Port Angeles Family Center has bigger space to go with big hearts

by | Jul 21, 2022 | Child Welfare, Family Support

The Port Angeles Family Center is an oasis in the middle of a public housing development.

Early this year LCS Northwest’s Port Angeles Family Center moved to a building more than four times larger than the old center. On the road to Hurricane Ridge, behind a chain-link fence 150 yards from Olympic National Park, this new home base for the agency’s Clallam County programs is kind of like the Olympic Peninsula itself – wide open and full of possibility.

“It’s been a labor of love to get here,” says Lisa Lyon, program manager for LCS Clallam, of the 3,400-square-foot building that the local Boy & Girls Club moved out of last summer.

There are shelves of hygiene items and books for kids and adults. There’s a washer and dryer for people living in public housing next door, or living on the streets. There’s a large freezer stocked regularly by Peninsula Food Bank, a public access computer, a sitting room, and an office for child screenings to help ensure kids are socially and emotionally ready for school.

The LCS Clallam team includes (from left) Family Support Specialists Janice Holman and Tanya Pankowski and Program Manager Lisa Lyon.

There is also more space for Lisa and her small team to prepare for special events – diaper giveaways, the annual school supply drive in late summer and Toys for Tots distribution before the holidays. Her staff includes two Family Support Specialists, Tanya Pankowski and Janice Holman.

“We don’t turn anyone away, ever,” says Lisa, who recently marked her 20th anniversary with the agency in Port Angeles.

The center has an ideal location in the middle of the city’s only public housing development for families. And Port Angeles needs all the family support resources it can get. What was once a bustling timber town now sees more than 17 percent of its residents living below the poverty line, 12th highest among Washington cities.

LCS Clallam reaches across the sprawling county from Sequim to Forks and serves about 5,500 clients a year. With so much territory to cover in the remote left hand corner of the state, Lisa and her team can’t be blamed for feeling isolated – and protective.

“We are far enough from the Interstate 5 corridor that if we don’t care for us, nobody will,” Tanya says.

To learn more about how they’re partnering with the greater Clallam community, check them out on social media at – https://www.facebook.com/lcsnw.clallam/