SHINE program hosts resource night for local families

Last Tuesday, Luzerne County SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) hosted a resource night for families and members of the community.

The event featured representatives from a dozen social service agencies including: The Domestic Violence Service Center, Catholic Social Services, Volunteers in Medicine, Victims Resource Center, Children’s Service Center, CEO, Fortis, Advantage, Pennsylvania CareerLink, Luzerne County Community College, and Maternal and Family Health Services.

The agencies provided information to families in a variety of ways. The Victims Resource Center provided an information table ran by one of their prevention education specialists who talked with families and provided handouts. These handouts listed all of the areas covered by the center and reminded families that the services at the center are confidential.

The Beacon/Sean Schmoyer
Stephan Moore, Jennifer Haasz and 5-year old Josiah Haasz speak with Eryka Vargas, prevention education specialist at the Victims Resource Center about the confidential nature of the VRC and the services available to families.

CEO, the Commission on Economic Opportunity, provided a kid’s activity, a diabetes prevention program and screening for prediabetes for adults.

The family resource night also offered families a chance to learn about services such as WIC, safety, dental and counseling services. It also offered information on obtaining a GED, financial literacy, health and nutrition, technical schools and self-sufficiency.

The event was managed by Erin Maloney, SHINE’s family resource coordinator.

“I help parents get connected to local resources around the community. I felt that by bringing all of these resources it would be easier to get families connected,” Maloney continued. “Usually, I send home papers to them but I felt face-to-face contact would be beneficial. Sometimes it is hard for families to figure out how to get started, this is a way to help them by saying ‘here is Fortis’ and how to get in contact with them.”

Maloney also helps in the centers SHINE provides through social-emotional learning, which she helps oversee.

“I really enjoy helping people. I went to school for rehabilitation human services, so I knew I wanted to work in a field where I could help people become successful in whatever they want to do,” Maloney said.

Luzerne County SHINE at Wilkes University provides students from first to fourth grade with after-school services. The centers operate four days a week and the program focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum.

“SHINE is important because it gives kids the opportunity to learn outside of school as well. They go to school all day and then when they go home they may not have anything academic to do. But if they go to SHINE they can have STEM-based activities, they get a hot meal and 25 minutes of homework help as well,” said Maloney.