Bright Futures Miami continues to address student needs, in response to the loss of school-based social workers in Oklahoma schools.

MIAMI— Bright Futures Miami continues to address student needs, in response to the loss of school-based social workers in Oklahoma schools.

The program’s progress was discussed in the Partners of Ottawa County, Inc. (POCI) meeting on Thursday. Bright Futures recently helped a family at Wilson Elementary with repairs to the heating unit in their home.

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.

Bright Futures Miami is an affiliate of Bright Futures USA, a non-profit organization that helps the Miami School District to connect student needs with existing community resources.

The coalition came up with the idea of forming committees for each Miami Public School after budget cuts took away the school-based social workers.

The Miami “Bright Futures Committee” is comprised of local businesses, faith-based organizations, social service agencies, parents and individuals who wish to help children succeed in the community.

Thus far, the program has helped provide blankets, hats and gloves to Miami families after their homes were broken into. In collaboration with J&M Farms, Bright Futures presented blankets to every first grader in Miami and Commerce in memory of Steve Wright.

In Wraparound updates, Grand Lake Mental Health Center’s (GLMHC) Wraparound Service is growing. The Wraparound Service is an intensive home-based service for children and families who are at higher risk. The center is providing “Celebrating Families,” a 15-week family program, which will begin on March 2. The program will address the effects of substance abuse and moving past patterns.

In other news, Tracie DeLano, Man Up/My Life program director, reported that Man Up is currently exploring speaker possibilities and will have official meetings soon. DeLano also reported that she will be the chair of the “Positive Youth Development” action group.

Anyone interested in being part of the group can attend the meeting, which will be held immediately after the POCI meeting on Feb. 9. The meeting will be used to brainstorm strategies and is open to anyone in the community. Strategies for this group include: increasing protective factors, increasing and developing life skill, and increasing parental investment, which will act as a starting point for the action group.

Sarah Johnson discussed the need for leaders for the Poverty and Mental Wellness action groups. Leader’s responsibilities will be to meet on a regular basis, coordinate with Johnson and discuss forming an action plan.

Bethany Street of GLMHC offered to lead the Mental Wellness action group at this time. Jordan Barlow offered to lead the Poverty Action group.

In announcements, the Northeastern A&M College Health Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 8. The event is free and open to the public and free to vendors.

Willow Crest Hospital in Miami, an inpatient psychiatric facility that provides treatment to children and adolescents ages 6-17 with emotional and behavioral issues, will be having an open house in the near future after new renovations to the facility are completed.

In program updates, Kathy Enyart shared progress on the AmeriCorps program. The concept form has been accepted and the final application is due on Jan. 30. Project ideas for the program including 4-H youth involvement, the animal shelter, community garden, etc. This 8-12 week program will begin April 12th and continue until July.

POCI will meet at noon on Feb. 9 in the Courthouse Annex community room for its next monthly meeting.

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