Four Oaks TotalChild, helping at-risk families, needs $6 million - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Four Oaks TotalChild, helping at-risk families, needs $6 million

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Mariana Hendricks moved to Cedar Rapids with her family about a year ago. Her 6-year-old son goes to Johnson Elementary School, where he is now involved with the Four Oaks TotalChild program.

"My son had some behavior issues and that was one of the things that, they have resources on many things and I thought maybe they can help with that," said Hendricks.

The TotalChild program works with at-risk children and families, helping them become stable, and continuing to provide resources until the child turns 18.

"Our job is to keep those families stabilized and for them to want to do that," said Liz Mathis, Four Oaks chief community officer. "Almost all of our TotalChild families desperately want to do that."

TotalChild is working to raise $6 million. They've already raised more than $3.8 million. Half the money will go towards programming with the rest going toward housing improvements.

"We noticed that a lot of issues with our TotalChild children surrounding housing, and housing is a basic need," said Mathis.

As a part of the program, officials plan to buy 100 houses in the often troubled Wellington Heights neighborhood.

It's through Four Oaks' partnership with the Affordable Housing Network, Inc.

"When families move into a place like this, it's not just a house, it's their home," said Joe Lock, Affordable Housing Network, Inc. "They want to raise their children here and they want to really be a fabric of this neighborhood."

They believe the program will help improve the neighborhood.

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