HOPE Coalition members discussed events surrounding former Bronco Super Bowl Star, Vance Johnson’s attendance at a number of planned in events in Lamar on Thursday, April 27th. Johnson, one of the Three Amigos, spends time leading motivational seminars which focus on various forms of addiction, from alcohol to drugs and the best means of dealing with forms of dependency. Johnson is expected to hold a presentation at the Lamar High School at 10am on the 27th, followed by a similar meeting at 2pm at the Lamar Middle School, hold several talks at the Lamar Community Building until 4:30pm and then lead in a community event and discussion at 6:30 that evening. Johnson is expected to reference segments of his personal life which included the loss of his son to a drunk driver and his own struggle with becoming free of his alcohol dependency.
As the school year narrows into the home stretch, Anthony LaTour, director of the Alternative Program School at the HOPE Center, said he’s focusing on securing several grants which will fund projects into the new school year. A Tony Grampsis grant will help fund a three-fold project which includes counseling services, increasing alternatives to middle school students and add two more positions. One position will be for lab work and the other will be headquartered in the library. “We’re also attempting to reintegrate some of the students into the high school classrooms for next fall, working with metals, wood and some elective classes,” he explained. He said he expected to receive word on the grant by the end of April.
LaTour is also a coach for the bully prevention program at the high school. “A 30 to 40 question survey is being distributed. Once we have analyzed the responses; we’ll have a better idea of how to develop a response for each school. We’re also open to adult input as well as have student leadership teams,” he stated. He said the survey questions aren’t personal, but will look for trends of bullying regarding frequency and the type of student more apt to be a bully.
The local Family Leadership Training Institution is focusing on a project with the HOPE Center. One will be the student garden. Volunteers will be assigned a schedule that works for their timetable, but on Friday evenings, anyone can come out and do some general supervised work. Several people are working on helping fund $2,500 for the Center and their plans will be laid out during this year’s Lamar Days, May 19-20 at Willow Creek Park. A fundraising project to purchase a $300 banner is developing. HOPE students will carry the banner during the annual parade and pass out information about the Center. There has been discussion on continuing ESL classes for adults, due to its popularity. There may be a two month break in the summer and re-start classes in August. Anita Zavala said several trips for Center students have been planned for early June. “We’ll go to John Martin Dam on June 2nd and on the 6th, the students will be in Colorado Springs to view the Discover Space Center. We plan to have lunch at the Garden of the Gods and have a geo-caching tour while we’re there. She said the One Step Up students are getting involved in fundraising activities so they can plant grass on the school playground. A tentative date of June 9th is set for the Blue Rose Ranch in Baca County. Plans are also developing an end of the year event for the students, perhaps the traditional planting day in their garden or a BBQ.
By Russ Baldwin
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