By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
The Laurel County Violence Prevention Coalition met Thursday to discuss accomplishments of the past year and goals for the future.
Members discussed what they had learned and how they could improve upon the coalition.
Parenting classes and their lack of attendance was a main focus point of the meeting.
“The classes were barely attended,” said June Rawlings, of Saint Joseph London hospital.
“In these days and times, you almost have to go to them; we have to think outside the box,” explained Lisa Rutherford, who is with Saint Joseph London’s community outreach. Coalition members said they felt parenting classes were an important part of preventing child abuse, especially in teen or young parents.
“There is a larger amount of child abuse statistics that come from that parenting age group because in some cases, they just don’t know,” said John Kim, Saint Joseph Violence Prevention Manager. He added that the coalition had learned a lot from the lack of attendance of the parenting classes.
“Now we can see what we need to do better and know how we can grow,” Kim said.
Laurel County Health Department Director of Nursing Rinda Vanderhoof suggested setting up parenting classes in social services buildings for a day.
Another idea that came out of the meeting about preventing child abuse, especially shaken baby syndrome, was to make a public service announcement using teens.
“If we get teens to work on this project, other teens are more willing to watch it,” Kim agreed.
“It could even be taken to the next level at school with PSAs about bullying and cyber-bullying,” suggested Charity Fuson, who works with South Laurel Middle School Youth Service Center.
“We have the technology at school and youth leadership students that could do it,” Fuson said.
Tammy Williams with Cumberland Valley Area Development District suggested putting the PSA on at the movies or even social networking sites in order to access a broader teenage audience.
Before the meeting’s close, it was decided that a subcommittee needed to be organized to work on the public service announcements.
Rawlings also updated coalition members on the shaken baby simulator and education program that the hospital has been doing.
“We trained over 102 daycare workers on shaken baby syndrome and several parents as well,” Rawlings said, adding that the class was going great.
“The simulator really helps people to understand how easy it is to hurt a child,” Rawlings said.