Agency gets $75,000 to create peer education program

October 07, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

Results from a survey given to the residents of the public housing units in the Jonathan Street community helped a Washington County agency receive a $75,000 state grant to establish a peer education program in the neighborhood, an agency official said last week.

The Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families invited area residents to come to the Parkside Community Center on May 3 to fill out Neighborhood Initiative surveys. The 135 people who filled out the survey were paid $10 and given free pizza and soda, Gina Hartley, partnership project coordinator, said.

The residents were asked if they could plan a program to solve a community problem, what age group would they design the program to serve. Forty-two percent said ages 13 through 19, Hartley said. Thirty-seven percent said the program should be for children under age 12.


The residents said the program should be offered in the neighborhood on weekday evenings and cover such topics as drug and alcohol prevention, job training, parenting skills and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

The county agency cited the survey results in its request to the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families for a grant to start a program, Hartley said.

The 24-week program, which will be designed for teenagers aged 14 through 18, will be at Bethel Gardens Community Center two nights a week.

The program is expected to start in January.

As part of the survey, residents were asked about community problems.

Mary Berry, who has lived near the community center for six years, said she hopes the program will help the neighborhood, especially disenchanted teenagers and others filled with despair.

"I think it is great. We need something over here," she said.

For more information about the program, call 240-313-2090.

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