The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South to open new family-oriented facility

The+Family+Empowerment+Center+on+South+Campus+is+currently+under+construction+and+will+open+April+27.+Photo+by+Alice+Hale%2FThe+Collegian%0A
The Family Empowerment Center on South Campus is currently under construction and will open April 27. Photo by Alice Hale/The Collegian

By Karen Gavis/editor-in-chief

The Family Empowerment Center on South Campus will celebrate its grand opening April 27 in conjunction with the launch of the college’s new “TCC and Me” advertising campaign.

“This is something that has been several years in the making,” said South Campus vice president of continuing education Gladys Emerson during a presentation to the board of trustees. “We now have a dedicated facility for the Family Empowerment Center.”

The Family Empowerment Center on South Campus is currently under construction and will open April 27. Photo by Alice Hale/The Collegian
The Family Empowerment Center on South Campus is currently under construction and will open April 27. Photo by Alice Hale/The Collegian

Along with its programs, the facility features conference and training rooms as well as advising and counseling rooms and a child watch area.

The watch area is not a child care facility where children can be left, Emerson said, but rather a place where children can be watched while their parents are on the premises filling out paperwork or speaking with counselors.

Various programs will offer assistance in areas such as financial literacy, health and wellness and short-term occupational training. Other services include savings account programs, bus tokens, credit counseling and free income tax preparation.

Emerson said volunteers on South Campus filed 189 income tax returns for 2012 resulting in $325,028 in refunds. Of those, nine families chose to participate in savings programs.

An oil and gas production certificate program may begin this fall, and the center hopes to eventually add free legal services. Also, South Campus community outreach specialist Nicole Minor said a proposed money school will involve a future partnership with the United Way to address the college’s financial literacy initiative and will open once funds become available.

The Family Empowerment Center is a collective effort involving many community sponsors.

Everyone has heard stories of how students have to miss or drop classes because they cannot afford gas or child care, South Campus President Peter Jordan said during the presentation.

“They’re dealing with food and housing problems, they are in abusive relationships or they may be facing legal challenges,” he said.

Jordan thanked Emerson and the TCC team for executing the vision that aims to improve student retention.

While attending a concept meeting in 2010, Emerson did not realize she would be as heavily involved in the program’s implementation as she has. Although many ideas surfaced during initial talks, Emerson said she specifically recalls Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley’s desire to aid the community’s underserved.

Afterward, a proposal was crafted and shopped around to potential donors, and now the vision occupies a prominent spot on South Campus, where it serves as a welcoming hub, Emerson said.

Women in New Roles program coordinator Triesha Light said she supports the Family Empowerment Center by referring students to its services.

“It is going to be wonderful,” she said.

For more information or to register for the districtwide open house event, visit the college’s website at www.tccd.edu.

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