This year, the Oak Valley Hospital District Family Support Network celebrates 20 years of service to the local community.
Family Support Network is a non-profit organization founded by Karen O’Bannon that provides community services, health education, parenting support groups, resources and referrals for families who are going through difficult times and have Need help.
They offer free programs to English and Spanish speaking families in Oakdale, Riverbank and surrounding areas. Among the programs offered are support groups for youth and adults and preschool preparation programs.
Family Support Network, commonly referred to as FSN, has a pantry at its Oakdale location, 1405 W. F St., Suite A which includes common household items and child care items such as diapers and milk mothered.
“If families call us and they’re on the verge of a crisis, whether it’s housing or just routine questions about their destination, we’re kind of like a hub to guide them with phone numbers. helpful phone or see if it’s something we can personally help them with, that’s what we’ve been doing,” said Shellie LaMar, director of Oak Valley Hospital’s Family Support Network Department.
The organization’s goal is to have children’s groups on a regular basis again – after having to scale them back somewhat during the height of COVID restrictions – as well as after-school programs and women’s support groups.
Early in the pandemic, FSN had the opportunity to expand promotora Rossy Gomar’s focus on the mental health of children, women and families in Riverbank through the Behavioral Health Recovery Services program and assistance of the promoter of Riverbank, Luly Arias.
Arias works for FSN and helps coordinate mental health services for the City of Riverbank through the network. She started as a volunteer for 12 years with Gomar’s program, then seized the opportunity to work for FSN and continue to raise awareness for mental health.
Family Support Network program managers can be reached by calling 209-847-5121.
They are open Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and closed on weekends.
They are now celebrating 20 years, but hope there will be many more to come to continue reaching out to the community.