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Fifth annual Families in Transition Resource Fair helps homeless students and families

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The 5th Annual Families in Transition (F.I.T.) Resource Fair was held on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at Carver Middle School’s Cafeteria from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Homeless students and their families received invitations to attend this event from Lake County Schools’ Title I Department.  Community partners, charitable organizations, government agencies, Lake County Schools Title I, ESE, and Student Services Departments, and additional volunteers were on hand to help our vulnerable families enjoy several hours of free outreach services, resources, referrals, and donations.

 

Free resources provided to families at this year’s fair included:

  • Technology training for parents and students to learn about and navigate iStation and iReady
  •   Health Department vision and hearing screenings
  • Reading Corner with free books and stuffed toys
  • New winter jacket/coat, crafts, and haircuts for children
  • Post-Secondary opportunities for students and parents
  • Medicaid and Florida KidCare health insurance
  • Glucose Screenings by the Orange Blossom Gardens Lions Club
  • Employment opportunities and job training information for parents and youth
  • Lunch, drinks, and snacks
  • $10 gas cards and bags of cleaning supplies/paper products for each participating homeless family
  • Door prizes, including:  Gift cards from Target, Publix, AMC Theaters, Walmart, Papa John’s; meal cards from Sonic and Chick-fil-A, two children’s bicycles with helmets, gift baskets, and a handmade quilt.

 

Families and students arrived early and enthusiastically participated in a Scavenger Hunt that prompted them to visit community partner tables and start a conversation.  The families were very appreciative of the variety of services and resources provided.  This year, families from 33 different Lake County school sites attended the fair.  Our total participation with community partners, volunteers, and Lake County Schools’ staff was 341 persons.

 

Parents had the opportunity to complete a survey during lunch to help us plan for and improve future resource fairs.  All 44 adults who completed the survey were allowed to select a door prize.

 

Feedback from participants included the following:

 “I liked that everything was focused on the children and their education.” – Parent

 “It is extremely important for families that you continue to have these type of events.  I am grateful to be a part of this activity.” – Parent

 “What an awesome event for our community! Such a need, so many lives touched.  Caring for the least of these in our community shows the concern of love for all.  Thank you for the opportunity to share in giving back and to serve others who so many times are forgotten.  I believe the needs were met in a variety of ways in abundance.” – Community Partner

 “I was pleased to see the large number of community partners at this event.  Many of the families were very engaged – asking questions, listening to the presentations and participating.” – Community Partner

 “I was super excited to see the families benefiting from the resources available and to see the children being proactive with completing the scavenger hunt.  It was a very great experience.  I felt blessed.  Thank you for inviting us!” – Community Partner