PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners agreed to contribute $5,000 to the Community Citizens in Action Program.
Amy Knicely, a Hamilton Middle School teacher who coordinated the pilot for the program last year at Hamilton, along with Jean Ambrose, representing the West Virginia Civics Literacy Council, and Kim Mathews, Wood County Schools Curriculum coordinator, outlined the basics of the program for this year. Officials hope to expand the program to serve about 150 students in six Wood County schools. The program serves at-risk middle schoolers, providing hands-on civics education.
"The program provides positive role models and includes the community in the children's education, including educating them on what their responsibilities are and how they can improve their community," Knicely said.
Photo by Pamela Brust
School teacher Amy Knicely outlined objectives of the Community Citizens in Action Program to Wood County commissioners.
Last year, students in the program visited the Wood County Justice Center, courthouse, learned about early voting, heard presentations on career paths, visited the old jail, the courtrooms, sat in on a mock trial, visited the assessor, county clerk and records room. They also went to Fort Boreman Park, heard a presentation from a Department of Natural Resources officer, learned about recycling, cleaned up the park, learned how to use technology and communication skills. Volunteers with Carlin's Battery talked to them about volunteerism.
Last year the Wood County Solid Waste Authority board agreed to contribute $2,000 to help with the project.
"We want to be involved again this year," said John Reed, SWA director who suggested the coordinators also investigate the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Youth Environmental Program.
Knicely said the objective is to get the students working as a group to identify an issue/problem in the community that can be addressed through civic responsibility.
"Then they develop and carry out a plan to address that issue/problem," Knicely said.
Last year Hamilton was chosen to pilot the program. Twenty-five students were selected to participate. This year, they hope to grow to five additional schools, VanDevender, Williamstown, Jackson, Blennerhassett and Edison in addition to Hamilton, and include a total of about 150 middle school students.
The program needs list provided to the commission included transportation, $1,200; lunch on field trips, $2,100; T-shirts, $2,100; substitute teachers, $1,800; county coordinators, $5,000, and textbooks, $1,400.
"The idea is good, but you probably need to coordinate with some other community groups like 4-H and Scouts to keep these kids involved," Commissioner Wayne Dunn said.
Mathews told county officials the state Department of Education is eyeing the local program as a possibility for a statewide program.