The “FAST” way of helping kids

Local News

During a recent United Way presentation here at WRBL, we heard about a program that sounded new.

It’s run by the Family Center and funded by United Way. It’s called FAST, an acronym for “Families
and Schools Together.”

Let’s paint the picture.

An eight-week program is just wrapping up in two Muscogee County Schools and those in Phenix City designed to help kids succeed in school with the help of their parents.

The families and schools together program called “FAST” for short has actually been operating in Muscogee County for over 10 years. Krystle Newton is the Fast Program Coordinator.

“Our end result, our goal of the program is to stop the problems that kids go through nowadays at home…mental, social, educational…any kind of problems that kids deal with,” says Newton. 

The fast program is offered twice a school year, in the fall and spring. It lasts for 8 weeks. One two-and-a-half hour meeting per week.

“We focus on parental empowerment, number one.  We help parents learn how to talk to their kids, how to control their kids, how to really reach their children through communication and positive reinforcement,” says Newton. 

Wynona Sanders is a FAST Coordinator who works with Newton. Wynona actually went through several cycles of the program with her kids, which made her a believer in the impact this program can have on families. 

“I had two children at that current time and I saw them open up.  I was more in the house…we can play games in the house together, we can watch TV, you know, that kind of mom.  It gave them the opportunity to interact more and to show me that that’s what they needed,” says Sanders. 

Each meeting of the program starts with a free meal for the families. They sing and play games. Then the kids and parents spend time separately, which allows for good discussion time and problem-solving. We asked Sanders what’s the most important message the program tries to emphasize.

“Spending time with your kids is super important.  It counts so much in their life that you can see them turn into incredibly different people.  Because they need to know that you support them.  They need to know that you’re there for them and you’re in their corner,” says Sanders.

The FAST program is totally funded by United Way grants and donations. The fast program falls
under the family center umbrella. They are having an important fundraiser this Thursday, November 1st, at the Country Club of Columbus.

To purchase tickets you can contact the Family Center.

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