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Family Coalition revving up for new year

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

SOUTHWICK On Sept. 28, the Southwick Family Support Coalition had an open meeting with community service providers to identify trends, conditions and problems within the community and discuss ways in which they can be addressed.

In attendance were members of the Coalition board: new Coalition coordinator Mary Ellen More; Superintendent of Schools, Thomas E. Witham; newly-elected Selectman Roger Cataldo; Jessica Orcutt of the family networks KEY Program; and Jill McKeon, the resource coordinator for the Department of Social Services. "We got off to a fast start this year," Penny Sibley, an adjustment councilor for Woodland Elementary said. "It has been challenging."

"We are thankful for the roles you play and the help you give us. It is amazing the things that pop-out of the woodwork and it's nice to see that there are options," Witham said to members of the Coalition and guests.

Rebecca Hart, of the steering committee, spoke of high school age-programs that the Coalition is working with that include the "Between Tween Program" and a program that will resemble "Dancing with the Stars" but geared for teens.

Witherim said that the "Between Tween Program" assists with, "building a bit of a different culture."

"It is small groups of students that are chosen in groups who are not happy with school and not adjusting, socially, emotionally -a way for them to have an anger management," Hart said to Reminder Publications.

The Coalition aids with referring families to programs that are not limited to but include fuel assistance, playgroups, food drives, scholarships, food stamps, red cross programs, financial assistance, mental health counseling, after school care and more.

The Coalition is comprised of residents, human service providers and others from the civic community. They meet twice a month and the next meeting is Oct. 25. The Coalition is looking for members of the community to become involved for more information contact Debbie at 569-3456.