Thirty years ago, Marilynn Arnold was a stay-at-home mom volunteering at the district’s preschool center where her four-year-old attended. During this time, the Kentucky General Assembly created the Family Resource Youth Services Centers as an integral part of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. A year later, Ms. Arnold decided to join the workforce and use her education and experience to help Covington families.
“Having attended college, and worked in social service programs in the past, I was qualified for the position and I strongly felt the students and families of Covington deserved a coordinator who had walked in their shoes both in communicating with the district and navigating the complicated system of agencies that serve Covington families,” Ms. Arnold said. “I wanted to provide quality services to Covington students at school and their parents at home.”
The state has designated Feb. 8-12 as Family Resource Youth Services Centers week as the centers celebrate 30 years of existence. Ms. Arnold, the coordinator at Ninth District Elementary School, has been on the job for 29 of those 30 years, making her the longest serving coordinator in Covington in addition to one of the longest serving in the state.
“My favorite part of being an FRYSC Coordinator is problem solving,” she said. “I enjoy providing services and nurturing the relationships that help children and parents change their outcome from negative to positive.”
Kentucky’s Family Resource and Youth Services Centers are recognized as one of the nation’s largest school-based family support initiative. The centers’ overarching goal is to remove barriers to learning by addressing the needs of children through partnerships with school, family and community.
Ms. Arnold has been busy doing just that. Over the years, she has hosted numerous events, programs and family nights. She provides weekend food to more than 100 students per week, collects coats, clothing and shoes for Ninth District students and refers families to community agencies for food, rental, utility, clothing and academic assistance.
She has been instrumental in creating a parent volunteer program, concession stands for sporting events and the Back-to-School event to kick off each school year.
Covington Schools is fortunate to have a FRYSC Coordinator at each of its schools to help students and families meet their needs.
Kieli Ferguson, principal of Ninth District Elementary, said she’s learned plenty from Ms. Arnold. “She has awesome resources,’’ Mrs. Ferguson said. “With her knowledge, expertise and the connections she’s made in community, we are very fortunate to have her. She provides consistency at Ninth District with the programming and support that she gives to our students and families.’’