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’s new family center assists public with GEDs, taxes, parenting

By Mona Lisa Tucker/south news editor

The Family Empowerment Center, a variety of social services uniting on South Campus to assist low-income families, is up and running.

The center is a concept that started four years ago during a conversation vice president of continuing education Gladys Emerson had with former South President Ernest Thomas, Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley and donors, Emerson said.

In a meeting, the group pondered ways to leverage resources and connect with others in the community who have mutual goals for helping low socioeconomic groups, she said.

“It would be something dynamic, something fluid that would be changing according to the needs of the community,” she said.

Ultimately, they began talking to partners such as the United Way and Catholic Charities, whom they have had relationships with for 15-20 years, Emerson said.

With various programs relocating to TR Campus, space became available, so the idea was pursued.

“This has always been the campus where we have incubated community programs for a number of reasons because of its locale and, certainly, access to public transportation,” Emerson said. 

Now available are free GED classes and The Money Store, which is a bundle of financial education sessions. All run concurrently in English and Spanish.

More components such as Parenting 101, exercise and nutrition and tax preparation classes will be added in January, Emerson said.

Vice president of academic affairs Jo Bagley thinks the center will present opportunities for families to get into the educational system.

“They can improve the quality of their lives in the community and be contributing citizens in the community,” she said. “It’s really a unique idea that has come about based on the clientele that South Campus serves. We know that there are people out there in the community that the college doesn’t serve at this time who could use our services and our support.”

Bagley said she hopes to meet those needs through the center.

“They have to have an interest,” she said. “We’ll start with that. It’s something that is very broad-based. It’s very open. It’s inclusive, and anybody who would like to see what education can do for them is welcome to come to it.

“And we’ll work with them to see what their needs are and how we can address them, but we want to go at this from a very broad-base type of approach. So we’re interested in anybody who’s interested in coming to us.”

South student Keely Sherpinskas, vice president of service for Phi Theta Kappa, said her group is trying to help the center in any way it can.

“We would like to be able to at least supply people on a consistent basis to help volunteer within the office,” she said.

 

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