Family Resource Center offers "one-stop shop" for assistance

Wakefield Family Resource Center

Posted April 29, 2015

Tucson Unified School District families looking for assistance now have a truly "one-stop shop" available to them as the district celebrated the opening of its first Family Resource Center. This new beginning is also giving new life to the former Wakefield Middle School on 44th Street near 6th Ave.

Wakefield closed in 2013, and since then most of the historic building has been empty, except for building A, which has been leased to Higher Ground and serves as a community center and after-school program.

Now as you park around back and enter the building, a large banner with the word "welcome" in more than a dozen languages greets families. What was once a science lab for seventh- and eighth-graders has been transformed into a small boutique. It's organized by size and includes backpacks, shoes, uniforms and even a table of jewelry and accessories donated by Tucson Unified School District's Food Services department.

Director Shirley Sokol and her team donated their time and talents to the corner and have dubbed it the "Spice Rack" to add spice to the outfits of teen girls and perhaps their moms, who might be looking to put together a suit for a job interview.

Other services to be offered at the center include classes, health care referrals, a dry food pantry and more. Information about classes will be posted on the Family Center webpages, which will be available soon.

The Family Resource Center is about community said Director Alma Iniguez. "This is a building that has history in the community. I'm so glad that we're opening this building, and so are our families."

Tucson Unified School District Board Member Cam Juárez told the crowd gathered for the midday open house Wednesday. "The saying, 'It takes a village' is prominent here. This is part of who we are as human beings, taking care of one another. I'm proud to serve on this board."

Board member Mike Hicks was also present to greet parents and participate in the opening of this new resource center for our families.

Dr. H.T. Sánchez, Superintendent of Tucson Unified School District, also spoke to the crowd, delivering his comments in Spanish as many in the crowd were listening to the event with the assistance of a translator. In his Spanish comments, he emphasized that meeting the needs of the community includes meeting them where they are.

"Cuando la gente en una comunidad se levanta y toma a cargo de su futuro, ellos proveen oportunidades para muchos que no tienes la fuerza para levantarse por sí mismos. Este Centro de Recursos de Familia es un bello ejemplo de una comunidad haciendo precisamente eso."

In English: "When people in a community rise up and take charge of their future, they provide opportunity for many who don't have the strength to rise up on their own accord. This Family Resource Center is a beautiful example of a community doing just that," said Dr. Sánchez.

Community Partners include GAP Ministries, Pima County Health Dept., I Am You 360, Make Way for Books and more.

Families in need can visit Wakefield Family Resource Center Monday through Friday for referrals and other assistance. Call ahead for an appointment at (520) 232-7058. Members of the community wishing to donate to the clothing bank can also call to ensure staff is available to receive their donations.

The Family Resource Center at Wakefield is the first of four planned centers that will span the community. TUSD also has a clothing bank at the Duffy Family Center located at 655 N. Magnolia Ave. The center is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and welcomes donations.

 Director Alma Iniguez
Center director Alma Iniquez delivers the welcome address.
 Clothing Bank Coordinator Elga Torres
Clothing Bank Coordinator Elga Torres talks with parents.
Clothing Bank Coordinator, Elga Torres; Food Service Director, Shirley Sokol; FS Admin Coordinator, Lindsay Aguilar
Elga Torres, Shirley Sokol, FS Admin Coordinator, Lindsay Aguilar, show the "Spice Rack". 
 Dr. Sánchez
Dr. Sánchez greets parents.
 Dr. Sánchez
Community Partners "Make Way For Books" share resources.
 Dr. Sánchez
Dr. Sánchez delivers a bilingual address to the crowd.

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