WILLIAMSON – At the final meeting for 2015, the Strong Through Our Plan (STOP) Coalition discussed goals and events for the upcoming year.
This year, STOP plans to continue the community forums and town hall meetings. “I want to continue our forums similar to what we had in Oct. I would like to see that occur once every three months to keep that momentum up,” Joshua Murphy, Program Director for STOP, said.
Murphy also discussed hosting a Teen Summit in the upcoming year. The summit focuses on issues such as using social media, making responsible decisions and promoting a healthy lifestyle. “It is really focused on transitioning from out of high school and into college,” Murphy said. “I really want to look at get that going again this year,” Murphy continued.
Community and professional trainings were also discussed at the meeting. “We want to continue that.” Murphy said. “There have been three in the past month,” he continued.
Upcoming conferences were also mentioned at the meeting. The W.Va. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Conference that occurs in Nov. was discussed in detail. The conference is held every Nov. “That is one of our goals for 2016. We really would like to push youth led initiatives,” Murphy explained.
Drema Dempsey, Director of Mingo County Student Services, discussed increasing SAAD involvement within the school system. “We should like to support getting SAAD into all of our schools. We will work with you to try to make that happen,” Dempsey said.
Tim White discussed initiatives that will be implemented in 2016. One initiative White discussed is the Handle with Care initiative. White explained Handle with Care saying, “We identify a liaison with the BOE that anytime there is a situation that involves law enforcement in that child’s life. The principal will be contacted at the school that child attends and be told that the child will need to be ‘handled with care.’ It is trauma informed care and helps provide more stability and care.”
In 2015, STOP has grown in size and support. To encourage community involvement, STOP hopes to add additional meetings and evening meetings. “Since STOP is growing, I would like to start teams and have smaller groups focus on things that we need to work on such as a fundraising, law enforcement, a parental component, youth and faith based,” Murphy said. “It would be more of a focused goal,” Murphy continued.
The next STOP meeting will take place Wednesday, Jan. 13.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)