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Partnership shows off new digs
The Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children showed off its new digs Thursday afternoon at 2908 Fourth Street, across from Wells Fargo Bank. Many stopped by the new downtown Ceres location during its four-hour open house.

The Family Resource Center is a place where all families can come to for support, education, and help when in need.

Tammy Felix, director of the CPHC, said the new facility at the southeast corner of Fourth and North streets is the answer to two separate and overcrowded facilities elsewhere.

"We just so outgrew the space we had because of our growth," said Felix.

The new CPHC Family Resource Center totals 3,600 square feet and was accomplished by merging two business spaces separated by a wall. One space was formerly home to Lone Tree Printing.

For three years the CPHC was located at an office on Whitmore Avenue while offering classes at a location in the Orchard Park Center on Mitchell Road.

Program Coordinator Charlie Gross said the new location is exciting families. "They say it's easy to find and there is lots of parking. One parent stated that they loved the professional look and the warm and friendly atmosphere."

Each month the center provides services - all free of charge - to about 250 children within the Ceres Unified School District, noted Felix. The wide gambit of services is designed to help better children, their families and the community. Services will likely expand with more floor space.

The center provides:

• Classes for parents to improve their parents skills;

• Counseling for children and their parents;

• Mentoring for boys and girls aged 7 to 11;

• One-on-one guidance in the areas of communication, and anger management, social and coping skills;

• Neighborhood meetings to iron out issues on blocks, as well as facilitate Neighborhood Watch meetings;

• Resources to families that address health, education and other basic needs.

CPHC, in partnership with Center for Human Services, also offers support groups, counseling services, and family advocates.

Recently CPHC teamed up with the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program with funding from The California Endowment. The program is aimed at improving the food and physical activity environments in Ceres and working with the Health Services Agency to create momentum for changes in the policies and practices that contribute to the rising rates of obesity.

Lourdes Perez, a program specialist, said she's working on establishing a Fourth Street farmer's market on Wednesday afternoons (from noon to 6 p.m.) beginning in March. Felix said that some poorer families which don't have the luxury of shopping in bigger stores with wider selections have trouble finding healthy fruits and vegetables.

"When we looked at obesity, we heard there's not a lot of fruits and vegetables available to families," said Felix. "We looked at the Food Stamps that come in from the county and WIC and they're not being used on fruits and vegetables because they can't find good food. They're going to their corner markets."

The Partnership has also established an enrichment program for teens, a Camera Club for both Ceres and Central Valley high school students. The group meets Fridays at 3:30 p.m. and has attracted about 15 members, tutored by Rex Klein of Turlock. Gina Sandoval, a project assistant at CPHC, said the teens came in shy but are "now interacting and looking forward to trips out."

CPHC receives its funding from the Children & Families Commission, Community Services Agency, United Way, and community support.

For more information call 541-0101 or visit