Family Wellness Court hands out book bags, school supplies

Published 8:13 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A mom in Dallas County Family Wellness Court wasn’t sure how she would go about getting school supplies and uniforms for her children.

“I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how I would get a job and make this happen,” the mom said Wednesday morning.

However, thanks to the generosity of strangers and wellness court staff members, that’s one burden that has been lifted.

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The court handed out book bags, school supplies and uniforms to children whose parents are in the wellness court. People are in the Family Wellness Court because of drug and alcohol dependency and not criminal reasons.

Family Wellness Court director Miah Jackson said the staff wanted to make back to school as easy as possible for people in the program.

“We want to make sure you all are in the best position to send your children back to school. At times, it can be stressful to get things prepared and all the things they may need. This is your boost to get that done,” Jackson said to those in the courtroom.

About 25 children from preschool to high school were given a book bag; school supplies specific to each child’s grade and school; a pair of shoes; and two uniforms. Students enrolled in schools that don’t have a uniform policy were given two outfits

Jackson said failure in school is a key factor of why people ultimately end up in drug court, and she wants to make sure students have every chance to succeed and to stop a cycle of drug and alcohol use.

The court is also starting a books, baths and beds program to give parents books to read to their children at night before bed.

“These are some of the things we are implementing because we are going to make sure what you all are going through does not become intergenerational,” Jackson said.

District Court Judge Bob Armstrong said the court wants to help make sure students are prepared but also to make families stronger.

“We are all for you. We want you to succeed,” Armstrong said. “Everything is designed for you to get your kids back or keep your family together. That’s the whole point of family wellness court. The staff really cares for you.”

Armstrong said the school supply giveaway was evidence of that support.

“All this stuff just didn’t grow legs and walk in these bags. Somebody had to buy them. Somebody had to organize it. Somebody had to raise the money to get it. The time that went into this is phenomenal,” Armstrong said. “This is what love looks like right here.”