The DeKalb County Children's Service Council held an appreciation dinner Saturday night at the Smithville Rotary Building to recognize accomplishments of the organization and to honor corporate sponsors and other volunteers who have supported efforts of the group.
The council is a non-profit, tax exempt organization that works in partnership with other community groups, local businesses, and individuals to improve our county. It was formed in March, 1998 under the Tennessee Department of Children's Services as a community based organization with a focus on keeping at-risk children and youth out of state custody.
Over the years, the council has expanded this scope to include the welfare of all DeKalb County children, youth, and their families. To facilitate this mission, the council is incorporated and has received 501C-3 non profit status and is able to receive grants and donations for the purpose of developing recreational and service activities for families.
Clata Redmon, secretary and grant writer, presided over Saturday night's program and highlighted some of the achievements over the past ten years including partnering with corporate sponsor Walmart along with the residents and leaders of Dowelltown to help raise funds for new playground equipment there. Redmon says more than $18,000 has been raised but more money will be needed to fund the project, which is expected to cost more than $29,000.
Other programs and projects sponsored or supported by the DeKalb County Children's Service Council over the years include installation of restrooms and water fountains at the Smithville Airport Park in collaboration with the City of Smithville; supporting the construction of a handicapped ramp at Rotary Youth building; obtaining a grant from Tennessee Arts Commission and Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to sponsor the Nashville Ballet for two years; obtaining a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to sponsor fifteen shows of a professional story teller; obtaining funds to purchase and distribute tote bags filled with school supplies to approximately 300 kindergarten children for two years; sponsoring accelerated reading classes; sponsoring a class of special education students; raising funds to sponsor a Vista worker for a year; sponsoring a Saturday morning readers club at the housing projects community room; sponsoring a disabled child to be able to go to New York and showcase his artistic talent; sponsoring a community needs assessment by inviting a Vanderbilt professor to speak to the community; sponsoring a Mental Health Awareness Fair; supporting " A Night to Talk" at the high school; sponsoring a Mental Health Fair at Greenbrook Park; involvement in pre-Jamboree warm-ups; helping the Alexandria Friends sell their cook books; purchasing a stone on the walking path dedicated to the youth of DeKalb County; sponsoring a "Free Family Fun and Community Resource Fair" for the past three years; and purchasing a "Fatal Vision" drug and alcohol awareness education kit for school and community use, among others.
Redmon presented special awards to Walmart of Smithville and to NHC Healthcare Center, corporate sponsors who support the DeKalb County Children's Service Council. NHC serves as the regular meeting place for the group.
Other supporters recognized who were unable to attend included Sheriff Patrick Ray, Tom Janney, Judge Bratten Cook II, and the operators of Bumper's Drive-In
Three members of the organization were singled out for special recognition, Kenneth Neal, Wanda Redman, and Vonda Brown. Others recognized for their support were Faye Fuqua, Connie Beltz, Grady Prichard, Merle Harris, Jeanette Neal, and Jason Neal
Youth Council members include Dustin Brown, Haley Brown, C.J Harris., Katie Stutts, Jessica Goldstein, and Elizabeth Lawson.
Officers are President Vonda Brown; Vice-President Kenneth Neal; Secretary and Grant Writer Clata Redmon; Treasurer Merril Harris; Accountant Tom Janney; and Reporter and Publicity Chair Carol South.