BUCKHANNON – The newly opened Mountain CAP Family Support Center will offer its first program presentation with “Jobs and Hope” at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7.
Located at 30 E. Main St. next to C.J. Maggie’s Restaurant, the Family Support Center opened its doors with an official Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting Monday, Oct. 31, and already two presentations are planned, the first of which is Nov. 7’s “Jobs and Hope.”
The “Jobs and Hope” seminar will provide an overview of resources for people in recovery or who have employment-related barriers, including free training and education, transportation assistance and childcare assistance. A second program presentation, “Workforce WV,” is set for 11:30 a.m. Nov. 15 and will focus on available services for job seekers, veterans, disabled veterans and employers, and refreshments will be served.
At Monday’s ribbon-cutting event, Kathy McMurray, executive director for Mountain CAP of West Virginia, said the family support centers are meant to make it easier to access Mountain CAP’s plethora of services.
“The family support centers are funded primarily through DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families, and there are 40 currently in the state and they hope to have one in every county,” McMurray said. “The Family Support Centers are intended to be resource hubs so that families can receive informal and formal services and referrals to community resources.”
The center will include people who specialize in grandfamilies and kinship care and an employment navigator that will help both employers and employees find jobs or connections to jobs.
“We really didn’t have a face of Mountain CAP or a place where people could easily access [resources] and come in for services, so they either had to call in or send an application – that sort of thing,” McMurray said. “Now they’ll be able to actually come into the center and access any services that Mountain CAP offers or any services that the community offers.”
Mountain CAP Family Support Center director Lise VanNostrand recently returned to the state of West Virginia to run the new center.
“I have oversight over everything we do in the center,” VanNostrand said. “Right now, we’re new and I am trying to make a lot of connections in the community and get a lot of input from community members to see exactly what people want and need here. We know we’re going to provide parenting classes, trainings, and employment navigation services, but a lot of the other things we’re going to provide are up to us, so we’re a blank slate right now and trying to come up with educational opportunities.”
VanNostrand said she was aware of Mountain CAP before stepping into her new role, but she was not as familiar with the specifics of their programs as she should have been.
“That’s how I discovered we need more representation in the community because when we got out in the community, there are only certain parts of Mountain CAP that people are familiar with and others not so much,” VanNostrand said.
The hours of the center have not been set in stone and will most likely fluctuate based on programs, presentations and classes.
“I have presentations lined up starting next week, and we’re probably going to have nontraditional hours at least several days out of the week, up to evening hours, to make sure we can accommodate folks who want to attend events after work,” VanNostrand said. “We just haven’t come up with an official schedule yet, but our first event is on Monday with ‘Jobs and Hope’ and we’re having that at 5 p.m. and will probably stay open until 7 p.m. If we want to draw in the adolescent population, then we need to stay open after school as well.”
The Family Support Center does not have its own Facebook page yet, but upcoming programs can be found on Mountain CAP of West Virginia’s Facebook page.