A local child-centered non-profit organization has plans to put extra emphasis on helping preschool-aged children beginning in the fall.
Nancy Stites, director of Dawson County Family Connection, said beginning in June volunteers will put together a strategy team to work out the details of its “fresh look at the community.”
Stites said Family Connection has reached the end of a three-year cycle that “examines the needs of the area and creates a new strategic plan that involves community driven priorities.”
The process, Stites said, involves not only the staff of Family Connection, but key leaders in the community, family members and others who would like to be involved.
The decision to center on preschool-aged children, Stites said, comes from “responses involving issues of parental substance abuse, education and discipline ... it all came back to the parents of these children.”
She said working with children in the specific age group is advantageous because “at that age they start new habits early, and it gives the kids a better chance for successful education ... so that when they get to school they’re going to be prepared.”
The recent reexamination of the organization’s focus points back to its role in the community, she said.
“At Family Connection,” Stites said, “we try to create or have in place a program that is needed in the community, and it’s our goal to offer that program. It’s our goal to identify the need and make sure somebody takes care of it.”
Family Connection is an umbrella organization that has been in Dawson County for 20 years. It helps start programs, and the programs often become their own respective organizations.
Said Stites: “Some of the programs have gone on to become their own non-profits ... we start them, and they go off on their own.”
Programs started through Family Connection include the first school-based health clinic in Dawson County, the mentoring program, school resource officers, Prevent Child Abuse Dawson, Church Alliance and Meth Task Force.
The chief goal behind the formation of all organizations, Stites said, is “ensuring that everyone works together ... so that all segments of the community make progress toward changing outcomes for families and children.”
For more information, call Stites at (706) 265-1981 or visit www.gafcp.org/fcnetwork/dawson.