connect with fellow parents. To help normalize feelings of stress and even better, bond over those crazy parenting moments, “form connections with families whose kids are similar in age,” advises pediatrician Svetlana Pomeranets. “You’ll find you’re not alone.”

Ask for backup when you need it. Never be afraid to ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Trying to do it all “is a recipe for stress, and your kids will benefit from your reaching out,” according to Pomeranets “You’ll be less tempted to yell and more likely to model proper behavior for them.”

Seek opportunities for fun. While there might be a pandemic happening, remember that we are still allowed to enjoy life’s many pleasures. Do an activity with your family that makes you all happy. “You’ll feel better about yourself and will deal better with your kids,” says Wertman. Find something fun to do together: read books, bake cookies, go for a walk or watch a funny show on TV.

Remember to recharge. Always easier said than done, but parents need to take time for themselves. “Even if it’s just an hour in the evening after the kids go to bed, it’s really important to have time to ‘reset’ as a parent,” says pediatric nurse practitioner Crista Zufan.

Visit our website for a printable parenting tip flyer on this subject. 

FCCS Insider: Simba Men Give Back

Simba's Men who ServeMembers of the Simba Mentoring Program Advisory Committee braved several inches of snow to spend the morning of January 17 at the Ronald McDonald House serving breakfast to families. The men manned the stoves and ovens, prepping and serving full breakfasts to twenty families who spend time at the nonprofit, while their children are dealing with serious health issues. This is the fourth annual visit to the Ronald McDonald House for the Simba men, who made the trip as part of a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

FCCS Adoptions Caseworker Deric Cobb accompanied the mentors during the outing and was happy to be part of the experience. “These families are going through a difficult time with a young child’s illness and any support or comfort that I can provide them is worth it, even if I have to drive through a level two snow emergency,” he said.

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