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FACES offers varied services to LaPorte communities

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Among the many helpful family and community oriented programs that LaPorte Community School Corporation offers is that of Family and Community Engagement Services or FACES. The program is aimed toward bettering the community with educational and career based tools that are easy to access.
Funded by the Healthcare Foundation, FACES is a grant program that was formed in 2018. Their current services include a GED program, which is offered three times a week; English as a second language classes; social emotional learning workshops, and community resource referrals. FACES is planning to provide a wider range of opportunities in the near future. They are partnering with Indiana University-South Bend, Valparaiso University, and Ivy Tech to offer college certification courses, such as pharmacy technical, dental, and nursing classes.
“We provide a wide variety of services, and we’re adding more all the time. We have a classroom and offer GED classes three times a week as well as parent academies. For example, right now FACES is working with Purdue Federal Credit Union and doing a financial wellness course for parents, in addition to supporting youth mental health and classes for parents and students. We’re even offering CPR classes,” Mario Rosa, FACES coordinator, said.
FACES supports social and emotional well being by providing services in schools for students, as well as resources to take home to families. This curricular program is called Character Strong and is utilized at the high school level. They recognize that it is crucial for families to engage and help their kids become successful by implementing social and emotional learning strategies in their day to day life.
“We work a lot with the community as well. We’re always looking for partnerships that can assist with the families and students. We’re building relationships in the community all the time to be able to meet the needs of students and families,” Rosa said.
Because it is a grant funded program, FACES does not take any expense from the school corporation’s budget but does use some services, such as administrative resources from schools.
“FACES is a grant funded program and is funded through the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte. We wouldn’t exist without their funding. Our operational expenses do not dip into the general education budget of the school corporation. We’re blessed to be able to have outside funding to be able to make our services available. Obviously, we do have the support of LPCSC though,” Sarah Fine, Social and Emotional Learning Director, said.
FACES goal is not to create a new wheel but to create a vital spoke in an existing wheel to take care of the community’s needs, whether it’s answering a question or creating a new program to have everyone on the same page.
“We’re looking to connect the dots for students and families and then look at it from a more macro perspective and then try to connect the dots within our community. If a parent calls with a particular need, then we try to take care of that need in the best way we can. If we can’t do it, we refer them to someone else who might be able to help,” Rosa said.
FACES has created multiple programs to help many in the community. One example is DAMAS, or Daughters and Mothers Achieving Success. DAMAS is a service designed to equip mothers and daughters in the Hispanic community with the tools they need to be successful in their future career endeavors. A program that FACES has been successful in joining is YAP, or Youth Assistant Program. YAP focuses on increasing student productivity and helping those who have fallen behind in their classes.
“A program that we’re having that’s for Hispanic families is called Daughters and Mothers Achieving Success [DAMAS], where we bring in eight to nine ladies who are professionals in their fields and talk to students and moms about how to be successful. Another grant funded program that we work very closely with in the school corporation is called Youth Assistant Program [YAP], which helps with VLA and credit recovery objectives so students have a voice in their future,” Rosa said.
In addition to the wonderful opportunities FACES provides for families, they are also working with the city to make the internet and WiFi more accessible for families and students.
“We are working with the city to expand the internet connectivity for students and families. We’ve had to rely more and more on virtual learning and wanted to break down the barrier and remove it for families who didn’t have access to internet services within their own home. Families can go to any of our school corporation sites and hook the internet through there,” Fine said.
The old Boston School building, which is now the ESC building at 1000 Harrison Street, is where the majority of these classes take place. To learn more about FACES and get enrolled in some of the many programs, contact Mario Rosa at [email protected] and at 219-362-7056 as well as Sarah Fine at [email protected] and the same phone number.

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