This month, we would like to highlight Annabella (Annie) Flores, the coordinator of Lincoln Child Center's Family Resource Center (FRC). The FRC is located on the New Highland - RISE elementary school campus; a school community located in the neighborhood where HOPE Collaborative has been working with partners and residents to develop the Elmhurst Neighborhood Planning Initiative. The Family Resource Center is a project of Lincoln Child Center, a non- profit dedicated to providing pediatric mental health for over 50 years in the East Bay. The FRC's goal is to offer parents and caregivers opportunities to strengthen adult capacity and to build emotional resilience to stressful life events. Annie is part of healing team from Lincoln Child Center; this core group of clinicians and therapists coordinate group and individual emotional healing services to students, their families and caregivers.
Annie has been providing mental health services and building community at the FRC since January of 2013. She is proud that she was hired by a panel made up of parents, teachers and community. Her work at the New Highland - RISE elementary schools (which combined served almost 800 elementary students) reflects a life-long commitment to community empowerment. As she states, "personally I was born into social justice work; it is a way of life for my family and I. I receive an abundance of love and loyalty from the community in East -Oakland. I'm constantly inspired by this community and as long as inspiration continues I will continue to work here."
A partnership between the FRC and HOPE's Built Environment Action Team (BEAT) is very natural. Notably, BEAT (which is the body that organizes and implements activities related to the Elmhurst planning initiative) offers FRC parents opportunities to build community and promote emotional wellness. FRC parents are active in HOPE's BEAT. This partnership will continue to grow via a 2015/2016 mini-grant the FRC was awarded to maintain school gardens on the campus. The long-term goal of the partnership is to increase local access to fresh food and green space while engaging Elmhurst parents and residents.