Family Engagement Liaisons (FELs) bridge the gap that often exists between students and service providers.
“We are the bridge and the backbone when it comes to NSC students, staff, and families” explained Frondel Green, one of the Family Engagement Liaisons.
FELs work with students and their families to identify needs, ranging from housing and food to clothing, school supplies, and social-emotional support. Because they work so closely with students and their families, FELs are uniquely positioned to tailor services to their needs.
“We're not there to help improve reading scores or math scores,” stated Carrie Collins, Director of Education for Beyond Housing, which runs the FELs program. “We're there so that all those things that prevent the district from being able to do that effectively are eliminated. It's our intent to remove all the barriers that prevent students and their families from having the most positive experiences in schools as possible.”
Several Network-supported services and coalition members collaborate with FELs to serve students and their families. For example, the National Council of Jewish Women provided over 400 coats and 400 uniforms to students through their Kids’ Community Closets program. Also, last year alone, Sneakers with Soul donated over 2300 pairs of new athletic shoes for NSC children. Finally, every year, Operation Food Search’s Operation Backpack program provides over 50,000 weekend meals to local families through the school district.
“The goal is ready-to-learn,” explained Regina Marsh, Director of Community Partnerships and Engagement for the NSC. “We want our students fed, we want them clothed, we want them comfortable, we want them safe and ready to learn. If a student doesn’t have those essential things, they’re not going to be ready to learn. This community truly takes a stand in making sure that our students have what they need in order to be successful in school, and it’s very unusual to have that kind of wraparound support in our community, serving our students.”