Family Resource Center open house well attended


Colleen Slater, KP News

Pam Meeker and Diana Comfort, of the Gig Harbor YMCA, Doey Humphry, a teenager visiting her grandmother Vicki Biggs, who is with Childrens’ Home Society, one of the event’s sponsors, Tami Miller of the Family Resource Center, Marlies Van Cise, Bruce Macdonald, Betty Power and Drake Porter were part of the well attended Open House showing off the newly renovated quarters of the organization Feb. 18.Photo by Hugh McMillan

The Family Resource Center in Vaughn hosted an open house in February with more than 50 in attendance.

The FRC is an agency of the Children’s Home Society, which serves clients in Pierce County on this side of the bridge. The FRC client base has grown with the change in economy, and Morris says they’ve had to change their focus to some extent. The 2005 client base was 800. Last year they served nearly 1600 people. There are more people who have lost jobs and run out of resources. Many of these consider the FRC help a kind of loan, and when they are back on their feet, want to repay.

“The word crisis,” says program Manager Jud Morris, “comes from the Greek word krisis, and it means opportunity.”

When there is a crisis, there is the opportunity to look at things differently and to make different choices. Community networking among organizations and agencies allows them to see opportunities and make things happen to care for those in need.

“When I help people pay bills, it’s helping local businesses,” Morris says, and that in turn helps the local community. These FRC clients are consumers, and most are customers of businesses near where they live.

“We need to see how we can help each other,” he says.

The FRC in Vaughn has an advantage to be a tenant in the KP Civic Center.

“It’s an old building,” says Morris, “but we have minimal facility costs, so we can maximize our services.”

The FRC opened in Vaughn in 1995, with about 1,000 square feet of space. Various remodels, some recently completed, expanded their space to 1,500 square feet.

The facility occupies the basement rooms of the Key Peninsula Civic Center that was previously the Vaughn Union High School.

Former female students at the school might recognize the main storage space as the girls’ locker, shower, and bathrooms, but the boys’ area is totally transformed.

Windows and light colored walls of the staff room belie the former locker space. Morris’ office is a step up because the former shower floor drain still exists below the floor. The modern bathroom is a real change from the former facility.

The “interview room” next to the reception area now has an art display on a periwinkle wall, courtesy of local artist, Kathy Bauer.

“We’re now the Art Gallery of the Key Peninsula,” says Morris, adding that selected art has calming effects on the people who come in.

A former hallway, first used as a client interview space, is now a mini-lounge for a staff member or two.

The Group Room, a comfortable area for staff or client meetings, was constructed last year next to the current shop area of the building.

Major funding for the remodeling came from the Pierce County Council, with Terry Lee and KPCC board president Phil Bauer working together on the project.

CenturyTel donated the cost of materials and equipment for an updated telephone and messaging system with a grant to KPCC, with the understanding it would be used for the FRC remodel.

The FRC provides many programs to assist children and families in the area.

Parenting classes, home visits, pre-school Indoor Park, Little Buddies and Amigos mentoring, and summer fun for several weeks at different locations on the Key, are only a sampling.

“It might be our open house, but it's really honoring our staff and the families that we provide services for," said Morris. "It's all about the community," said Morris after the open house.