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KSBA donates 80,000 cloth masks to state's Family Resource and Youth Services Centers

Kentucky School Advocate
October 2020

By Josh Shoulta
Staff writer

KSBA, in partnership with the National School Boards Association and the KSBA Educational Foundation, donated 80,000 cloth masks last month to public school students in Kentucky.

The masks were given to the state’s Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs), a division of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, ensuring they will find their way into the hands of some of the state’s most vulnerable students and families.

“Our goal, from day one, was to distribute these masks to some of our Commonwealth’s most underserved communities,” said KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling. “We could not think of better partners to help us do that than the dedicated women and men of Kentucky’s Family Resource and Youth Services Centers.”

80,000 colorful cloth masks like the ones seen here were donated by KSBA, to be distributed to students through Kentucky’s FRYSCs.

 The masks were made available to FRYSCs ahead of Sept. 28, the date when most of Kentucky’s school districts returned to in-person instruction for the first time since March. While the pandemic has limited in-person programming on school grounds, it has only increased the need for many of the critical services provided to families by FRYSCs, said state FRYSC Director Melissa Goins.“It is well documented that this is a time of increased stress and anxiety for many of our families. While we can’t take away viruses, grief, racial trauma, and the other things impacting our students, we can connect with students via home visits and calls, coordinate safe opportunities for students to engage in pro-social activities, and do our level best to get them what they need to engage in virtual learning,” she said. “We can do things to mitigate the impact of the 2020 experience. It is our responsibility.”A responsibility, Schelling said, that is not lost on Kentucky’s 857 school board members.

“As our FRYSCs strive for educational equity and as they assist families to overcome non-academic hurdles, we hope these masks can play a small role in their continued success,” she said.

Those hurdles have become even more daunting in the wake of COVID-19. Luckily, Kentucky’s network of 857 FRYSCs, operating in 1,200 schools statewide, makes resources available to more than 600,000 students and their families.

“Social and emotional challenges, past and re-occurring trauma, and certain family and economic situations can have an impact on student learning and success in school,” Goins said. “In Kentucky, we are fortunate to have a dedicated place in our educational system that focuses on these barriers to learning as an equally important part of student success.”

Photo: KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling (left) presents the masks to Melissa Goins, director of the Division of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, which will oversee delivery of the boxes containing 80,000 cloth masks for Kentucky public school students.

For more information on Kentucky’s Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, including ways to support FRYSCs, visit chfs.ky.gov.

Click the download below for information on how FRYSCs have responded to COVID-19.

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