‘Raising Today’s Youth’ workshop targets parents, grandparents, caregivers

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

Drug prevention, parenting strategies and mental health are among the topics to be covered in a “Raising Today’s Youth” workshop scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12 at First Baptist Church of Columbiana from 10 a.m. until noon.

The Tri-City Impact Team, a collaboration between Columbiana, Wilsonville and Shelby with the purpose of serving those communities with information about drug trends and other important topics affecting today’s youth, is hosting the workshop, which is co-sponsored by Central Alabama Wellness, Compact (formerly Compact 2020), M4A, the Shelby County Schools Board of Education, and the Children’s Policy Council Mental Health Committee.

Parents, grandparents and caregivers of children and teenagers are encouraged to attend. Sack lunches will be provided.

“We wanted it to be a very informational conference where parents and grandparents can come and get information about different areas that are of concern about them and their children,” said Zina Cartwell, prevention director with Central Alabama Wellness. “In order for us to make a difference, the entire community needs to be accepted. We pour into every aspect of the community that impacts that child. We want to plant those seeds so kids can grow and make the right decisions for their lives.”

The Tri-City Impact Team was developed in 2019 and has taken part in events like Columbiana’s Liberty Day. The live workshop is a first for the group, however.

Cartwell said members of the group had been meeting via conference calls to plan different activities and events for the three communities.

“It’s a collaborative effort, and we’re always working on ideas that will empower our community and assist our families within our communities,” she said.

Cartwell said grandparents are specifically targeted because group members noticed that there were numerous grandparents in the area raising kids. The workshop will address the generational gap that occurs in such families—for example, grandparents are not as likely to be social media savvy and may not be aware of all the resources available to them.

“A lot of the grandparents are forced to be in certain situations because of substance abuse of their children, and the grandparents step up to raise the children,” Cartwell said. “As a result, some grandparents can feel overwhelmed.”

Other important goals, she added, involve doing interactive games and having empowering conversations with kids. All such educational activities would be planned with social distancing in mind.

Topics for the workshop will include:

  • Empowering versus enabling
  • Current juvenile drug trends
  • Parenting strategies for positive school attendance
  • M4A Alabama CARES Grandparents’ Program

Due to social distancing recommendations, registration is required. For more information, contact Cartwell at 205-728-8454 or zcartwell@centralalabamawellness.org, or contact Natalie Steed, community coordinator, at 205-728-8748 or natalie.steed@shelbyda.com.

“This could not have been possible without participation from all groups,” Cartwell said. “Community collaboration is huge—that’s how we make a difference.”