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Front Page » June 19, 2008 » Carbon County News » Educators, agencies promoting healthy family program in c...
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Educators, agencies promoting healthy family program in county


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate community editor

The maintenance and development of healthy families was was brought to the forefront at Price city’s June 11 council meeting.

Carbon school officials approached the city and requested continued funding for the district’s healthy families coalition.

Following an examination of the program, Price councilmembers voted to contribute $2,500 from the city’s general fund to bolster the community project.

"We put a lot of focus on the drug problem in our community," said coalition member Bonnie Seals. "But drug abuse is only a symptom of the problems in our area. We work together to face the dangers that are affecting our children by facilitating communication between parents, children and the district. We are dedicated to getting involved before the legal system is brought into the situation."

In addition to Seals, the coalition was represented by Bruin Point Elementary Principal Melissa Hamilton and full-time employee Lisa Miller.

According to a Power Point presented by Seals, the Carbon County Healthy Families Coalition is a collaborative effort of many agencies to educate parents and children on the most important issues facing families.

Along with education, the coalition has also developed a prevention component that focuses on working with families before the situation is bad enough to warrant an intervention.

In addition to the group’s ongoing programs, the coalition hosts three annual events, one at Carbon High, one at Bruin Point Elementary and one every July 4.

The family night events consist of educational programs that target positive improvements within the community, effect lasting changes within family units and provide a stress free learning experience.

Along with education, the coalition provides free day care, a meal and resources at every family night.

"We understand how hard it is to pack up the whole family and go to these events," said Seals. "We know parents are thinking, who am going to get to watch the babies? When am I going to feed my family? For these reasons we provide day care and dinner."

Classes provided at family nights include:

•Drug and alcohol education for parents and teens.

•Parenting.

•Taking the stress out of discipline.

•How to communicate with children.

•How to make math fun.

•The importance of reading with children.

•Motivation.

•Conquering challenges.

•Making the most out of what is given.

•Internet safety for parents and children.

In addition to classes, the coalition provides prevention and crisis services, support for up to 23 needy families and threat reduction via ordered plans.

One of the side projects detailed by Seals during the presentation at the council meeting was the provision of glasses to children whose parents could not afford to provide the eyewear.

"The glasses have really turned around some children’s behavior," pointed out Seals. "Kids get frustrated when they can’t see and that translates into behavioral problems. There are some students who improved 100 percent as soon as they got their new glasses."

The coalition has affected youth problems in many ways, including issues with foster care.

According to Seals, the county typically houses between 70 and 90 children in foster care.

The average number was reduced by 26 children during the last year, a reduction Seals credits to early crisis intervention.

"Lisa is the one who gets out in the field and provides home assessments and because of that interaction we have been able to provide many interventions for families in need," explained Seals.

According to Seals, the coalition will use $1,000 of the donated revenues to support the coalition’s family night activities and earmark the remaining $1,500 for flexible funding.

"You know, we have gone as far as to provide gas for parents who are just starting a new job to keep them going until they got their first check," commented Seals.

The Price City Council’s view was that the $2,500 was money well spent as the programs affect the youth of the community for many years to come.

"If we can keep just one child out of the legal system, then this $2,500 will save the city money. By the time you figure the costs associated with the department of children and families and the juvenile and adult corrections facilities, this funding is money well spent," concluded Councilmember Jeanie McEvoy.

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June 19, 2008
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