Project HOPE Chili Dinner Set for Friday’s Whistle Game

Lincoln Elementary School, HOPE Center Headquarters

Lincoln Elementary School, HOPE Center Headquarters

Volunteers and members of Project HOPE made final plans for their annual chili dinner fund-raiser this year. The event will be held on the east end of Savage Stadium from 5pm to 6:30pm this Friday, October 23 for the classic Whistle Game match-up between rivals Lamar and La Junta.  This will be the first time the meal will not be held at the Lincoln School, according to HOPE Executive Director, Lori Hammer.  She stated a need for, “All hands on deck early to set up” at the stadium before game time.

County Commissioner, Wendy Buxton-Andrade suggested the Coalition apply for a mini grant for $2,500 for 2016 to secure learning materials relating to child abuse. She mentioned the county Department of Human Services will apply for the grant relating to the local Child Hotline Call Center at the Prowers County Annex and would help the Coalition apply for their own if they decide to pursue the program.  “These funds would be a way to help break away from the cycle of child abuse in the county,” she explained, adding that materials would be provided to the students as well as a class presentation with a person experienced in educating children on the concepts of child abuse situations.

Anita Zavala told the Coalition that Lamar Police Officer, Cory Allen Forgue, the department’s Resource Officer for Lamar schools, was called in a the last minute to deliver a presentation to the Young HOPE students.  “He talked about curfews, MIPs, speeding, switching drivers and cyber bullying, which got away from the usual discussions about alcohol and drugs,” she stated.  She added that the students had a lot of questions for him, and showed some buy-in into the range of topics he covered for them that night.

Lori Hammer, Executive Director, said there may be a time when a class could be held to educate students on the proper manner to apply for a job. “I was speaking with Jennifer Steward of J & N Shoes during the recent shoe give-away she holds with Share the Spirit, and she mentioned that quite a few students who apply for jobs aren’t displaying some basic interview skills. Maybe that’s something we could address,” she explained, adding that just applying in clothes that match how they’d dress for a job would be a start, as well as making eye contact, shaking hands, speaking out in a clear voice… all that would help students get their first part-time job.  Hammer said she was also considering a program that would have students host and speak out in the community about drug prevention ideas and let them represent their own age group from their own viewpoints.

Hammer told the Coalition that Project HOPE had received the $20,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation and El Pomar representatives she had spoken with have asked for their grant schedules, which was a positive sign. Local donations include $100 from Living Covenant Ministries, which has become a monthly donation from them, Prowers Medical Center donated $100 for the Friday snacks the students receive, $605.70 was generated from the Emergency Services football game held at Savage Stadium recently and she was hopeful the Friday Chili Supper would add to the general fund.

She mentioned at a community gathering focusing on the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain will be held at the Lamar High School auditorium on Thursday, November 5th.  The free event will run from 5:30pm to 6:30pm and features Dr. Sean LeNoue, MD from the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry who will discuss the negative chemical effects the use of the drug has on young brains.  The comment was made that because the drug is now legally available in parts of the state, many youngsters feel that it can be used and cannot harm them.  The program is sponsored by SB 94 and the 15th Judicial District Probation Office.

(Editor’s Note:  SECPA donated $300 to the HOPE Center, one of several donations made recently by the power company.)

By Russ Baldwin

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