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Partners for HOPE Observe Child Abuse Prevention Month

Ice Cream Happy

Ice Cream Happy

 

HOPE Coalition members met recently at Lincoln School regarding last minute details for the ice cream social held on Friday, April 15th which featured dozens of youngsters and gallons of ice cream.  Coalition members also dealt with the serious topics of child and drug abuse.

Kavitha Kailasam of Rise Above

Kavitha Kailasam of Rise Above

Kavitha Kailasam, of the statewide Rise Above program, discussed her role in assisting communities with the organization’s projects. “We’re recruiting for the statewide Teen Action Council which focuses lives free of drug abuse and mis-use and Lamar can play a role in that function,” she explained.  Rise Above has engaged youth with various mural art projects around town, as well as compiling photos of the community which reference their concerns and observations, good and bad.  She explained that funding is available in Colorado for Council members to attend an introductory training session in June and Lamar, as one of the communities selected for the project, can apply for grant funding.  She said there are two communities in metro Denver, Pueblo, Mesa and three counties in northwest Colorado as well as Lamar involved in the initial project.  The lessons learned from the meetings will form a template to guide development for communities in the future.

Kavitha Kailasam of Rise Above

Kavitha Kailasam of Rise Above

County Commissioner, Wendy Buxton-Andrade, who is this year’s president of the HOPE Coalition, told the group that work is underway to re-start the Drug Abuse Task Force in Prowers County. She added that a workable date is being sought for new members and the current focus will provide statistical information which relates to the ways drug abuse becomes prevalent in our community.  The information, which will be personally confidential, will be provided from various local health agencies.  HOPE executive director, Lori Hammer, said some drug paraphernalia was found at the city’s tree farm, just north of the HOPE Center community garden, but items such as syringes can be found in almost any neighborhood in Lamar.  She said students are aware of drug use in the community, and the HOPE program offers several means by which students can stay informed about the harmful effects of illegal drugs.

Now that it’s spring, more attention is being given to the student’s community garden just north of Lincoln School. Seedlings are taking root in one of the spare rooms for later planting and more neighborhood residents are buying into the project.  Hammer reported that a group has cleared additional land adjacent to the garden and are planting pumpkins and lilac bushes as well as two kinds of fruit trees.  Last year, volunteers from around the neighborhood took turns with watering duties.  Hammer said the youngsters have harvested vegetables last year and used them for meals at the HOPE Center and took some home for their family meals.

Attendance at the HOPE Center is on the increase with an average of 146 students daily and Susan Portner reported the One Step Up program averages from 30 to 40 students each Friday. Recent donations totaled $700.

The ice cream social, held in the Lincoln School gym, was a hit with the students. Volunteers from the County Health and Environment Department, the HOPE Coalition and Lamar Police Department served ice cream sundaes as well as root beer floats.

Mia Martinez, Alianna Gutierrez and Mariela Sylva

Mia Martinez, Alianna Gutierrez and Mariela Sylva

Three young students who created the Child Abuse Awareness posters which are displayed through the month at the Prowers County Courthouse and Annex and at Prowers Medical Center, posed with their handiwork.  The best ideas from all the submissions were compiled into one poster.  The three are Mia Martinez, Alianna Gutierrez and Mariela Sylva.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyEducationEntertainmentFeaturedHealthPublic SafetySchoolYouth

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