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Center reaching children in need

HELP FOR CENTER — A donation from the community partnership program at Encino Energy will help the Family Recovery Center provide resilience bags to families in Jefferson and Columbiana counties. On hand for Wednesday’s presentation were Jackie Stewart, director of external affairs for Encino, left, and Ashley Wilson of the center. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Family Recovery Center Prevention Department has been reaching vulnerable children in Jefferson and Columbiana counties by distributing “Resilience Bags.”

The bags have strategically been placed at food banks, children services and various other similar agencies in an effort to reach the most at-risk families. The content of these resilience bags has included journals, puzzles, various board games for the family, coloring books, crayons, pens, pencils and ideas for families to do while social distancing.

Officials said the most important items in the packet are the resources for parents that stress the parent/child relationship qualities that are important in youth development, such as key elements of strong parent — youth relationships, developmental assets, ways to support a child’s mental health and crisis information. By providing these parent resources and items, center officials say they are assisting families in coping with stress and anxiety which will make them stronger as well as the people they care about and the community.

Studies show that adversity during childhood, including adversity stemming from natural disasters, can have lasting impacts on children’s social emotional health. Children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact of traumatic events that disrupt their daily lives. While most children eventually return to their typical functioning when they receive consistent support from sensitive and responsive caregivers, others are at risk of developing significant mental health problems, including trauma-related stress, anxiety and depression.

The center, officials said, seeks to help continue to reach as many at-risk children and families as possible. While it has already distributed more than 2,600 resilience bags, there still are many at-risk families that need to be reached. They said they cannot take for granted that all families have these resources available or that all parents understand or know how to develop these healthy, meaningful relationships with their children especially under stressful situations.

Officials said the center has teamed up with children services case workers through the Department of Jobs and Family Services in both counties and hopes to be able to provide the resilience bags for each family in their caseload. Staff members also are reaching out to each school district in both counties to provide them with resilience bags to distribute to their most vulnerable families as well.

Family Recovery Center received a donation from Encino Energy through its community partnership program on Wednesday.

“Encino was thrilled to partner with the Family Recover Center Prevention Department to help vulnerable children and celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month,” said Jackie Stewart, director of external affairs for Encino. “The protection of our environment and the health and safety of the communities in which we live and work is paramount to Encino’s core values and really is the heart of our community partnership program. As we continue to navigate these waters as a state, country and world, we want to simply encourage everyone to continue to be safe. Be hopeful. Be kind. We will get through this together.”

Those who are interested in receiving information about the bags or who would like to donate toward the efforts to reach additional families throughout the area can contact the center office at (740) 283-4946.

Family Recovery Center continues to serve and accept new clients in Steubenville and Lisbon and Naloxone is available upon request. For information, call (740) 283-4946 or (740) 424-1468.

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