ATASCADERO — The Link Family Resource Center is expanding its services in 2021 thanks to an expansion award from the Mental Health Services Act Fund at the state level. With the additional MHSA State funding, the Link is expanding from six middle schools to 12 middle schools and growing from seven to 11 Family Advocates.

“We have been growing this organization so fast over the last year and a half. It has just been an amazing ride ever since COVID-19 began.” Link Executive Director Lisa Fraser told the Atascadero News. “You would think that the whole world stopped, but it has been the opposite for the Link Family Resource Center. We are now expanding from seven to 11 family advocates, and those advocates will be working in multiple regions throughout the county.”

The Link FRC has been a longtime provider of qualified Family Advocate services and a coordinator of non-profit leadership that delivers comprehensive services for families in need throughout San Luis Obispo County. 

The Link Family Advocates, who are key members of their success, are dependable members that work in teams consisting of a school Prevention Coordinator and a Behavioral Health Student Support Counselor that provide integrated services on campus to immediately respond to behavioral health needs as well as increase prevention opportunities for youth.

“Right now, our main concern is to save kids from drugs, suicide, and abuse,” Sonja Green, who works as a Family Advocate, said. “Now we are working to catch it early, and that is why this program is good because we spend. We are spending big time now and just focusing on the middle school kids. I think the main focus is to save the youths.”

By focusing on middle school students who are at risk due to poor attendance, behavior issues, pregnancy, academic failure, a physical or learning disability, juvenile offenses, being in foster care, and or low socioeconomic home environment, The Link Family Advocates are

changing the way we respond to problems surfacing at school. 

While the Family Advocates do not excuse problems with behavior, attendance or poor grades, they also don’t condemn the students for it. Instead, the Family Advocates are working to understand and address the students and their families’ underlying issues that might be contributing to the negative behaviors.

With help from the Family Advocates, families learn how to access and utilize the programs and resources available to them in the community.

The Link FRC can now expand to 12 middle schools, doubling the amount they had in 2020. The Link will now have 11 Family Advocates working across the county at Atascadero, Flamson, Santa Lucia, Los Osos, Judkins, Mesa, Lewis, Lillian Larsen, Shandon, Laguna, Templeton and Paulding Middle Schools. 

“I project that we will be able to help an additional 200 or more students,” Fraser said. “But the focus is not as much on the students as it is on the families.” 

Those needing assistance or wishing to donate time or resources should contact Link FRC on their website linkslo.org/

Getting through this together, Atascadero