Sisters Oregon is a beautiful place to live, but not all families find it easy to make ends meet here. In fact, many struggle to make it from day to day. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 3 children in Sisters live below the poverty line, which is higher than the state average. Additionally, 32% of students in the Sisters School District qualify for the free/reduced lunch program, another measure of the extent of financial hardship in the area.

When children are homeless, living in poverty, or do not have enough to eat, they can experience trouble focusing in school, as well as attendance and behavior problems. Transportation can be an issue, along with money for school supplies, access to health care and sometimes even access to clean clothes that fit.

The Family Access Network is here to help. FAN advocates collaborate to connect families in need with food, shelter, clothing, health care, school supplies, job opportunities and other life essentials.

FAN advocates are located in all public schools in Deschutes County. Dawn Cooper and Theresa Slavkovsky are the Sisters School District’s FAN advocates. Their job is to link children and families to community resources and to help navigate the often confusing social service system.

“The goal of FAN is to make sure children have access to basic needs so they can be successful in school and in life,” said Cooper.

In the 2014-2015 school year, FAN assisted more than 820 Sisters families. According to Cooper, the need for assistance keeps growing. Dawn Cooper and Theresa Slavkovsky are located in the school administrative office from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you know of a family or student in need, please have them stop by or call 541.549.0155.