BY LISA POST
Tyler County Family Resource Network, whose mission is to provide community-based, family centered, prevention-oriented services for children, teens and families, has a new Director at its helm.
Patsy Kersteter is happy to be in her new position as Director and brings a wealth of experience to the program. Originally from Princeton, W.Va., Mrs. Kersteter spent her professional life working in Delaware. She and her husband, Michael, relocated to this area a year ago.
"We've had a hunting cabin here for quite a while, and we love it here so much, we decided to retire here," says Kersteter.
Both she and her husband worked in the Human Services field for many years in Delaware. Patsy worked for the Dept. of Education as well as working in child mental health and vocational programs for the state.
Mrs. Kersteter is a graduate of the University of Maryland, with a Master's degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Development.
"I think I have a good background for this job," said Patsy. "My broad base of experience is a solid foundation to build on. I am excited to utilize my professional skills to the benefit of Tyler County FRN."
"My husband, Michael, is currently the Executive Director of the Pleasants County Boys and Girls Club," she added. "We've been blessed in our lives, and we want to give back to the community."
"I was recently sworn in as a CASA volunteer, as well," said Kersteter. "I'm looking forward to being an advocate for children again. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for abused and neglected children, to insure that the children's voices are heard in the court proceedings."
"We're kind of starting over, here at FRN," explained board member Russell Evans. "Our agency has new state guidelines, and we will be developing some new programs."
"Patsy has a very impressive resume," said Evans. "She brings a wealth of experience to the Director's position. Tyler County is lucky to receive the benefit of her expertise."
"People have been so helpful, and so kind," said Kersteter. "Because I'm new to the area, I am working now on becoming familiar with the area providers and services. We want to address our residents' needs to the best of our ability."
"As we find gaps in services, we will go to our board members to decide what services need to be focused on," she added.
Evans and Kersteter say they are actively recruiting board members at this time. Tyler County residents are eligible for the board positions as non-provider representatives, community representatives, and family representatives.
"Anyone who resides in Tyler County and has a desire to work for the betterment of the community is welcome to apply," said Evans. Representatives attend meetings and are part of the decision making process for the county's Family Resource Network.
Toni VanCamp, Victim Services Coordinator for the Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney's office and FRN board member, remarked, "We are very excited to have hired Patsy and feel that she is a great asset to Family Resource Network."
"FRN will continue to offer great programs to benefit children and families in Tyler County," she added.
Some current FRN programs include Baby Bags (for new mothers), Family Haven, which facilitates court-ordered supervised visitation for non-custodial parents, and Project Lifesaver, which provides search support for persons afflicted with Alzheimer's/dementia.
"We are looking for new programs and initiatives," said Kersteter. "Unfortunately, with the economic downturn, more and more people need our services."
Tyler County FRN is also working with the BeeLocal website to make programs and services information easily accessible on the internet. "It's in the beginning stages, but we are going to expand the directory of local resources on the Web site," explained Kersteter. The website can be found at www.BeeLocal.info.
Patsy and Michael have two grown children, Matthew and Elizabeth. Matthew is a second year medical student at Wake Forest University. Elizabeth has attained her bachelor's degree and is working in the Morgantown area.
The Kersteters are living in their remodeled hunting cabin in Tyler County and enjoy riding their ATVs and exploring the area.
"Our goal is to enhance the ability of families in our county to protect, nurture, educate and support the development of their children," said Kersteter. "We believe in doing so, we can help children reach their full potential."
For more information about becoming an FRN board member, contact the FRN office at 304-758-5046.