For Father's Day, Family to Family Connection, a nonprofit organization with the goal of building stronger families in the community, is offering fathers (and mothers) and their children the opportunity to participate in an arts and crafts class.
Children 1 month to 5 years old can make Father's Day cards and other crafts alongside Dad.
The event is part of the organization's efforts to rebuild its programming and client base after suffering a loss of 60 percent of its budget when the Legislature pulled state funding during the last session's round of budget cuts.
"The Legislature literally deleted the funding for the Family to Family programs," said executive director Dianne Farkas. "... We have to figure out how to fill that gap."
The nonprofit moved from its space at Charleston and Jones boulevards to its new location at 4775 W. Teco Ave. in May.
The new location is part of the office space leased by a contracting company, which donated half of its office, storage and office equipment to Family to Family Connection.
New clients are hard to come by in the new location, Farkas said, adding that the more people involved in the classes offered, the better the classes can be.
"In the past, we have had dads groups, where we recruited dads, who were our clients, to lead educational groups for dads," she said. "We'll get that going on again ... but we are currently in a transitional phase, reorganizing ourselves, redefining ourselves."
This fact is evident in the variety of classes offered at Family to Family Connection. Parents and children can take classes ranging from Wii dance aerobics and silly dancing to baby sign language and financial planning for a child's future.
Marcela Lopez is a staff member with the organization, teaching bilingual classes.
Lopez was first attracted as a client to Family to Family Connection by the types of classes offered.
"When it began, it still had a grant and was funded, so all of the classes were free," Lopez said. "Being a mom the third time around, I was like, 'Wow, if this was available when I had (my first child), it would have been great.' "
Lopez said the economic downturn has put a strain on the services offered, but the organization continues to provide useful and varied programing.
"With (our budget) being cut every year, and something else goes and goes, it makes it a little harder," she said. "I think families want that ability to take their kids somewhere that's not as expensive as, you know, the Gymborees and has more variety."
The nonprofit holds one grant from the MGM Resort Foundation of $20,000 and relies on the fundraising of its annual Touch-A-Truck event, where participants can touch and look at service vehicles up close.
Farkas and the organization's nurse have taken pay cuts the previous three years, keeping the operating budget down to approximately $200,000 a year.
The cost of classes also has remained low. Families can register for one class for $5 or take as many classes as they like for $20 a month.
Lopez said the program directors and the instructors work with the resources they have and try to make classes enjoyable for everyone - including dads.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Nolan Lister at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-0492.