Finding help for kids

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 19, 2007

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of a three-part series focusing on children in Selma and Dallas County, centered around activities developed for the Week of The Child.

By Victor Inge


Email newsletter signup

The Week of The Child should make a difference in the lives of area children, and organizers hope after the week’s activities conclude, momentum will keep activities ongoing throughout the year.

While children are the focal point of the week, The Selma Times-Journal examines the needs of children in a three-part series that highlights the planned activities for the week, asks area child experts what children need, and look at ongoing activities for children.

Activities are planned for Oct. 22 through Nov. 1, the night of the scheduled banquet at the Slavery & Civil War Museum on Water Avenue. The week’s activities, which are actually planned for 10 days, begin Oct. 26 with the annual African Extravaganza in Selma. The theme is &8220;Help a Child Smile.&8221;

The Alabama New South Coalition sent out a request for community organizers from throughout the city and surrounding areas.

The group has met over the past several weeks and came up with activities for children, culminating with a banquet honoring children.

Dallas County Commissioner Connell Towns, who represents the Selmont community, is a product of Southside High School. He said they have been working on alternatives for their young people. One has been after school tutorials at Shiloh Elementary School.

The Selmont community has had its share of bad publicity lately, as a security guard was shot and killed as he talked with a Selma police officer. Juveniles were allegedly involved in the shooting and have pending legal matters as a result.

In the Selmont community there is a parent and student meeting Oct. 24 at the Storm Shelter on the playground in Selmont at 5 p.m. Movie Night is Oct. 25 for the Selmont community, with pickups from the Storm Shelter at 4:30 p.m. for youths without a ride, organizers said.

Towns said their community has been attempting to deal with students dropping out of school, the guns that are in the wrong hands, and the youths that have no outlets.

He said the children have complained of nothing to do, and the Week of The Child will remedy that. Prior projects in the area have given them something to do &045; and something for their parents.

Towns said he is seeing progress, and they are constantly trying to reach out to area youths.

The organizers of the week’s activities said they are not only trying to address the immediate needs of children, but teach things that will make lasting impressions.

The group has discussed developing a program that offers micro loans of $250 to $500 to young people wanting to start small businesses, and a job bank.

They are encouraging businesses to create part-time jobs and contact representatives of the group for posting in its job bank.