WALKER — With three children, ages 2, 6 and 8, Dewona Evans always is looking for ways to enhance their education with fun, interactive activities.
Evans, originally from Mississippi, found games, tools and help from certified teachers at the Family Resource Center in the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center in Walker.
Evans visited the center after one of her children’s teachers suggested she visit. The center helps parents become active participants in their child’s education through information, education and encouragement, said Jennifer Rabalais, a teacher who operates the center.
“They have more hands-on materials for the kids,” Evans said.
“It’s something about the materials here that gets their attention better than I can get it with black and white paper,” she said.
“The Family Resource Center is a loaning library open to parents with children enrolled in Livingston Parish Public Schools,” Rabalais said. “Our goal is to provide resources to parents that will assist families with their child’s educational needs.”
The resources help students learn everything from multiplication facts to reading comprehension, Rabalais said. Last year, about 1,400 teaching materials were borrowed from the center, Rabalais said.
The Family Resource Center opened six years ago by the Livingston Parish school system as a way to get parents involved in their children’s education, Rabalais said.
The resources — everything from worksheets to math and reading games — are free and can be checked out by parents for two weeks. The materials take the guesswork out of learning, Rabalais said. Once a child has mastered a skill, they can return the materials and check out additional ones, she said. The center also saves parents money because they borrow the materials instead of purchasing them.
“We try to provide learning in a fun, different way,” Rabalais said.
The materials are for students in prekindergarten through sixth grade, Rabalais said.
Certified teachers are on staff to help parents who visit the center make the right selections. The Family Resource Center offers a skill-based worksheet station, special needs information, free monthly workshops, a list of tutors for hire and educational materials for loan.
While parents can visit the center if their child is having difficulty in school, many of the center’s patrons visit after their child’s teacher has provided them with a Fast Pass, which lists areas of concern and what a student should work on to improve their performance.
“Jennifer saved me,” said parent Wendy Coates, who said her son Jacob, 8, has been having difficulty in school.
“He’s been failing tests, and this helps,” Coates said. “These are things we can do at home so he can practice.”
Workshops are held once a month, and the next one will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Literacy and Technology Center. The seminar, called “3, 2, 1 Blast Off, The Countdown to Testing Begins,” will show parents what students in grades third through eighth will need to know for the required tests, which begin in March and continue through May. Seating is limited, and those interested are encouraged to make a reservation by calling (225) 667-1098 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Family Resource Center is open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
The center is located inside the Literacy and Technology Center, 9261 Florida Blvd., room 142 B, in Walker.
Rabalais, who is looking to the future, said she hopes the center will expand soon. The center is limited by the lack of space in its current location, she said.
The center is funded by the Livingston Parish School Board and community grants, Rabalais said.
For information, call (225) 667-1098 or visit www.lpsb.edu.