SIUE joins other agencies at Family Resource Fair

Gathering information to help clients are employees of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in East St. Louis: Kevin Hopkins (left) and Jamekia Latham. (Photo courtesy of SIUE)

Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center programs, along with other area agencies, participated in the Family Resource Fair held Wednesday, Dec. 6 at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus.

The fair was designed to inform the public about the comprehensive services available to assist and bolster the lives of families and others in the Metro East.

More than 30 participating agencies represented educational, vocational, financial, human, mental health and health services.

“When people have multiple barriers and obstacles in life, it is important to connect them to organizations that can provide assistance,” said Johanna Wharton, program director of the Metro East Accelerated Training and Career Hub (MATCH).

Representatives from the East St. Louis Center and Southwestern Illinois College, both located on the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus, joined together to host the fair because they wanted their participants, as well as the community, to be informed about familyresourcefair2the wealth of resources in their own “backyard,” according to Emily Kern, SWIC early school leaver coordinator.

“We want to connect our program participants to resources, but we also want to build connections and relationships between community organizations,” said Wharton.

Kevin Hopkins, juvenile case manager at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in East St. Louis, was excited to see the various services under one roof. “There are a lot of surprises here,” said Hopkins, an East St. Louis native. “I didn’t think that there were this many good employment and health services available, and I’ve only made it halfway through.”

Hopkins came to the fair to learn about possible resources and services for juvenile clients after incarceration. His co-worker, Jamekia Latham, said the information would be good for adult clients, as well.

Corrine Harris, of East St. Louis, was at the fair with her two children to get information about a home loan.  She was also looking for afterschool program information for her 8-year-old daughter, Alyssa. Harris’ 4-year-old daughter, Zoey, is a student at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee SIUE Head Start Center.

“This has been a good thing,” Harris said. “I got a lot of information that will be helpful to me and my family, and I’m sure a lot of other people did, too.”

“The SIUE East St. Louis Center has become a hub for education and career opportunities in the Metro East,” said ESLC Executive Director Jesse Dixon. “Everyone from Head Start parents to veterans can come to the East St. Louis campus, and find the next steps and assistance they need to get on a career path toward a family sustaining wage.”

“We are grateful for all of our partners on the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus – from SWIC to CHASI to Connections to Success,” Dixon added. “Together, we create a robust network of organizations ready to support families on their journey to success.”

MATCH plans to offer another resource fair in summer 2018.

With a focus on empowering people and strengthening communities, the SIUE East St. Louis Center is dedicated to improving the lives of families and individuals—from pre-school through adult—in the Metro East region. The Center offers programs that give the community renewed hope and an opportunity to reach educational, career and life goals. It does so by providing comprehensive programs, services and training in the areas of education, health, social services and the arts.





—-  SIUE joins other agencies at Family Resource Fair —