Sessions include safety, early literacy, financial literacy and mental health

Parents and community members can learn about techniques and resources for optimizing family wellness by attending a free Parent and Community Mini-Conference hosted by STEP on Monday, Dec. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Franklin Center in Rocky Mount.

The conference is free but participants must register by Wednesday, Dec. 11 by calling 540-352-3200 or emailing Elisabet.minter@stepincva.com. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Four information sessions have been scheduled, beginning at 10 a.m. with Richard Champaign with Franklin County Public Safety who will present on Home and Health Safety, and Emergency Preparedness. At 10:50 a.m. Dorothy Anderson with the Franklin County Public Library will share methods to encourage reading with young children and Early Literacy. Keri Garnett with Freedom First Credit Union will talk about Financial Literacy and share tips about handling finances and services, beginning at 11:40 a.m. Following a lunch break, at 1:10 p.m. Jean Odachowski with Family Preservation will address Mental Health, the treatment options and help that is available.

A variety of vendors will also be on hand to provide information about community resources. The mini-conference is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) are comprehensive education, health and nutrition programs specifically designed to help parents prepare their children for school in Franklin and Patrick counties. They are designed to foster the healthy development of children from low-income families. STEP classrooms also provide the opportunity for the social, emotional, and intellectual growth along with health screenings, medical and dental support services. The Head Start approach serves the entire family and seeks to empower both parent and child. Nearly 25 million pre-school aged children across the United States have benefited from Head Start since its inception in 1965.

STEP’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs serve more than 200 clients, including pregnant women and children from birth through age 5. With more than 50 education professionals, STEP’s team includes teachers, teacher assistants, family service specialists and educators, health advocates, and transportation specialists.

STEP (Solutions That Empower People) is a community action agency with services in Franklin and Patrick counties, and Bedford, Martinsville and Danville. In addition to Head Start and Early Head Start, services include youth services (LIFES Academy and Project Discovery); senior services (Meals on Wheels, transportation); supportive services (re-entry, homelessness prevention); housing and weatherization; and financial services (tax preparation assistance). STEP’s mission is to empower people to overcome barriers to economic, educational and developmental success within the communities it serves.

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