WFRC now open with full schedule of programs and services
“We are using some ideas that previously worked well and we think are important to continue and we are introducing some new programs,” said Elizabeth Krier, the director of the WFRC.
The Coffee Club was reinstated along with Mystery Baby Showers, Toddler Time and the Toy Lending Library. New on the weekly calendar is a Ladies Walking Club, Expecting Mom’s Club, a Senior Tea and Chat and a support group for parents of children with disabilities.
In addition to the weekly programs the WFRC will schedule special events and workshops. The first community event is a spaghetti dinner and raffle on Tuesday evening, Mar. 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to reintroduce the center to the community and get input on what type of services Westwood area residents would like to see offered.
Future workshops include one focused on developing skills needed to earn a general education diploma, which is equivalent to the degree given to a high school graduate, and a second on job search skills with an emphasis on resume writing and interviewing techniques.
During its weekly hours of operation, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, people will be able to drop by to use the fax machine, copier, computer, and obtain information about services offered by county agencies and other organizations and get help filling out forms.
While the WFRC formerly focused on families with children ages zero to five due to its source of funding, it has no age restrictions now.
“Our community is small so we need to open our doors to the entire population and that is what we are trying to do,” said Krier.
To meet the needs of people of all ages, the WFRC has two people assisting Krier. They are Sharon Booth, the adult program coordinator, and Melissa Huntsman, the youth program coordinator.
Booth said she has given a questionnaire to senior citizens to determine what programs they would like to see offered at the WFRC and she plans to send a questionnaire to members of organizations such as the PTSA and PTA.
Huntsman will have her hands full running the after school program in partnership with the Lassen County Office of Education until school adjourns for the summer. The program will operate from 3 to 6 p.m. and all elementary school age children can attend. It will have an education component, offering help with homework, as well as activities and nutritional snacks. It is not yet up and running.
The WFRC was able to reopen its doors by forming a partnership with South Lassen County, creating Communities United for Children and Families, a nonprofit agency that provides oversight for the Westwood center as well as Fort Sage Family Resource Center in Herlong.
The non-profit agency has three representatives from each community and one from Susanville to provide a balanced voting structure. While Westwood and South County share governance of Communities United for Children and Families, as well as some expenses and services such as bookkeeping and insurance, the centers operate separately.
The Westwood center received $75,000 from the Lassen County Board of Supervisors but this support will end June 2007. Therefore Krier is actively looking for grant funding to continue services. She is currently applying for a grant that will provide money to operate a summer program for children at Westwood Community Park.
“That is something that is vital. When school is out we need to have something for the children to do,” said Krier.
In addition she hopes to get support from local businesses to run a weeklong Kindergarten Camp to help preschoolers prepare to start school.
While finding funds is a part of her job it is not her primary focus, however the Westwood representatives for Communities United for Children and Families will actively seek and apply for grant funding too. They include Peggy Fulder, Anita Zavala and Hilda Morlang.
“We have a board dedicated to getting funding. In addition, this time we don’t have administrative overhead,” said Huntsman, who worked as an administrative assistant at the former WFRC.
Huntsman is a Westwood High graduate, class of 1995, who decided to remain in the area. She has two children and one on the way.
Krier, too, is a graduate of Westwood High, class of 1996 who moved back two years ago. She said she and her husband chose to move to Westwood to raise their family. With a bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies, Kier said her objective was to do public service work as well as work with youth, and the job at the WFRC is well suited to her goals.
Booth moved to Chester from San Jose 12 years ago and has held an array of positions working for Plumas County, the school system and contractors. She has two daughters and is a grandmother.
For a schedule of programs offered at the WFRC call 256-3000 or drop by the location at 500 Delwood, at the north end of Fletcher Walker Elementary.
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