FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A Marion County organization that aims to provide and support public service programs for families was honored for their efforts.

Our Children, Our Future, the West Virginia organization aimed at helping end child poverty, awarded the Marion County Family Resource Network with the “Unstoppable Award” for their work on two projects over the course of 2017. Frank Jarman of the Marion County Family Resource Network was initially surprised by the honor.

“We’ve been working with [Our Children, Our Future] for little over a year on trying to get parents in Marion County engaged in their children’s education, and we just thought we were going down for another planning session,” Jarman said on “The Gary Bowden Show” on the AJR News Network. “Sure enough we came back with a plaque and a pennant.”

The award was related to the FRN’s work with Our Children, Our Future on the “Buddy Box.” The Buddy Box is a new program that was implemented this year, which allows students to anonymously voice concerns with issues that are taking place outside of the classroom.

“Children can report when they have needs, when their friends have needs,” Jarman said. “Or, working with the prosecuting attorney in Marion County, when a child is being abused, they can use that ‘Buddy Box’ to just put in a note to a counselor, letting them know their needs so they can be proactive in getting the needs met of their children.”

The ultimate goal for the program is to have a “Buddy Box” in every school in Marion County within the next year.

The FRN was also honored for their Education Matters Program, which aims to have parents more involved with their children’s education while also cutting down on truancy. For Jarman, a big part of the program is the quasi-internship opportunities for those willing to get a head start on a career path.

“What we wanted to do is to connect local professionals with parents and children,” Jarman said.

“If your child wants to be, for instance, a nurse, or a doctor, a policeman or fireman, the education your getting today, is going to be a step in that education to becoming whatever they want to be.”

The partnerships with local businesses and Our Children, Our Future are expected to continue, with the Family Resource Network aiming to not only expand throughout Marion County, but to possibly help other area programs as well.

“That’s what FRN’s do,” Jarman said. “We’re really a collaborating agent with all the organizations at work with families and children,” he said.

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