While many are familiar with Belmont’s nonprofit partner on campus – The Store—another crucial support program tends to fly a bit more under the radar: The Family Wellbeing Program (FWP).
The Family Wellbeing Program is a Belmont initiative funded by the Tennessee Department of Human Services to provide wraparound services, food assistance and case management for families who receive food assistance at The Store.
Currently in its fourth year of serving the Edgehill and greater Nashville community, Belmont’s FWP walks alongside families to help them meet challenges, explore opportunities and overcome obstacles they are facing on their journey to wellbeing.
“We accomplish this through family-centered goal setting, case management and internal wraparound services,” said Program Director Brittany Tolbert. “As a public health professional, it is exciting to see government, education and nonprofit entities come together to provide a multi-faceted intervention for those in need.”
Wraparound services include financial seminars and budgeting classes, cooking classes, music therapy, counseling, youth development programming, ESL classes, tutoring, children's literacy classes and special topics health programming.
In addition to their regularly offered services, FWP partners with various colleges at Belmont to host special programming, such as a holiday event in December and a health fair in the spring. The Belmont College of Nursing helps provide annual sports physicals over the summer, and the College of Law offers special topics legal clinics, for example.
In late July, the program hosted its second-annual Back to School Bash, providing school supplies and clothing to 50 children in the program, spanning from kindergarten through 12th grade, before starting the new school year. The event was made possible through funds from the program’s 2Gen Families first grant with TDHS and donations from Regions Bank.
The Back to School Bash included a school supplies scavenger hunt for the children and family food demonstrations to learn how to make quick, nutritious breakfasts on busy school mornings.
Tolbert noted the hectic nature of school mornings for most families, and the added layer of ensuring an affordable, filling breakfast for children prior to their school day can be a challenge. “Teaching children how to prepare their own quick, nutritious meals empowers them to make healthy choices and helps families as they plan their meals for the week,” she explained.
Tolbert also said the children love to show the team their uniforms throughout the school year. “That sense of pride and ownership is priceless.”
“On their first day, we want children to walk into their school with the confidence that they have everything it takes to be successful,” Tolbert continued. “New, clean clothes and school supplies, as well as a sense of excitement about all the new experiences they get to have, go a long way in helping to build that confidence. This also ties into fostering dignity in the services we provide, which is the core of The Store and FWP's mission.”
The FWP is always seeking to make new connections within the University's student groups and departments to offer a variety of servicees for the families it serves. Those interested in getting involved should reach out to Brittany Tolbert.