Print    Close This Window
Heights Family Resource Center Opens For District Families In Need
May 31, 2024 -- The Deborah Delisle Educational Options Center, located in the geographic center of the Heights community, is quickly becoming a hub of district resources. Friday, May 17 saw the soft opening of the latest: The Heights Family Resource Center.

This is more than a place where families can stop in to pick up needed household items, toiletries, shoes, clothing or school supplies -- though it is definitely that. It is also a central location for learning and connecting. 

Located inside the Delisle Building, in a space previously used for GED and Adult Learning (which has moved to a nearby room that better meets their needs), the HFRC has cabinets filled with everything from toothpaste and shaving cream to laundry detergent, gently used clothing, and notebooks and backpacks. There’s even a designated changing area so that families can try on clothes before bringing them home, something often lacking in donation centers. “This brings dignity to the experience,” said the district’s Family Engagement Specialist Lisa Hunt, who was instrumental in bringing the Center to life. 

Working alongside Supervisor of Community and School Partnerships Nancy Peppler, Oxford’s Community Learning Center coordinator Sabrina Ollie, and Noble’s CLC coordinator Tenille Threatt, the group visited similar spaces across Ohio and as far away as Kansas. “It became clear that this was what we needed,” said Superintendent Liz Kirby before the ribbon cutting. 

While several district buildings have had smaller clothing or food pantries, those take up limited learning space and can even pose fire risks. The new space is designed just for this purpose and includes a learning or gathering area with tables and chairs, coffee and water, and resources about everything from child development to job opportunities to financial assistance. “I can’t wait to see what we do here,” said Hunt, who envisions both formal parenting workshops and informal opportunities for connection.

“Superintendent Kirby has been adamant that this is more about resources and support than just items,” said Peppler. The Center’s work is guided by the Five Protective Factors of the Strengthening Families Approach: parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. 

“We are constantly reworking our mission in adherence to those principals,” said Hunt. The concrete support is obvious even at the soft opening. The social connections and parental knowledge of parenting and child development will come when the Center opens on a bigger scale this fall. It’s the “parental resilience” piece that is perhaps most exciting to those involved.

“What do people have to offer?” asked Threatt, who’s new to the district and excited to aid in making connections between families. “It’s helpful to know what the needs are. But also for parents to have a chance to say ‘What else can I do?’”

Monticello’s PTA President Patrice Martin-Bonner agreed, saying “This is a great tool to engage Monti families, bring awareness to all that CH-UH has to offer, and allow them to feel involved.”

With plans to bring building principals, PTA presidents, and community leaders to tour the space, the possibilities for social connection and collaboration are endless. The Delisle Building already features multiple overlapping resources, including registration for incoming students, GED classes, and ESL education. 

“We look at the Heights as a resource-rich place,” said Hunt. “But how do families access it?” The answer is now clear: they go to the Heights Family Resource Center.

The Center’s official grand opening will be on Saturday, August 10. Donations can be made through the Heights Schools Foundation, which allows Center staff to purchase needed items most efficiently. Future donation drives will also be available.