Dec. 19, 2017
The Franklin County Commissioners are helping to foster more interest in health careers among area youth with a program that engages both students and their parents.
Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) was awarded a contract by the commissioners allowing this novel program to enter into its third year with Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services (FCDJFS).
The PACT programming takes a two-prong approach that focuses both on students and parents.
The funding allows students in Near Eastside Columbus City Schools to be provided with a variety of science lessons and experiments from COSI. The hands-on activities, video conferencing and field trips are designed to spark and cultivate interest in the medical and other health-related fields.
The program then couples the student curriculum with a “Parent University.” Parents are offered a workshop series that helps them become better “educational partners” and advocate better for their children. Unlike the student classes which will be in seven Columbus schools, the parent workshops are available to any parents or caretakers within the Columbus City Schools District.
“Through this program, students get to experience the Health Science Academy at COSI, COSI on Wheels and ‘COSI in a Box,’” FCDJFS Director Joy Bivens said. “It is really amazing to watch kids be exposed at such an early age. It gives them a vision to aspire to.”
Coupling the lessons with a Parent University is a novel approach that can help parents in many ways, Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady said.
“This allows parents to share in the learning process with their children, bringing families closer together, and has the potential to trigger new vocational interest among parents as well,” O’Grady said.
The PACT contract is a renewal from the 2016-2017 school year when approximately 2,300 students were taught. The contract is for $149,293.98 and runs until Sept. 30, 2018.
“It’s a great way to pair students and parents with science that can spark new interests that will last a lifetime,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “There are no limits to what children can achieve if their interest in science is allowed to grow.”
A graduate of Columbus City Schools, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce said the programming supplements school lessons in an impactful way.
“We have seen how this program is starting to spark more interest in the sciences that could help these children move into careers that one day may benefit us all,” Boyce said.
Columbus City Schools involved with the PACT program are East High, Champion Middle, and Eastgate, Ohio Avenue, East Columbus, Trevitt and Beatty Park elementary schools.
FCDJFS is a county, state and federal-supported agency responsible for basic financial, medical and social service programs. These programs are made available to ensure that no one is forced to go without the basic essentials of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and necessary life sustaining services because of a lack of resources.