The Arlington Community Resource Center (ACRC) opened its doors for local residents six months ago. Since then, the center has helped about 300 families seeking a variety of resources. Staff members walk alongside struggling families as they find their footing, and already they are witnessing great successes.
“A sweet couple expecting their first child found themselves homeless and living in their car,” said Seanna Herring-Jensen, program manager. “We worked to get the father his first job and we were able to get them into a new apartment in less than a month. They are doing great. He has moved on to a better paying job with great benefits and they are due with their son any day now.”
Planted by the Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW) organization, the ACRC is its eighth family support facility. The five Snohomish County facilities serve close to 12,000 children and their families each year.
The ACRC serves as a hub for those who inquire about connections for essential resources, including food, housing, jobs, and transportation. Staff members advocate for community members by connecting them to available services and aim to create resources that may not even exist yet.
“We will do what needs to be done to help people in crisis,” Seanna Herring-Jensen, program manager, said. “Our staff members are incredibly creative and find ways to help. They care and think with their hearts.”
When tragedy struck the Stillaguamish Valley in the form of the Oso mudslide in 2014, LCSNW responded with efforts to help families recover. After the positive impact of the organization’s relief services, local community leaders, organizations, non-profits and specifically the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation solidified and funded plans to locate a permanent resource center in Arlington. Today, a support group of survivors continues to meet at the ACRC. They even engage in service projects, such as distributing holiday gifts and meals.
The resource center is committed to meeting the needs of community residents, needs that they are still learning about. In efforts to provide the services that are in highest demand, Herring-Jensen said that they are conducting large community surveys that will indicate the greatest needs.
“Mental health, substance abuse intervention, services for the homeless, as well as services for teens and seniors are repeatedly at the top of the list,” Jensen said. “That’s where we are going with our services while we continue to provide basic services that help the whole family heal.”
The ACRC’s end goal is to see people succeed. Their continuous motivation comes from the desire to nurture bright futures and to empower people to live healthy, secure lives.
“I love to see people learn and grow in their lives,” Herring-Jensen said. “Our heart hurts when we see gaps in the system that make it difficult for them, but to see them stick it out, persevere, and pull themselves out of a tough situation . . . well, there is no greater joy than that.”