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Health & Wellness

Holiday time presents challenges for the Rural Outreach Center

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Leaders at the Rural Outreach Center stress accountability and resposnibility as they work to help those in need.

For those in need, Christmas can be a time to ask for the bare necessities. In East Aurora, the Rural Outreach Center helps provide these gifts and more for rural residents willing to engage in some of their programs. That includes taking a financial literacy course.

"Usually, the holidays are a happy time, but for a lot of our families it's a time of serious struggle because Christmas time comes and they don't have enough money for presents," said Dominique Norman, a social worker at the Rural Outreach Center.

"They don't have enough money to put food on the table for the whole families. They don't have the money for gas to go places, so there's a lot of barriers to the holidays for them."

The Rural Outreach Center, referred commonly around the center as "The ROC," offers a variety of services. Norman says social workers help with play therapy, where children can come in to their headquarters and play with toys. Kids often play out scenarios they are trying to digest in their life.

"We have families that have experienced a lot of trauma," said Norman.

Christmas gifts and Thanksgiving turkeys are among the items provided, though center officials don't want them viewed as "hand outs."

Senior Social Worker Maria Knickerbocker says the help comes when an individual is "engaged with the ROC. And what I mean by engaged, is you're coming consistently, you're working towards your goals."