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Midvale Journal

Family Support Center receives $10,000 donation from national clothing chain T.J. Maxx

Oct 03, 2017 03:24PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Clinical Director Paul Ricks (pictured) painted this aquatic mural at the Family Support Center. (Carl Fauver)

When T.J. Maxx opens a new clothing store in a city, the corporation has a custom of making a $10,000 donation to community service organizations. Generally, several different worthwhile causes receive a portion of the money.

As the chain was preparing to open its newest store in Taylorsville (5670 South Redwood Road), company officials called the city offices for advice on what worthwhile charities should be considered for the donation. After speaking with the city’s public information officer Tiffany Janzen, T.J. Maxx chose to make the entire $10,000 donation to the Family Support Center.

“I told them about all the good things the center does for families in crisis,” Janzen said at a recent city council meeting. “They provide a crisis nursery, along with reduced cost housing, counseling—just a lot of great things. The Family Support Center is an important resource and that’s just the first thing I thought of when (T.J. Maxx) called.” 

At that same city council meeting, Janzen received a “certificate of appreciation” from the Family Support Center, for touting their services to the clothing store chain. 

Taylorsville T.J. Maxx Store Manager Daniel Lacey is confident his company made the right choice.

“We look for charities that help a lot of people, particularly lower-income residents,” Lacey said. “After doing a little research, we determined the Family Support Center was definitely at the top of our list. We’re pleased to make this connection so we can donate supplies, money and volunteer service in the future.”

The Family Support Center (1760 West 4805 South) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It was launched in 1977 by the Utah Association of Therapists and the Junior League of Salt Lake City. Soon after, the center opened crisis nurseries in Sugar House and Midvale. Years later (in 2008), a third center opened in West Valley City. It remains open 24 hours a day.

“We have children there every single night,” Family Support Center Executive Director Jeff Bird said. “And occasionally, if it gets to full, we have to call out staff in the middle of the night to open another center for overnight needs.”

About half of the 3,000 people the support center serves each year are parents dropping their kids at a crisis nursery.

“It’s a place for parents to leave their children for a few hours—or even all day—if they need to go to work, get to an important appointment, or if they just need a break from their kids for a little while,” said Family Support Development Director Barbara Stallone. “There are limits to how many times a parent can use the service. So it should only be used in a crisis.”

There is not a crisis nursery at the Family Support Center’s Taylorsville location. That site is their administrative headquarters and also provides mental health counseling. While parents are in session they can leave their children in a waiting area that features lots of stuffed animals and toys. The area comes complete with a large under the sea mural, painted by the center’s clinical director, Paul Ricks.

“We have committed, well-trained therapists who are willing to work for less money than they would earn almost anywhere else,” Ricks said. “We normally serve people who simply don’t have the resources to turn anywhere else. Our therapists help them make sense out of life.”

The T.J. Maxx donation was earmarked specifically for yet another service the Family Support Center provides: family mentoring.

“We send paraprofessionals into people’s homes—once a week, for up to 10 weeks—to teach parenting skills,” Stallone added. “That (T.J Maxx) donation will pay for the workbooks, games and other materials our mentors leave with the families. It’s all designed to assist people in coping with parenting challenges, to help prevent child abuse.”

In addition to these services, the Family Support Center also operates a homeless and low-income facility in Midvale.

“Our Life Start Village has 54 units; many of them filled with single-parent families,” Bird said. “We provide food donations and assist with addiction recovery.”  

About 65 employees work for the 501c3 nonprofit Family Support Center; only a third of them are full time. The center’s annual budget is just under $2 million, funded primarily through the federal Department of Child and Family Services, along with local foundation grants and individual donations.

Unified Fire Authority Assistant Chief Jay Ziolkowski is proud to serve the Family Support Center as the vice chairman of its board of directors. 

“The thing that impresses me the most is, we all have ups and downs in life and sometimes desperately need a place to turn,” he said. “The Family Support Center has the resources necessary to help people get through those down times.”

Anyone interested in supporting the Family Support Center should call 801-955-9110.