MIDDLEPORT — A new program for area youth will hosts its kick-off event this Thursday.
R.I.S.E. (Resiliency Initiative for Student Empowerment) will hold an open house event from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Middleport Church of Christ Family Life Center. The program is geared toward teens, and is open to youth age 10 and up, unless accompanied by a parent.
The program is a partnership between the Meigs Prayer Task Force and Hopewell Health Centers with grant funding through the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs ADAMHS Board.
Stacy Dodson from the Prayer Task Force explained that the R.I.S.E. program, following Thursday’s kick-off, will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. through the end of the school year with different dates and times to be planned during the summer.
The program will include hot meals, tutoring help, recreational activities, counseling services through Hopewell, and yoga and mindfulness activities.
Dodson explained that the plan to model it after the former God’s NET which was in Pomeroy for teens, but to grow and expand from what was offered through that program.
“We want this to be a safe place for teens with positive interactions and a place to have fun,” said Dodson.
The kick-off event will include inflatables, Rockin’ Reggie, and cook out and more.
Gallia-Jackson-Meigs ADAMHS Executive Director Robin Harris explained that the state Mental Health and Addiction Services agency allocated funding to 11 counties. The counties were identified based on poverty rates, overdose rates, suicide rates and other factors which put children at an increased risk. The funding was to be focused on programs to build resiliency in youth. The Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board received funding for both Jackson and Meigs counties.
Harris explained that the board put out a request for proposals for the funding and was contacted by the Prayer Task Force.
Unlike much of the funding handled through the board which requires certified treatment providers to receive the funding, this funding was allowed to be awarded to agencies and programs which included non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations and programs such as the YMCA, which received funding in Jackson County.
When looking to apply for the funding the Prayer Task Force was given the idea to partner with Hopewell Health Centers to assist with the handling for the grant funds. Harris noted the Hopewell is good to work with other agencies and programs in the community.
Shannon DeWeese of Hopewell Health Centers explained that Hopewell will be facilitating four weeks of intensive group programs over the summer, including sessions on social and emotional interactions, grief, suicide awareness and for children effected by drugs or grief. The services will be offered at the Family Life Center along with the rest of the R.I.S.E. program to cast a wide net of the services available through the program.
Harris said the hope is that if there is a good response to the program, and that the need for something such as R.I.S.E. can be seen, then additional funding would be available in the next state budget to continue the program. She was optimistic that the funding would be a possibility, adding that Governor Mike DeWine and the current state legislature seem to be willing to allow communities to put funding toward programs which are designed to meet the needs of local residents and the community as a whole.
For adults interested in helping with the R.I.S.E. program, a volunteer training will be held for mentors and tutors to work with the youth.
The Meigs Prayer Task Force was formed in 2012 and became a 501(c)3 organization in 2015. The mission of the Prayer Task Force is coming together in Christian faith to make a better community by offering prayer, education and love. The purpose of the Prayer Task Force is to provide support and education to the community on drug/alcohol addiction. To facilitate training and events on how to help those who are struggling with addition. To look at the problem areas of the community and work diligently to make it better.
For more information visit RISE-Resiliency Initiative for Student Empowerment on Facebook.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.