Morgan Co.community groups get tax funding
July 17, 2014 By Tricia Lynn Strader - Special to The Journal , Journal News BERKELEY SPRINGS - Morgan County commissioners heard reports at their July 10 meeting from community groups seeking hotel/motel tax funds. Vicki Barnard of Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Eastern Panhandle addressed the commission, looking for $3,000 in funds. "I can tell you about the exciting things we have to look forward to because of help," Barnard said. "You have helped us defray a lot of costs. We recruit community volunteers from Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan to work with the children." Since 2012, six advocate volunteers came forward from Morgan County. Two were unable to complete training but want to return at some point. She said there are currently the remaining four from Morgan County working with 21 children. Overall, there are 46 active volunteers in the Panhandle. She said the ideal situation, per the national CASA standards, is to match each volunteer with one child. Barnard said funds from the commission have enhanced what they've been able to do at CASA. As of July 10, she said, there are 38 new children in the system from Morgan County this year.
The process begins with investigations from Child Protective Services, and cases are passed on to CASA. One of the aspects of CASA is helping children in reunification processes after being removed from their homes. Commissioners approved an allocation of $3,000. Carolyn Zdziera gave commissioners a summary of the work of the Community Alternatives to Violence Program, a family violence intervention group. On June 21, Commissioner Stacy Dugan asked for $4,620 for Community Alternatives to Violence. That was granted, but the other commissioners had requested a representative of the program to give them a review. Zdziera said her office and CASA sometimes have cases in common, when people are referred to classes given by the Community Alternative to Violence. She gave an update on the Mentors in Violence Prevention program, an initiative that addresses gender violence and effective bystander intervention at schools, colleges, in the U.S. military and sports leagues. This program was started in Morgan County last September at Berkeley Springs High School, in part with funds from the commission. Eleven kids completed the course, which met every two weeks during the school year. Zdziera said they talked about how the kids would react in certain hypothetical situations. Emphasis was put on not being a silent bystander, but intervening in non-physical ways. "It isn't about bullying, but the things that lead up to it," she said. Attorney Larry Schultz spoke about the success of the Community Alternative to Violence Program. The number of repeat offenders is decreasing, he said. © Copyright 2014 Journal News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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