Coalition hears about autism center

Published 4:13 am Friday, December 15, 2017

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services heard a presentation from Omika Bickham on the new Southeast Autism Enrichment Center on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 9:30 a.m. at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church.

The proposed center is designed to focus on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), or the use of techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior. The non-profit center is looking for grants and funding from foundations and federal funding. Debbie Meyers of FEMA, Toni Jackson of United Methodist Long Term Recovery and Shirley Methune, a Disaster Case Manager for Catholic Charities also gave updates on their work with flood recovery.

New officers were announced for 2018. They include: president, Gloria Kates; vice president, Kay Kay Warner; second vice president, Gail Brigham; secretary, Brooke Green; treasurer, Ginger Champagne; and parliamentarian, Percy Knight.

The Prevention Connection, a pre-Coalition meeting, featured a preview of an ordinance from San Antonio, Texas, and Mississippi, which curtailed underage drinking by fining parents who serve or allow alcohol to be served in the home with young people under the age of 21. Further information can be found on the San Antonio ordinance online at

Gail Brigham, Coalition Coordinator, reported on a new television commercial, billboard campaign and PowerPoint presentation on underage drinking which will be sponsored by ADAPT, Inc., and funded by and in collaboration with Florida Parish Human Services Authority and their grant from the Louisiana Partnerships for Success. The campaign features “Talk, They Hear You,” in which parents are urged to talk to young people as young as 9 years old about the hazards and consequences of drinking alcohol. Rhonda Gunnell reported on the Drug Free Communities grant and the work to update an Action Plan.

Representatives from Safe Harbor, Bogalusa High School, Louisiana House of Representatives for District 75 in Washington and St. Tammany parishes, Nurse Family Partnership, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, Brightside Social Services, FEMA and the Bogalusa City Council also gave information on their latest community endeavors.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the ESM United Methodist Church in Bogalusa. There will be a committee meeting at 8:30 a.m. and coalition meeting at 9:30 a.m. The coalition is open to all.