Agency printing parent handbook in English and Spanish

Published 10:23 am Monday, April 30, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Saginaw-based Shelby County Drug Free Coalition will be looking to give Shelby County parents a realistic, matter-of-fact look at some of the biggest issues facing children – regardless of which language they speak.

This year will mark the first time the agency has printed its annual parent handbook in both English and Spanish, said coalition Project Coordinator Carol Williams.

The Drug Free Coalition has printed the handbook and distributed it to every school in Shelby County each year for more than a decade to give parents a real-world look at issues their kids may be facing. The coalition also distributes copies of the handbook to other county agencies and distributes the book during events throughout the year.

“We usually hand them out during registration every year,” Williams said. “Last year, a lot of parents asked if we had it in Spanish. We know it’s definitely a need.”

In January, a class at the University of Montevallo began translating the 12-page handbook from English to Spanish, which Williams said was “a huge undertaking.”

“The University of Montevallo did it free of charge, and we are so grateful to them,” Williams said.

The handbook covers topics ranging from bullying and online safety to alcohol and drug use.

The book includes several tips to keep the relationship between parents and kids strong, such as “guide your child,” “set a good example,” “tune in” and “respect your child.” The book also includes warning signs of several potential problems kids face.

Contact numbers for several county agencies, such as substance abuse hotlines, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office secret witness line and the Drug Free Coalition. Over the years, the handbook has grown to include information about topics such as “sexting,” bullying and online safety.

“You never know what a young person may be going through, so we make this available as a resource to parents,” Williams said. “We get calls all the time from parents who don’t know who to ask or where to go when they suspect their children may be facing these issues.”