Fair connects David Douglas families with resources

See how many different agencies provided information about their services, at this unique event held by the David Douglas School District …

Families of students from the David Douglas School District learned about many different resources available to them at the Family Resource Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Hundreds of students, and their parents, took advantage of the annual event provided by the David Douglas School District: The East Portland Family Resource Fair.

After touring the fair ourselves, we talked with the woman in charge of this year’s event, Catherine Nyhan, school counselor, of the Fir Ridge Campus, David Douglas Schools.

“We have 54 agencies, representing all kinds of services, here,” Nyhan told us. “They are here to meet, and help, members of our community.”

Nyhan said this annual event is important, because students, and their parents, can learn what community resources are available. “As winter sets in, this is a good time for them to be able to access information about energy conservation, housing, and food services.”

At the Fir Ridge Campus, Nyhan continued, about 82% of the students are on programs for free or reduced-cost lunches. “In other words, we are in a high-poverty area. They need a lot of help right now. We help families find the resources they need. When a student comes from a stable family, they tend to do better in school.”

Shanley McLaughlin, counselor at Ron Russell Middle School, is greeted by Fir Ridge Campus principal Ron Knight, on her way into the Resource Fair.

Resources help school counselors
Staffmembers from other schools in the area–like Shanley McLaughlin, a counselor at Ron Russell Middle School in Powellhurst-Gilbert–told us that this fair helps them discover ways to help their student’s families. “Each year that I come to the fair, I learn about services that will help our students do better.”

As we continued our tour on Nov. 30, we saw folks learning where they could get energy assistance, find free and low-cost food and clothing resources, avail themselves of counseling resources, find out how to access local community colleges, and more.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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