Coalition holds its November meeting

Published 4:46 am Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its November meeting at the ESM United Methodist Church. State Rep. Malinda White addressed the group. White has a strong faith and said, “I ask God to lead me and guide me as I makes decisions for the people that I serve.”

According to White, our state is in good shape with a surplus budget in place. She is passionate about having local resources available for the citizens of our parish. White is working diligently to bring a “Healing Center” to the community. It would be housed in the vacated psych ward at the former Charity Hospital. The “Healing Center” would offer inpatient detox and rehab using a holistic treatment approach. Data from the Louisiana Department of Health indicates that Washington Parish is ranked number one in the state for opioid related deaths per capita. White wants more local resources to combat this problem and is determined to make this a reality in the near future.

Reports were given by members. Charlette Fornea reported on the Prevention Connection meeting that takes place at 8:30 a.m. immediately before the WPCHS meeting. Prevention Connection focuses on data and means to help with problems in our parish.

Rhonda Gunnell gave an update on the Drug Free Community (DFC) grant. She introduced LaDarrick Smith, student at Varnado High School, who has been actively involved in the Youth Coalition at both the local and national level. Taffy Morrison reported that the Bogalusa Strong Meeting would be hosted by the Rotary Club at the Country Club on the fourth Tuesday of each month at noon. The public is invited to attend. President Gloria Kates adjourned the meeting, and ADAPT provided a Thanksgiving luncheon for all in attendance.

Attendees of the November meeting included: Debra Knight, Toyanica Burris, Alva Smith Jenna Mizell, Keisha Woods, Ginger Champagne, Wendy Castillo, Sheila Seal, Heather Gagliano, Malinda White, Sue Kennedy, Veronica Thomas, Ana Lopez, Regina Meyerchick, LaDarrick Smith, Emma Jean Ross, Glory Davis, Taffy Morrison, Charlette Fornea, Levi Lewis, Rhonda Gunnell, and Gloria Kates.

The next scheduled meeting for the WPCHS will be on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 9:30 a.m. at ESM United Methodist Church. Meetings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Rhonda Gunnell or Charlette Fornea at 985-735-0160.