Marana program helps struggling families - The Explorer: News

Marana program helps struggling families

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Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 4:00 am

Earlier this month, Arizona Youth Partnership (AzYP), Interfaith Community Services (ISC) and Open Doors Community School celebrated their joint-operation in Marana with an open house and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Together, the three organizations will bring education opportunities, afterschool programs, employment assistance, and relationship-building programs to those living in Marana and the surrounding areas.

The three groups are housed under the same roof at 13644 N. Sandario Rd.

Bonnie Kampa, who is the executive director of ICS, was at the ribbing-cutting event and spoke about how this uniting of the three organizations will better the community and its people. 

She said they saw people, who were in financial crisis going to the community food bank and were looking for financial assistance. ICS then started to look at ways to better assist these people and to help them not only in the immediate moment, but to then help them to the point where they would no longer need assistance with money and food.

“This is a wonderful example of partnership and real collaboration,” Kampa said. “Our staffs are working together and our volunteers are working together. 

“The idea is if you build the communication skills and the self-sufficiency of families, we’re helping kids. We are building futures for families.”

At the root of the financial problems families face, ICS looks to assist them with food, job assistance, and emergency financial assistance. 

“For us, it is about helping people be independent and get back on their feet,” Kampa said. And now, with having an ICS office closer to those who live in Marana, it is “a real plus for this community.”

While assisting the parents, with the joint-operation, AzYP looks to work with the kids and help them fight poverty while building healthy, self-sufficient youth and families with prevention programs and community involvement through its non-profit school, Open Doors Community School, which is a charter school.

Daniel Stoltzfus, who is the executive director for AzYP, is happy to expand the organization’s range of resources. AzYP began being implementing its programs in 1995 with after school programs, drug awareness programs and teen pregnancy prevention programs. 

“We realized through a strategic process with our board that really a charter school would give us an amazing opportunity to kind of integrate all of that into where we could serve families but also really make a difference with students in terms of academic results,” Stolzfus said.

Realizing that a lot of things in a child’s home needs to take place for them to succeed academically, the partnership with ICS will help make those changes.

“This gives us an opportunity to put that all together in one building, that is kind of a one-stop-shop for youth and families,” he said.

The school, which had construction completed in August, now has about 50 students come by each day between 2 and 5 p.m. for the after school program. That time coincides with when the resource center will be open to help families with job assistance.

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