Community Activation

Family Resource Center Coming to Wilsona School District

By Shirley Harriman

A grant was provided by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention of the State of California. (OCAP). The terms and conditions are Strong Communities Program grantees will be expected to establish Family Resource Centers or expand existing Family Resources Centers through the establishment of a new regional branch in unserved regions or neighborhoods, to provide family support programs/services. Grantees will increase activities, supports, and services especially for families and communities that have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and other stressors, including black, brown, indigenous, migrant, and LGBTQ+ children and families, and rural communities.

Agencies across California were asked to apply, out of all the agencies that submitted a proposal, 5 were chosen, and 1 was chosen due to their work in indigenous tribal lands, the other four that were selected included SBCC.

SBCC, Strength Based Community Change, was awarded the grant which is also referred to as the OCAP grant. The Family Resource Center (FRC) that will materialize from this grant will be on the campus of Wilsona School District located on 170th Street East in Lake Los Angeles.

Presenting the vision of a FRC to the WSD Board of Trustees pictured is Erika Schwerdt, SBCC Program Manager and Gaby Leyva, SBCC Director of Community Organizing for the Antelope Valley. Also pictured are the board members, and Mrs. Debbie Lopez, Chief Academic Officer and Superintendent Suzie Andreas-Bervel.

SBCC will build trust within the community. SBCC will exclusively deal with authenticity and their partnerships which are more than working relationships, but those that understand the needs for being a family. SBCC is creating a calendar for other Community Based Organizations (CBO) to have space to serve the residents of the area. The barrier of not having a location for those services is removed.  CBOs that are eager to bring resources to the area will now have the space and time to bring their services to our community.

Mrs. Leyva said,

"SBCC helps support the establishment of various community groups through our Neighborhood Action Council (NAC) programs, and we don't dictate what projects they should work on, we allow them to express what they want to advocate in their communities. We guide folks on what they want to work on, provide them with the tools so that these groups can thrive and advocate on their own for the wellbeing of their communities. We have been working in the Antelope Valley for over 15 years, and in the greater LA County areas for over 48 years. It is great to finally bring all of SBCC to the Antelope Valley, not just the Community Organizing department."

A presentation introducing SBCC to the District and the community included Who is SBCC? and a brief history of work done throughout the County as well as the Antelope Valley. SBCC mobilizes the power of communities to fight for social justice and equity/equality. Neighborhood Action Councils (NAC) and Preschool Without Walls (PWW) are outstanding successes that have a track record in the valley. Specifically in Lake Los Angeles, there are I-Heart Lake LA, Crocheting for a Cause and PWW.

Included in SBCC goals are to expand SBCC, provide core family support, create family engagements, sustain, manage and permanently be in the community. The FRC will encourage families to participate and understand through the lens of the SBCC’s Social Determination of Health. Mrs. Leyva emphasized commitment to Lake Los Angeles saying,

“Some programs leave when funding is gone. We are not going away.”

Workshops, classes, collaborative meetings led by community members will boost knowledge, skills and health.

SBCC looks forward to what the possibilities hold for our rural community when we are all connected with a common goal to alleviate poverty, support healthy community relationships, develop mental health support systems as well as give our children a healthy start.  

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