By Jan Cox

There are many forms of community: our neighborhoods, churches, the towns we live in, or even a group of like minded people coming together with common interests. In the last few years, a strong community has formed around the One Stop Centers in Herlong, Beiber, and Westwood.

Here in Westwood, the One Stop Center is a partnership between the Westwood Family Resource Center, Lassen Aurora Network, and Lassen County Department of Health and Social Services. While the Lassen Aurora Network supports wellness through peer support services, self-care workshops and groups, Lassen County Department of Health and Social Services provides mental health and drug and alcohol services.

The Westwood Family Resource Center (WFRC) also wears many hats. In talking with Elizabeth Krier, former director of the Westwood One Stop Center, she explained that the Family Resource Center concerns itself with educational, community and social service work. This center is for the entire community. Here residents may receive emergency food from a food shelf or buy natural foods from the WFRC Natural Food Store. The emergency food shelf has been especially important during these lean times and they always welcome food donations.

Residents may also bring a toddler to a play group, borrow toys, or sign up for parenting or childbirth classes. Every so often, you will read a notice in the newspaper about their mystery baby showers where community members can attend and/or leave unwrapped baby gifts for a family in need.

This center also offers internet, copy machine, and fax access, computers, and application assistance for Medi-Cal and other social services. LassenWORKS now has a case worker on site every 4th Wednesday of the month to serve the residents of Westwood, Pine Town, and Clear Creek. This case worker helps residents complete the application process for CalWORKS cash assistance, Food Stamps and Medi-Cal and is available to answer questions.

The Center was established in 1992 and soon evolved into a non-profit organization under Communities United for Children and Families. Family Resource Centers work under that umbrella. The Westwood One Stop Center is located at 463-975 Birch St., Fort Sage One Stop is located at 17 D.S. Hall Avenue, Herlong, CA., and Beiber One Stop meets in the Bieber Library. Visitors are always welcome.