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Boosting families

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By Todd Cohen

ROBBINS, N.C. — In the face of budget cuts, the Northern Moore Family Resource Center has landed a bigger grant from the state and expects to maintain its current funding from United Way of Moore County.

The agency, which was formed in 1995 and has six employees, identifies needs of families and children, and tries to secure resources to meet those needs.

Programs range from transportation assistance, occupational therapy and job-skills training to a summer camp and a winter-assistance program.

“If we see the community has needs, we try to find the resources to match that,” says Michelle Miller, executive director.

Using a donated van and car, for example, agency employees drive clients to places they need to go to meet daily needs, such as visiting the pharmacy, laundromat, grocery store or county health department.

The agency also drives students to Westmore for classes offered by Sandhills Community College.

The agency, whose board is co-chaired by community leaders Margaret Shields and Jonah Person, also provides sensory-integration therapy for children with developmental and learning disabilities.

For the fiscal year that began July 1, the agency is getting $100,000 from the state, up from $80,000 the previous year.

That grant, which accounts for most of the agency’s annual budget, include funds to buy four computers it will use to help clients look for jobs and, in the future, receive computer training.

The agency, which last year received $17,000 from United Way of Moore County, expects this year to receive roughly the same amount.

Miller, who joined the center in February 2003 after graduating from High Point University, says she hopes this year to team up with or create a program to help children learn about and practice better health and nutrition.

“That’s a big issue in today’s society, especially with both parents working,” she says. “I would like to either find someone to collaborate with or start up something on our own.”

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