2017-10-06 / Front Page

Information fair helps families navigate resources

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

The Fort Gordon Exceptional Family Member Program hosts its first Information Awareness Fair Oct.19 from 9 am. to 1 pm. in Darling Hall, Room 188.

The purpose of the fair is to educate families on services and resources available to them by having an exceptional family member.

Professionals from an estimated 30 services and organizations will be available to meet with anyone who has questions or is interested in learning about what they have to offer. Babies Can’t Wait, Child Youth Services, Early Autism Project, Easter Seals, Soar Academy, and Jessye Norman School of the Arts are among agencies that will be present. There will also be representatives from Columbia and Richmond Counties’ Special Education Departments.

The fair takes place during EFMP’s annual forum.

Fort Gordon EFMP specialist, Pamela Rachal, said it is a change that was carefully thought out and needed. This year’s setup will afford families more time and freedom to speak with individual agencies at their convenience.

“Change is good,” Rachal said. “A lot of people weren’t able to come when we had the sessions during the morning, but if they come at a set time that works for them, they can see everybody from all the individual groups, pick up brochures, and get their questions answered individually.”

EFMP manager, Barbara Brown, encourages parents to attend whether they are enrolled in EFMP or have the slightest concern that they may have a family member with special needs. She said there are parents who do not want to admit they might have a child with special needs. By not coming forward, those families are missing out on resources intended to make life easier.

“We just want them to know that we’re here to help them,” Brown said. “We want them to transition to that phase … having a special needs child is not easy, and with us being here and a part of Army Community Service, we have different programs we can refer them to.”

Adults are also encouraged to stop by if they know someone who might benefit from the resources.

“A lot of times families won’t come in, but they’ll take the information quicker from a friend, a neighbor, or somebody who’s maybe going through the kind of experience as them,” Rachal said.

Registration is not required. Childcare will not be provided, but children are welcome to accompany their parent to the fair.

For more information, call (706) 791- 0795.

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