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Give Care Share: Family Enrichment Center

In 1977, a group of concerned Bowling Green citizens joined together to form an agency focused on preventing child abuse and aiding families in caring for their children. Now, 41 years later, Family Enrichment Center (FEC) serves more than 1,300 adults and children annually by continuing that same mission.

“Family Enrichment Center believes parents are capable of caring for and fostering growth in their children when provided with education, support and skill-building opportunities,” said FEC Director of Programs Lynn Hulsey. “With these resources, all parents can prevent or cease abusive relationships and provide nurturing, loving environments that allow their children and families to reach their highest potential and stop the generational cycle of violence.”

FEC provides a variety of education and services to local families in need. In terms of public awareness, FEC works during Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month each April to lead efforts in the community to educate and provide awareness around the topic of child abuse. This includes distributing blue ribbons and pinwheels to raise awareness. FEC also organizes Blue Sunday within the faith community and coordinates Wear Blue Day.

FEC also offers the following services to the community:
• Supervised Visitation Program – This program provides supervised visitation to families that have experienced some sort of family crisis.
• Wee Care – This service provides high quality, affordable childcare to local families who may meet risk factors that could lead to harm to their children. The program is a licensed childcare and early learning center.
• Parent Education Classes – This free service helps parents learn healthy behaviors through twelve-week, self-help courses. For the past 21 years, FEC has provided classes utilizing The Nurturing Program by Stephen Bavolek.
• Parent Support Group – This free service provided groups that are held once a month, this group is peer-led and aims to allow parents the opportunity to express concerns and gain knowledge from others.
• Safe Spots – This program uses Safe Spot stickers throughout the community to allow children to know where they can seek help if they feel they are in danger. This program has allowed FEC to gain valuable partnerships in the area.
• Adoption Resource Program – This service recruits foster/adoptive families and aids them before and after adoptions take place with training, resources and crisis prevention
• Parents as Teachers – This nationwide program empowers parents to be their child’s very first teacher through activities, child development information and health screenings. We partner with local schools to provide this free service to make sure children are meeting their developmental milestones and are prepared to learn when they enter Kindergarten.

These programs provide a way to help families in crisis, no matter their social or economic backgrounds, because despite what some may think, child abuse can occur in many different settings.

“I feel like the biggest misconception in our work is that only poor, uneducated families struggle,” Hulsey said. “Children do not come with instructions and we find that parents parent the way they were parented, whether that be good or bad. We just want to be a resource to help families be the best they can be.”

FEC is funded through a variety of grants, fees and fundraising events. The organization fundraises through the annual Run/Walk for Children, the Venetian Ball, Mud Happens, Buckets of Hope and a new fundraiser, Jammin’ at the Barn, their newest fundraiser which is partnership with Chaney’s Dairy Barn and Dizzorderly Conduct. Community members can help FEC by raising funds through sponsorship of an event, volunteering at events or signing up to participate.

Last year, FEC has employed 23 people and recruited 475 volunteers who donated 3,571 hours of service. “We welcome volunteers to come and work with our children at Wee Care, help around the office and, most often, to volunteer for special projects such as fundraisers or agency needs,” Hulsey said.

Leading the efforts is Nickie Jones who serves as the FEC Executive Director. She started with the agency in 2003, after working as the Family Resource Coordinator for North Warren Elementary.

“Nickie sees this work, not just as a job, but as a mission to make great families so children can be the best they can be,” Hulsey said. “The agency has grown under Nickie’s guidance.

We are now offering services in four counties, which has been a part of our long range plan since she started here. It is gratifying to watch us grow and help more families, right where they live.”

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