BRISTOL - The Bristol City Council welcomed Linda Rich, director of the Bristol Family Resource Center, Tuesday as she explained what her non-profit can offer for local children.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Rich addressed the Council for its “Non-Profit Spotlight.”
“136 children benefitted from our Food Bag Backpack program this school year,” said Rich. “Studies have shown that students have less of an ability to concentrate on school work when they’re wondering where they’ll get their next meal.”
Rich also explained that the Family Resource Center helps assist students with developmental delays through their “Ages and Stages” program. She said that some delays come from lack of motor skills due to parents not giving them exposure to, for example, how to hold a pencil. If these deficiencies are addressed, they can prevent children from becoming special education students. Family Resource Center also runs groups dedicated to building social skills, impulse control, emotion management and making friends.
“If they become special education students the cost of their education doubles,” said Rich. “This program can save $12,000 per year per student we help.”
Rich explained that many students struggle due to a breakdown of family and alcohol and drug abuse found below the poverty level. Family Resource Center has established an emergency fund to assist with parents who are struggling to meet immediate basic needs.
“A strong partnership between schools, families and the community is our mission,” concluded Rich.
Those who wish to donate to the Family Resource Center can write a check to the Board of Education with a note “For Family Resource Center.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Rep. Chris Ziogas gave an update on the Memorial Boulevard school renovation project. He said that Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed off on state grant money that will pay for 68 percent of the $54 million project, which comes to roughly $37 million.
“This is an outstanding building with great architecture that is worth saving,” said Ziogas. “This is a great opportunity for the City of Bristol. Now, the ball is in your court.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.