Organization holds open house to inform at-risk families about community reource

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COLUMBIA - An organization that aims to boost kids’ preparation for success in school held its first public event Friday to inform families about its role in the community.

First Chance For Children wanted to celebrate the season with an open house that included a ribbon cutting, trunk or treating, picture taking, crafting and snacking.

The goal of the fall open house was to bring mid-Missouri families together to tour and learn more about the services the organization provides the community.

“The point of the event today was to get the Columbia community out there, out here today and just bring them together and just show them our space, talk about our programs and let them know that this is a resource here in town. That no matter where you’re at on the parenting scale of things, that if you have a kiddo who's birth to age 3, this is a resource you can utilize and that we have programs that can help parents,” said Christina Gilbert, executive director.

Some of the resources are solely offered to families the organization serves, while others are open to everyone.

First Chance offers programs to provide newborn care items, safe cribs, and home visitations to families enrolled, but the Lend & Learn Toy Library is available for everyone.

Jessica Chapins and her son Samuel have been involved for a little over a year, and she said this is a great resource and the event is useful for families to get together to inform people about the organization.

“Getting to come to Lend & Learn is also a great experience for us because there are lots of toys and clothes for kids in need and they have diapers for families who are low income. So it's been a great resource for us, we like to come at least once a week if not more, and we get to play with friends and have snack time and have a great time while we are here,” Chapins said.

The Missouri Department of Social Services, Boone County Children’s Trust Fund and the Children’s Trust Fund of Missouri pays for the programs and parent education services.

This organization serves more than 250 families in eight counties in the state, including Boone.

It hopes this event will help the community realize the resources available and the importance of equipping school-bound children with the skills they need to succeed.

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