By Tim Leeds
HELP offers many activities, often in collaboration with other groups, to the kids in Havre.
Once a month, the Scruff's After School Club meets at Oakwood Village Apartments, giving the members a chance to get together and visit and work on activities or projects. The group often performs community service when they meet, such as cleaning up the area as part of the Havre PRIDE clean up last year.
The Scruff character is the nephew of McGruff the crime dog, and McGruff is also involved in many of the HELP activities. One of the partnerships HELP has is with different businesses in the area, which offer special deals and discounts on certain days to kids wearing their McGruff and Company T-shirts.
HELP also sponsors the Youth Coalition for any middle school or high school students. HELP Community Director Robin Morris said they get together every month to do activities, which they always call "operations." Morris said the goal of the operations at the coalition are to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Many of the programs HELP sponsors and works with are designed to do just that, such as their Zero Tolerance and Sober and Safe anti-drinking programs. Morris said they also collaborate with the Montana Tobacco Quitline, which has a toll-free number, 1-877-612-1585. Morris said people who want to quit smoking can get one-on-one counseling and support to help them quit through the hotline.
The committee provides many other activities for kids, such as the family game night it sponsors at Lincoln-McKinley school twice a year, and many different classes and activities aimed at kids or parenting throughout the year, such as HELP's annual summer camp.
Some of the other groups and organization HELP collaborates with in their programs and activities are HRDC and Montana State University-Northern, and Morris said they area forming more and more partnerships with schools to do more prevention programs.
The committee regularly publishes their events in the About Town section of The Havre Daily News, and distributes information to all of the schools as well. There are also open office hours every Monday and Wednesday at Oakwood Village, where people can ask questions or get information, or just visit and have some coffee. Toys are provided for children and there is information available about resources and events in the community.