Coalition honors Varnado High School senior

Published 2:21 pm Friday, July 31, 2020

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Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its July meeting at ADAPT on Tuesday. LaDarrick Smith, Washington Parish Youth Coalition Member and CADCA Trainer, addressed the members.

LaDarrick is a senior at Varnado High School and has been a youth coalition member since his eighth-grade year in school. LaDarrick presented trainings during the last week of July at the Virtual National Mid-Year CADCA Conference. He showed the WPCHS members an example of a community assessment that he prepared for one of his sessions. LaDarrick talked about the importance of identifying problems in the community, using data to back it up. Each of the parish high schools has a Youth Coalition and students are welcomed to apply for membership.

Reports were given by members. Rusty Fornea, ADAPT Executive Director, announced that ADAPT is continuing to offer all services, including the sexual assault services which are free. ADAPT is partnering with FPHSA to create a digital prevention library that will be a great resource for our parish. The HRSA grant will begin Sept. 1 and we should receive notice if we will be receiving it during the first week of August.

Regina Meyerchick, ADAPT/WPYC Director, reported highlights from activities that the youth are participating in this week through the CADCA Mid-Year Virtual Conference. Rhonda Gunnell, ADAPT/PFS Director, reported that the “Tall Cop Says Stop” program will be offered free of charge on Aug. 4. She said that the PFS program will be providing Alcohol Prevention Billboards at each of the schools in our parish featuring our local youth and the message “7 out of 10 students do not drink alcohol.”

Frances Varnado, Washington Parish Schools Superintendent, announced that school would begin on Aug. 10 for teachers and Aug. 17 for students. The current plan is to start with a hybrid A/B day schedule. Safety is a priority and each school will be preparing to welcome the schools back in a clean, safe environment.

Kay Kay Warner, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, announced that OLOAH is looking into an opioids program for pregnant women to help have a healthier community. Warner also mentioned that children should be monitored for signs of depression and that we should share a list of symptoms with parents.

AJ Sherrard, FPHSA/Bogalusa Behavioral Health Clinic, reported that FPHSA serves those who are seeking substance abuse treatment and those with serious health issues. Sherrard reported that Beacon Health Care and Therapeutic Counselling Services both are available for children in need of services for anxiety and depression.

Sarah Pavur, Hope House, announced that Stewards of Children training for adults will be held on Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, and Play it Safe for middle school aged children on July 30 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Gloria Kates, Bogalusa City Council, congratulated the City of Bogalusa on its smoking ordinance. Kates reported that individuals who would like to report non-compliance issues related to COVID-19 orders can call 504-568-8506 or 1-800-256-5452. Katasha August, Bogalusa High School, announced that BHS provides behavioral health services for their students in grades 7-12 through Access Health.

Attendees of the July meeting included Rhonda Gunnell, Frances Varnado, Mike Ingram, KayKay Warner, LaDarrick Smith, Luke Fornea, Rusty Fornea, Ginger Champagne, Regina Meyerchick, Bailey Burdette, Easton Smith, Dana Walker, Katasha August, Sarah Pavur, David Boudreaux, Gloria Kates, Jennifer Johnson, Marty Hennegan, Toni Staton, Emma Ross, Glory Davis, Maddie Champagne and Brittny Costella.

The next scheduled meeting for WPCHS will be on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 9 a.m. at ADAPT, 216 Memphis St. in Bogalusa. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Rusty Fornea at 985-735-0160.