Resource centers UNITE to help kids

The partnership between UNITE and Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC) is helping nearly 4,500 students across Knox County, as presented at the March 6 UNITE Coalition meeting.

Among the services FRYSC provides students include literacy material and events, family and child education, help with resumes and job applications, substance abuse education, mental health and family crisis support and even basics such as clothing, hygiene products and food.

Despite providing needed and beneficial services to help at-risk students break through barriers, their funding is facing cuts. This is after they already received a nearly eight percent cut, which took approximately $37,700 from the district as a whole.

“When we’re talking about funding, every year we’ve been cut. When I first started 27 years ago, we had $210 per kid with free lunch. Now we’re down to $172,” said Central Elementary FRYSC director Jimmy Walters. “It doesn’t sound like a whole lot but when you add it all together…that cuts into the programs we can offer the kids.”

Even though the programs face cuts and some schools are already working with a zero-dollar budget, they’re still doing everything they can to help the students.

“We are still doing everything we do without the money. We’re still making it happen someway,” said Lynn Camp FRYSC director Darya Logan.

This includes partnering with local groups such as UNITE and receiving community donations.

“It’s important to collaborate with your community partners to get the most bang for your buck. Since we have no bucks, we have to do everything we can to make sure we are providing for the kids in the best way that we can,” agreed Girdler Elementary FRYSC director Rita Wood.

If you would like to make a donation or help an FRYSC, contact the local school of your choice and ask for the FRYSC director.

In other UNITE news, the annual Fishing Tournament is scheduled for April 21 at Laurel Lake’s Grove Marina. Officials report there are 28 entries so far. KCEOC will hold a Career 3D Fair at Union College’s Robsion Arena on April 11 from 9 to 2 p.m.

The next UNITE meeting is scheduled for noon on April 10 at 2 Amigos.