MIAMI— The Community Crisis Center (CCC) will be hosting a Fern Holland Street Naming Party at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday at 118 A Street SE.

The street naming ceremony in honor of the human rights activist was discussed during the Partners of Ottawa County, Inc. (POCI) meeting on Thursday.

POCI is a 501(c)(3) organization working for the betterment of families, especially children and youth. Projects the coalition is involved with are Bright Futures Miami, Man-Up/My Life and Running Wild.

The CCC will celebrate the official double-street naming of A Street to Fern Holland Way. There will be a ribbon cutting, parade, live music, free chili and cake. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. with the ribbon cutting at noon. Festivities will continue until 2 p.m.

“At the Fern Holland Luncheon in August, Gary Ice had mentioned the street naming and Ben Loring really got behind it and took it to the city,” said Kelsey Prather, CCC assistant director. “They officially voted this past month to change the name. There will be an official unveiling and the Chamber of Commerce will be doing the ribbon cutting.”

Fern’s sister, Vi Holland, will be present at the ceremony to give a speech. All are welcome to attend the event. For more information, call 918-540-2275.

Members of the coalition voted to donate extra funds from an unused account to the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County and to developmental assets. The money donated was from the Haven Homes account, a program that is no longer active.

Approximately $20,000 has been sitting in the account with no intention of continuing the project.

“We don’t want to sit on that money without utilizing it within the community,” POCI vice-president Summer Beck said.

Members voted to donate $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Club to help pay for building finances at the Armory in Riverview Park and to help fund AmeriCorps Volunteers. An additional $5,000 was donated to community developmental assets for youth.

Beck reported updates on its Partners Improving Community Health (PICH) Grant. The grant was awarded to the coalition for another year and is provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Grant awardees proposed specific activities to address the leading risk factors for the major causes of death and disability in the United States including tobacco use, poor nutrition and physical inactivity.

With the grant, POCI was able to sponsor healthy activities for three schools.

“Using PICH funding, we were able to sponsor a school farmers market at Turkey Ford, Afton and Fairland,” Beck said. “Student participants were able to use ‘veggie bucks’ to purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables. PICH is also working with an instructor who will be taking a tobacco-prevention program into these schools, as well.”

The committee has also been working on Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), a community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health. The coalition is currently compiling the data into the top 10 priority needs within Ottawa County.

“We had been collecting community health surveys and will be compiling the responses from those surveys with information gleaned from the other MAPP assessments and available data sources to begin analyzing and prioritizing issues for our POCI CHIP,” Beck said.

Bethany Street of Grand Lake Mental Health Center (GLMHC) reported the status of its family class. The 12-week family course called “Strengthening Families” began on Sept. 15. The class teaches families communication skills and promotes good family interaction.

“‘Strengthening Families’ has begun,” Street said. “We are at capacity with 9 families. We are teaching new skills each week with a focus on increasing desired behaviors from children through positive reinforcement and rewards of attention. The feedback we have gotten from families so far has been very positive and we will continue for the next 11 weeks. Thank you to our community partners.”

Kathy Enyart of the Ottawa County OSU Cooperative Extension said she recently attended a conference provided by AmeriCorps. Enyart mentioned how AmeriCorps volunteers could help assist POCI with its community outreach.

“Volunteers go through special training and are sent out in the areas selected to do work,” Enyart said. “I figured they could help with a lot of the projects we’re trying to get off the ground.”

Past projects completed by AmeriCorps volunteers include tutoring and mentoring youth, serving in after-school programs and building wheelchair ramps. Volunteers spend anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks in an area. Enyart said she will be applying for assistance from the volunteers.

Rachel Crawford of the American Heart Association reported that she is currently trying to work more in this section of the state. She works with minority populations, particularly Native Americans, in the state of Oklahoma.

“I’ve been branching out and picking up other states, in regards to working with native communities,” Crawford said. “Some of the things we’re doing right now include healthy food and beverage guidelines. We also do have an evidence-based program called Check Change Control, which addresses hypertension. It’s a program I can offer to the communities I work with who are at-risk for hypertension at a free cost.”

In other news, the Ottawa, Peoria and Shawnee Tribes’ Special Education Conference is set for 9 a.m. on Oct. 19 at Northeastern Tribal Health System (NTHS). The conference is free and lunch will be provided. For more information, contact Peyton Westmoreland at 918-542-1873.

POCI will meet at noon on Nov. 10 in the Community Room of the Courthouse Annex for its next regular scheduled meeting.

— Kimberly W. Barker is a staff writer for the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at kbarker@miaminewsrecord.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiamiNews_hound.