was hosted by Kristin Lessen, partnership director, and
each task force offered speakers who outlined the activities of
their group over the last year.
The Healthy Communities Partnership has brought together 56
organizations and 14 churches along with several community
volunteers who are working together with the vision of making Logan
County the healthiest community in America.
Their primary goals are to provide education, support and
alternative activities that promote healthy lifestyles and increase
preventive health care and primary care to those who are otherwise
unable to obtain these services.
Education Task Force
First up for the evening were Heidi Browne and Wade Kaesebier,
who serve on the Education Task Force.
The objectives of this task force are to reduce the number of
high school dropouts in Logan County. As mentioned in previous
articles published in LDN, this issue is not directly related to
health, but statistics show that those who do not graduate from high
school are more likely to end up in situations of teen pregnancy,
substance abuse, violence and child abuse.
The task force, which has been up and running for about 18
months, has established three programs directed at keeping kids in
Connections Count is a mentorship program that brings adult
volunteers together with at-risk youth on a junior high school
Browne said that mentors are not replacements for parents or
teachers, but rather they are additional members of the child's
support group. Their role is to provide support, counsel and
friendship that will help young people realize their own potential
and grow with it.
Miss School…Miss Out is another program that is being put into
place. Browne said the goal of this program is to raise public
awareness of the dropout and truancy problems in Logan County.
Part of the concept is that community and business partners and
leaders will engage in the program by deterring the activities of
young people during the hours when they should be in school.
For example, business owners would pledge that they would not do
business with a student during school hours and that they would not
employ a student during school hours unless that student is enrolled
in a school work experience program.
The task force's third ongoing project is called Joint
Opportunities for Building Skills, or JOBS.
This project will place at-risk students with business mentors on
the work front. Students will receive training and guidance from
their business mentors that will help them understand the importance
of continuing their education.
They will gain experience in a real job and develop skills that
will help them determine their future goals.
Parish Nurse Task Force
Judy Horn spoke on the activities of the Parish Nurse Task Force.
This task force works directly in church congregations, offering
their knowledge and experience to the congregations.
They share information about the Healthy Communities Partnership
and its other task forces and assist parish members in getting the
services they need.
Horn said that they are always seeking more parish nurses and
will offer paid training to anyone who is interested in being a part
of this program.
This year the group has participated in the Logan County Health
Fair and promoted the Vial of Life program.
The Vial of Life is particularly useful for seniors or those with
severe medical problems. The objective is for these people to have a
vial that contains a written record of current medications and other
pertinent information that would be useful to emergency services or
anyone who would be with that person at a point when they fell ill
and could not speak for themselves.
Senior Issues Task Force
Marcia Cook spoke for the Senior Issues Task Force, saying that
there are currently two main focuses the group is working on:
obtaining assistance for seniors who are going without their
medications due to cost, and preventing crimes against seniors
through education and awareness programs.
The task force participated in this year's Senior Resource Fair
and had their first food drive.
Cook said the food drive was very successful, bringing in $600 in
cash and six pallets of food that was distributed to four local food
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The group is also working with the Logan County Triad, which
brings together local law enforcement, senior service agencies and
senior citizens in an effort to prevent crimes against seniors
The group has also put together a program that gives seniors cell
phones free of charge. The concept of the program is to be assured
that in emergency situations, seniors have access to the services
they need. The phones are restricted to dialing 911 only.
Cook said the task force also works to provide fun social events
for the seniors and pointed out a special event they will have on
Veterans Day. There will be a USO dance on Nov. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.
at the American Legion with music by the Jim Markham Swing Band.
The task force has also put together a Senior Resource Manual
that lists dozens of services available to the elderly. The manual,
which is available in hard copy from the task force, is also
published online at
Domestic Abuse and Violence Task Force
Tiffany Carvalho spoke about the Domestic Abuse and Violence Task
Force, which is often referred to as the DAV.
The task force is working on an education program for school-age
children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The program is
designed to help children understand domestic abuse and give them
the courage to report acts of violence against themselves or their
family members. The group works with this young age group using a
theme of "Hands are not for hitting, words are not for hurting."
Carvalho said that one of the biggest challenges the DAV is
facing is in encouraging victims of domestic abuse and violence to
follow through with orders of protection.
In 2010 there have been 196 cases of domestic abuse or violence
filed in Logan County. Of those, 164 warranted an emergency order of
Emergency orders, though, are only temporary, and the problem
lies in that too many victims will not follow through with plenary
orders that would protect them from their assailant on a long-term
basis. In 2010, of the 164 temporary orders filed, only 54 victims
went on to seek plenary orders.
This concludes Part 1 of a two-part series on the 2010 report
from the Healthy Communities Partnership.
In Part 2, Kristin Lessen, Marsha Greenslate, Roy Logan, Margie
Harris and Kat Young report about the task forces they are involved
[By NILA SMITH]
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