Coffee County Schools’ Family Resource Center aims to help the community. This week, we chat with the organization’s coordinator, Carrie Davis, who strives to support students.
What are some things that your organization does for the community?
The Coffee County Schools’ Family Resource Center collaborates with community organizations and businesses to provide resources to students and families as a means to combat barriers that hinder students in order to maximize the potential learning capacity.
One of the programs we collaborate with is the Student Expo. This event provides students in need, grades Pre-K - 12th, with a backpack, school supplies, hygiene items, a voucher to receive a new pair of shoes from Shoe Sensation, and much more. Community partnerships and sponsors foster this program by providing necessary items for our students. Since the inception of this program, through the generosity of our giving community, we have helped nearly 3,600 students in need. Coffee County Student Expo focuses on at-risk, disadvantaged students, thereby allowing every child the opportunity to start the school year on the right path. In addition, this program aims to improve attendance and academic performance, as well as bolster self-esteem and develop community awareness.
You replaced longtime coordinator Taylor Rayfield. Has the transitional period been a smooth one, and has the community been very understanding during it?
Our community has graciously welcomed me with open arms. From the faculty and administration to the business owners and resource providers, each one has a passion for what this program encompasses. Like me, they want to see it thrive.
I am currently in the process of conducting meetings to connect with our resources as a means to be proactive and understand each service they provide and the process to follow so that when a need arises, it can be addressed immediately and effectively.
It is truly an honor to work with each person that plays a role in the FRC in serving our students, families, faculty and community.
Has the pandemic impacted any of the organization’s efforts?
The pandemic has not impacted the efforts, but it has forced the means in which we serve to be altered. For example, due to Governor Bill Lee extending Tennessee’s State of Emergency, the Student Expo consisted of a drive thru method versus being held indoors. This modification meant that a greater need of volunteers were needed to prepare food boxes for the families with the 13,000 pounds of produce, dairy and dry goods delivered for this event. Coffee County Schools’ administration and faculty willingly rose to the occasion and made this day a huge success.
Do you have a lot of volunteers and donations?
We are in an era where the word uncertainty constantly comes to mind. One thing that is certain is that our extraordinary community comes together for those in need despite the hardships we face individually and collectively during this pandemic. We are resilient and constantly have each other’s back. This was greatly and vibrantly illustrated in the enormous turnout of donations in supplies, monetary means of support and volunteers giving of their time.
Tell us more about the volunteers?
To be absolutely honest, each volunteer touched my heart. To see each teacher and administrator utilize their last Saturday of the summer to get up early and work extremely hard to serve their students and families was moving. To see the faculty members’ spouses and children lend a helping hand was inspirational. To have members of CCHS Student Government, HOSA and Ed/CNA students eager and excited to assist in preparing the backpacks with school supplies for the expo was impressive and motivational.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The collaboration with the Coffee County School District and community to serve others makes each day rewarding. To me, this is not a job or career but a passion.