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Family support agency offers constructive ways to support kids during Covid-19

A nonprofit organization started out of tragedy to support those going through family challenges has launched a support line for parents to use while home with their children during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) Family Support Line, 332-4111 or 888-364-3065, operates from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

EPIC team members trained in parenting and social work manage the line. Parents can call for help with stress management, establishing home school routines, positive discipline strategies and related issues.

“EPIC stands by their families, especially in times of crisis,” Executive Director Tara N. Burgess said in a news release. “We may be working remotely, but our commitment to community does not waver.”

EPIC was established 40 years ago by Robert Wilson, whose wife was murdered three years earlier by a 15-year-old the couple befriended.

Every parent needs support, and that’s why we wanted to create this line – to really show that we are there for them,” says Tara N. Burgess of EPIC.

He learned afterward that the child had been abused, neglected and placed in 11 foster homes. EPIC workshops, programs and trainings are designed to carry out his mission of helping families, schools and communities raise children to become responsible and successful adults.

“We are asking a lot of parents right now,” Burgess said. “Many are working from home, trying to home school and manage the stress of the pandemic as a whole. Others may have lost their jobs or have loved ones that are sick. Every parent needs support, and that’s why we wanted to create this line – to really show that we are there for them.”

The line is free to all families for help with good strategies in these trying times.

Callers experiencing distress or unsafe conditions will be directed to Crisis Services or other avenues.

EPIC has shifted primarily to a virtual model during the pandemic, offering most programs online. The organization also created a Coronavirus Resource Page on its website at epicforchildren.org/coronavirus-resources.

The site provides virtual home schooling content for grades Pre K-6 and other valuable information.

For parents, it also includes information about how to talk to your kids about coronavirus, making a family checklist, public service and employment resources, home preparedness, increasing productivity at home and local acts of kindness.

Resources for kids include sample daily and weekly schedules, hand-washing posters, sensory learning ideas, kids eat free suggestions, celebrity storytime, math and literacy ideas for younger children and art ideas for all ages.

“In times like this, it is more important that ever that we continue to provide resources and support to our families,” Burgess said. “By offering this support line, as well as virtual content, we are truly there for them 24/7.”

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