Coalition discusses funding

By Erin (Perkins) Johnson -

POINT PLEASANT — On Tuesday afternoon at the Mason County Prevention Coalition (MCPC) meeting the major topics of discussion concerned the coalition’s remaining budget funding and the Community Needs Assessment.

The members discussed putting some funding into the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters, Greg Fowler, Mason County Family Resource Network (FRN) executive director, wants to give $500 to each of the chapters. Richard Sargent, Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School teacher and SADD Chapter leader, explained he would like to use some of his chapter’s funding for new tee-shirts. Though he has some tee-shirts left from last year, he does not know the exact amount of members he will have this year or know what size shirts all of them will require. He knows he will have students returning from last year, two being solid leaders for this year’s SADD Chapter.

Prevention Coordinator Ronie Wheeler has plans on speaking to representatives from Wahama Junior/Senior High School as well as Hannan Junior/ Senior High School on making and/or continuing those SADD chapters.

The members also discussed purchasing more giveaways for upcoming events such as the Point Pleasant Halloween Block Party in October, purchasing tee-shirts for the youth who attend the upcoming Teen Institute which is tentatively set for Oct. 24, and business cards for Wheeler.

The members also discussed the need for more representation from different community leaders at the monthly meetings as well as special events such as the Community Needs Assessment. The Community Needs Assessment works better when a full representation of community leaders are in attendance so they can discuss together and work together to make a better community.

“How do we get people to attend?” asked Fowler. “The Community Needs Assessment was held without representation needed for an accurate assessment. We can’t do it without people participating and need key individuals.”

John Machir, housing director of the Mason County Homeless Shelter and SIMMS Housing, suggested accessing the media to get the message out and visit entities within the community personally and invite them to meetings, continuously if need be.

Wheeler shared he will start going to the city/town council meetings and the county commission meetings regularly to invite the community leaders as well as local residents to their meetings.

Bree Ramey of the Workforce West Virginia Career Center suggested each member sectioning off different groups of entities with whom they would like to attend the meetings and visit them regularly offering them invitations to attend.

In other business, Wheeler gave updates from the regional prevention coalition meeting. The various county coordinators were able to try out an “Escape the Vape” escape room that the coordinators can use for events depending availability. Also, the prevention youth retreat that was held in Parchment Valley in Ripley was a success.

By Erin (Perkins) Johnson

Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.

Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.