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By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
The Coosa County Children’s Policy Council, or CPC, is looking at ways to stay active and involved with the communities and area youth as it looks to fall events coming up in the county.
With 20 people attending last Tuesday’s meeting, including seven via Zoom and 13 in person, the group heard from multiple individuals and agencies regarding ways the group can participate in upcoming events, both at the school and in communities.
Marty Rittmann, an instrumental volunteer who spearheads the CPC meetings, said that she will have a CPC table set up for Goodwater’s October Fest on October 15. She asked those interested to provide her with information about their respective agencies that they would like for her to include at that table to hand out during the event.
The CPC members in attendance for the meeting also discussed the possibility of having a program geared towards parents, with the program coinciding with the school system’s Red Ribbon Week, which would be October 27-31. They briefly discussed possibly having refreshments and a door prize type giveaway to help encourage attendance and participation.
However, during discussion of that possibility, members also began talking about Halloween events being held in the county. Those included the elementary school’s Fall Festival to be held October 28 and Halloween events in both Goodwater and Rockford the evening of October 31.
Parent Teacher Organization President Maressa Ware stated that the school’s Fall Festival is open to the community and is not just for elementary students. She said that meant the CPC would have further reach at that event, as well.
During further discussion, the group mentioned CPC setting up tables for those events and having treats for the youth and information to hand out to parents and guardians.
In separate discussion, when asked what the biggest issue is at the schools currently, School Resource Officer Cpl. Bradgel Moon said that vaping is the biggest current issue, including all grade levels. He stated that vapes are too easily accessible and that they have to stay vigilant regarding children’s access to and use of them.
That led to group discussion among attendees about the dangers of vaping and how prevalent it is with youth now.
As such, the group mentioned possibly having information specifically about vaping and the associated dangers of it to hand out to adults during the Halloween events. They also suggested possibly holding a poster contest in which students could participate, with vaping being the theme.
Following discussion, Meg Masters, who is the school system’s project director for the Literacy Everywhere grant, and Cpl. Moon said that they would handle the CPC table for Goodwater’s Halloween event. Rittmann said that she would handle the table for the elementary school’s Fall Festival and Rockford’s trick-or-treat.
Other CPC members and agencies are asked to contact Rittmann to let her know when and where they would like to assist with these upcoming festivities.
Regarding other events, during the meeting Moon was able to confirm that the high school would be having a Career Fair this year. However, at the time it was not known when that will be held, and the CPC is expected to discuss possible participation in that event during a future meeting.
In other business, Kay Jennings, executive director with TCR Child Care, provided an update on the Head Start program that will be coming to the school. She said that they hope to have it open in early October.
She also mentioned that they still have some open slots for the pre-kindergarten program for 4 year olds. For more information, those interested can call 256-493-1484 or email email@example.com.
Additionally, Courtney Layfield with Lake Martin Area United Way reported that Coosa County had a “phenomenal” Day of Action at the high school at the end of July. She thanked everyone involved and said that they had 65 volunteers participate, which was more than they had at any other location.
In other business, Rittmann reminded everyone about the statewide CPC virtual conference to be held October 27, with a registration link being sent via email to members for them to participate if they so choose.
The next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Children’s Policy Council will be held at 12 p.m. October 11 at the E-911 building in Rockford.