By Tim Leeds
H.E.L.P has been adding some help to what it offers for children, parents and families in the area.
Along with with collaboration with Lincoln-McKinley Elementary School, H.E.L.P. is also working with HRDC and Montana State University-Northern, Community Director Robin Morris said.
"It's a fantastic level of collaboration," she said, "a wonderful, wonderful partnership."
There are many programs involved in the partnership, including the latchkey kid program begun in December of 1998. Flyers are sent home with all elementary school children, Morris said, telling when and where the classes are.
There is a coffee hour held every Monday in Oakwood Village Apartments where parents can come and visit and share their concerns with other parents. The parents meet in one room while their children have supervised play in another bedroom.
This gives parents a chance to relax over a cup of coffee after the weekend without being concerned about their children. Parents are welcome to bring their handiwork with them to the coffee hour.
A game night is sponsored at Lincoln-Mckinley where members of the Havre High School H.E.L.P.ers bring games to the school and invite anyone in the neighborhood to come in and play. This is a free time to come and visit and play and build a sense of community. Morris said close to 100 people came to the game night held last fall.
The H.E.L.P. Zero Tolerance Campaign is again underway. A billboard is up stating "Zero tolerance for underage drinking" on First Street, providing a message to minors in the community.
Morris said they want to give the message that minors not using illegal substances is the norm, not the exception. She said statistics show that most minors do not use drugs or alcohol, and peer pressure should not be an influence on use. She said they try to put the billboard up in the spring, to combat the parties and "keggers" that go on at this time.
Part of the projects and the collaboration going on are funded through a Drug Free Communities grant. This is the second year the Havre H.E.L.P. Committee has received the grant, and Morris said they are working on the application for the third year right now. She said it is a five year project, and they are also working on strategies to sustain these projects after the funding ceases.
She said she thinks that will be natural with the partnerships they have in the community.