A number of services are available through LIFE Inc.

By Marquise Morgan

LIFE Inc.’s Jesup office is proud to share news of some of our recent developments within Wayne County with our Family Connection partners. We have had success working with the Area Agency on Aging to deploy ramps to various people, including a “Mrs. A” right here in Jesup. We also have developed a new service program centered around assisting people with COVID related expenses.

Mrs. A’s LIFE Story

Ms. A of Wayne County was one of our later AAA referrals, but nonetheless we were able to help her promptly after receiving the AAA info. Mrs. A was a soft-spoken women with post-polio syndrome that had also recently broken her leg. She mentioned the challenge her daughter and granddaughter had getting her down steep steps as a major challenge to her health and mobility.

Our procedures for assessing the need and getting a ramp built are quite intensive. For example, for Mrs. A, we took pictures of the property, measured the door frame and driveway, and sent the info. to Nationwide Ramps for an estimate. After that, we assess our funding options and approve the ramp with a waiver for the consumer. From there, it’s all up to Nationwide’s experts to deploy the sturdy and practically indestructible aluminum ramps for the consumer.

Mrs. A was absolutely elated over the ramp, thanking us profusely and commenting on how much it has eased her and her family’s logistical issues. In a testimonial, she said “it was truly a blessing and we thank you. I appreciate what LIFE has done for me and the ramp has greatly helped”. We were of course happy to help and even more pleased to hear that she felt it had a measurable improvement on her well-being.

Life Logo

COVID-19 Service Programs

Another development that has the great potential to be a boon for Wayne County would be our CARES ACT funded COVID-19 Service Programs. Using our relief funds, we have assembled a service delivery program to assist with various areas of need among our community. This includes food, rental and housing assistance, assistive tech and living aids, home modifications, utility assistance, transportation, assistance for medicine, childcare, and other things that can be linked to COVID related issues. This wide net will allow us to broadly deliver services to assist in a wide range of COVID related problems that a person may be having. Our qualifications for this program are roughly the same as our standard ones for service delivery (live in one of our 20 service counties; Must state that they have significant disability; must be a consumer). This also includes the added caveat of having to fill out some paperwork and do an intake with us to determine their qualifications for the program and to make sure the issue has a relation to COVID-19. Of course, if it not COVID related, we can still help them with our other core services. Without that, they are not eligible for the COVID-19 Service Delivery.

We are excited to be expanding our home modification program and to bring this COVID Services program to the people of Wayne County. If you have any questions, please contact our Jesup office at 912-385-2214, or email us directly at mmorgan@lifecil.com or rblack@lifecil.com. We hope to hear from and we’re here to help.

Coping with the Holiday Season

While Christmas is known as “the most wonderful time of the year”, it can also be a catalyst for stress, pressure, and conflict for many people. Some are feeling overwhelmed by the expectations, COVID 19, family issues, etc. and become depressed during the holidays. A lack of time, money, and the pressure of gift giving can often contribute to stress. I’m sure we all can relate in some form or fashion. Ultimately, it can take quite a toll on our mental health trying to keep the merry and joyous season all straight in our head. We’d like to share some advice that may help you stop stress and keep the season jolly!

First, as the season starts approaching, don’t let it be something you are already dreading.

Think positively…for example, say to yourself ‘This year is going to be different. I’m going to give with my heart and not let my circumstances control my emotions.’ By learning to recognize your holiday triggers, you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. 

Next, don’t let your mental health be overlooked during the holidays.

Many peoples’ feelings and emotions are amplified by the festivities of the Christmas season and new year. Don’t let this prevent you from reaching out if you need help with the problems you are experiencing. There are people that care about you and will take time to make sure you are in a good place.  

Also, Christmas is a time for re-connection with loved ones, whether that’s through Christmas cards, phone calls, Skype or family Facetimes. This Christmas, instead of simply exchanging small talk with family and friends, don’t be afraid to ask how they are really doing. Let the people close to you know that they can talk to you if they are ever feeling depressed or lonely, and vice versa. We understand that this year has been extremely difficult for some.

Lastly, we want our Wayne County community to support one another. 

During this time, check in with a support group, a therapist, a faith community, or friends who understand. Let your loved ones know that however you can support them, you will! It may be something as simple as picking up a few gifts for a neighbor or meeting up with a friend for a walk. 

We know that mental illness, emotional struggles, and other concerns can hinder someone from enjoying this holiday season. We have professional help available through our Mental Health Task Force team. If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone today – give our Mental Health Task Force a call. Weekdays 9am – 5pm: 912-530-8889 or After Hours: 912-256-2150.

We encourage you to share this article with your friends and family. If there is someone in your circle that could use help, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can be part of making a difference in our Wayne County community. Wishing you a joyous holiday season along with a little planning and positive thinking!

Give Your Child a ‘Head Start’ for Fundamental Success

head start program

Head Start is a quality child care service provided to three, four and five year olds founded by the Georgia Head Start Association to help these students become prepared for kindergarten. Fortunately, they have partnered with other agencies including Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, Inc. to provide services in Wayne and surrounding counties. Since 1967, Coastal GA Area Community Action Authority, Inc. has been providing a pathway to self-sufficiency for individuals facing challenging times. With the COVID pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, Head Start gives children the opportunity to continue to learn.

Head Start students are provided educational activities using the Creative Curriculum and children’s knowledge is tracked with outcomes provided to parents. When speaking with Tanisha Towns, Center Supervisor for Wayne County, we talked about how the enrollment is a little low this year. She states, “We can fully operate at a maximum capacity of 102 students but with the COVID virus, we currently have 63 enrolled.” She also states that they do require all students to wear masks, sanitize appropriately, and social distance. Another factor that comes into play is that parents are not allowed in the facility. Head Start staff meets the parents outside for drop off and pick up each day. Considering the circumstances, 63 students is still a great number to foster an enjoyment for learning, developing a positive attitude about school and helping each child reach their maximum potential.

So you may be wondering…who is eligible for this Head Start Program?

  • Families who meet income requirement
  • Homeless and foster children
  • Children with special needs

Nutritional meals and snacks are provided and mind you – all of this is at no cost to you! After all, they want to stick to their motto of ‘Helping people, changing lives, and building families’. Everyone deserves the best life possible. Reach out to someone you may know that could benefit from this impactful organization.

More information about Wayne County Head Start can be found in our Resource Directory. We encourage anyone to use the resources available on our website to meet your needs and help others do the same.

Find us on social media to send us your latest news and updates to share!

Please consider liking/following us on our social media to stay up to date with our community news and events. We can be found on Facebook at Family Connection – Wayne County, GA and Instagram at wcfamilyconnect. Also, if your organization would like to educate, inform or update Wayne County citizens on a topic or event you’ve been working on – reach out to us so you can be featured here on our website! Other promotional shout-outs will be in the Family Connection column of the Press-Sentinel, our social media, and an email sent to our collaborative members.

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month with the next meeting being held at the end of January. Stay safe Wayne County community!

DFCS Still Open for Business

Many businesses have faced hardships since the pandemic causing some local small businesses to close their doors in Wayne County. Comparingly, we have also seen many businesses show their resilience by coming up with new ways to generate business and keep the same happy customers! We wanted to highlight a great organization that has done just that for the past several months. Regina Fraser, Director of Wayne County Family and Children Services, states, “As the front doors to the Department of Family and Children Services building have been locked since March, we want to remind the public that we are still working and are open for business, just not in the same fashion that we were prior to March 2020.”

That means that for the safety of their customers and staff, all of their services are now available online through the Division of Family and Children Services.

All services and operations are open for business and may be accessed through the following resources and application processes:

  • To report suspected child abuse or neglect Call DFCS Child Protective Services (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) at 1-855-GACHILD or 1-855-422-4453.
  • If you have questions about an existing child welfare case, call your case manager or their supervisor for support.
  • To apply for Food Stamps, Medical Assistance & TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Go to dfcs.georgia.gov/services and download a paper application. Mail it to Wayne County Family & Children Services at 1220 South 1st Street, Jesup, GA 31545
  • To check on your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), go to www.connectebt.com/gaebtclient
  • ADA Reasonable Modification Information can be found at dhs.georgia.gov/notices
  • To request an Application or Renewal Form by phone, call 877-423-4746
  • Obtain a paper application of any of these forms at the Blue Information Box outside our DFCS office
  • Completed applications should be placed in the drop box or mailed to Wayne County DFCS, 1220 S. First Street, Jesup, GA 31545

Download these printable flyers to use in your office.

More information about Wayne County DFCS can be found in our Resource Directory. We encourage anyone to use the resources available on our website to meet your needs and help others do the same.

Please consider liking/following us on our social media to stay up to date with our community news and events. We can be found on Facebook at Family Connection – Wayne County, GA and Instagram at wcfamilyconnect.

Also, if your organization would like to educate, inform or update Wayne County citizens on a topic or event you’ve been working on – reach out to us so you can be featured here in the Articles section of our website!

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month with the next meeting being held at the end of January. Stay safe Wayne County community!

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

This month, we want to recognize the dedicated professionals who make a daily difference in the lives of the people they serve. These caregivers come in many roles from therapists and aids, administrators and nurses, CNAs and social workers. Their compassion and attention to detail improve the lives of every resident under their care. Their patience and time provide improved quality of life and peace of mind for family members. The month celebrates these qualities and so much more.

elderly woman looking at phone

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is the largest and most-respected trade association representing the nation’s home care and hospice organizations. The NAHC President William A. Dombi states, “Home care and hospice nurses, therapists, aides, and other providers who choose to use their lives to serve our country’s aged, disabled, and dying. This noble work deserves our recognition and praise and we celebrate November as Home Care & Hospice Month for that very reason. 

Take time to thank those who provide home care and hospice care. Their dedicated service should not go unnoticed.

Home Care Services in Wayne County

Some places in Wayne County that provide home care services are:

  • Heartland Hospice Serving Southeast Georgia
  • CHSGA Home Health & Affinis Hospice
  • Hospice of South Georgia
  • GHC Hospice 
  • Community Home Care

A special thank you to all of our home town and hospice heroes. You all have worked in the most extraordinary circumstances during the COVID 19 pandemic and beyond.

Please consider liking our Facebook page and following us on social media to stay up to date with our community news and events. Also, if your organization would like to educate, inform or update Wayne County citizens on a topic or event you’ve been working on – reach out to us so you can be featured here in the Family Connection column of the Press-Sentinel and on our website!

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month with the next meeting being this coming Monday at 9:30AM.

Source: NAHC.org

Family Connection Organizations Seek Volunteers

Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What you are doing for others?” There is just something special about devoting your time to make a difference in your community. 

volunteers raising hands

There are a lot of Partnerships within the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative that could use volunteers. One of our greatest needs is with Tri-County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). A CASA volunteer is an individual that has an independent voice in court who advocates solely for the best interest of the child. The CASA volunteer spends significant time getting to know the child, as well as reviewing records and interviewing the child, family members and other relevant persons to determine the facts and circumstances of the child’s situation. 

A CASA volunteer is a dedicated member of the community who is appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interest of an abused or neglected child in the state’s care.  A CASA Volunteer has the ability to alter a child’s life in a positive way. The Program ensures that foster children are not forgotten, but rather are afforded every opportunity to have a happy and healthy life. If you would like to know more information about this opportunity, please contact Pam Holmes at 912- 367-0064 or visit their volunteer page on their website.

Check out our Resource Directory for more ways to volunteer.

Another place that you can also visit to find out more information about areas to volunteer in is our Resource Directory on the website. You can find various category listings including Volunteer Opportunities at the bottom of the page. This features each organization that has some sort of volunteer based program for you to be a part of. Some organizations are:

  • LIFE Inc.
  • Fairhaven 
  • Skylark
  • Wayne Memorial Hospital Educational Services
  • Pineland
  • United Way of South Georgia
  • Wayne County UGA Extension Office
  • Action Pact
  • Face to Face Recovery
  • FreeHart Center

The list goes on and on and the opportunities are endless. To see change in your community, get involved by contacting one of these organizations.

If your organization is in need of needs volunteers and you don’t see it listed in the Resource Directory, you can update your Resource Directory listing on our website. You can also contact us to find out more information about each organization. We can get you in touch with the right people. 

Also, if your organization would like to educate, inform or update Wayne County citizens on a topic or event you’ve been working on – reach out to us so you can be featured here in the Articles section of our Family Connection website!

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month with the next meeting being held November 23rd.

Fair Haven Market helps those in need

By Kristen Balding

(Editor’s note: Kristen Balding is the outreach and awareness coordinator for Fair Haven. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

store front of fair haven market

If you’re a native of Wayne County, you’re probably very familiar with Fair Haven Market– an eclectic thrift store located in the heart of Jesup right across the train tracks. You may have even heard of their daily sales, including their “Quarter Clothing Sale”, where most clothing can be purchased for only .25, but what you may not be aware of is the purpose behind your purchase and the difference that you’re making by choosing to shop at this “diamond in the rough” second-hand shop.  

The Market has a mission and that is to help those in need. Although, the main focus of Fair Haven is assisting survivors of domestic violence in the recovery process; with the generous donations provided by patrons and members of Wayne County, the store has been able to provide clothing, food, furniture, and other necessities to many countless people in need that aren’t victims of domestic violence.

Fair Haven Market has become a beacon of light to so many within our community that have fallen on hard times and have found themselves in hopeless situations.  

If you like to shop and want to purchase with a purpose, please consider visiting Fair Haven Market. You won’t be disappointed with knowing that your shopping is saving lives and making a positive difference locally!

To view their Resource Directory page, click here: Fair Haven

You can also like them on Facebook for updates, events, and market related posts by clicking the button below!

BeThe1To Campaign Recap

The BeThe1To campaign offers awareness of how you can help people through their struggles of everyday life.

The following images are for Wayne County Family Connection’s social media pages. You can view them and read the 5 Steps of the BeThe1To campaign on the Articles tab of our website.

BeThe1To title page

Our community can help one another with asking their friends and families about their mental health when they see them struggling:

BeThe1To campaign ask

Show someone in your life how much you care for them and that you’re glad they’re in your life:

BeThe1To campaign be there

Keep our community safe by knowing about the resources available to help people through difficult times:

BeThe1To campaign keep them safe

Let them know you are there for them through all the ups & downs of life by getting them connected with support in our community:

BeThe1To campaign help them connect

Lastly, follow up with someone in your life that you know has been facing some challenges:

BeThe1To campaign follow up

We know that mental illness, emotional struggles, and other concerns can hinder someone from living life to their fullest. We have professional help available through our Mental Health Task Force team. If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone today – give this number a call.

mental health task force #

We encourage you to share these steps with your friends and family. If there is someone in your circle that could use help, put these steps into practice. You can be part of making a difference in our Wayne County community.

If your organization would like to educate, inform or update Wayne County citizens on a topic or event you’ve been working on – reach out to us so you can be featured here on our website, in the Family Connection column of the Press-Sentinel and be given a special shoutout to all our collaborative members!

Join our Collaborative Team

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are the 4th Monday of each month with the next one being this upcoming Monday (10/26) at 9:30am. Visit our Family Connection tab if you have questions.

Resource Directory Serving as Help Desk for Community

Families and friends all over Southeast Georgia are in search of more resources to support themselves through this difficult year. With over 120 listings in our Resource Directory, people can search for their needs using keywords or the advanced search option. After that, it will populate a list of customized resources based on your search along with contact information. The directory also gives you 36 different categories to choose from based on the assistance you are looking for. They include:

  • Children & Youth Services
  • Education / Training
  • Disabilities
  • Mental Health
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Teen & Young Adults
  • Job Assistance
  • Veteran Services

You can view all the categories in the Resource Directory here.

Pam Holmes, Executive Director of Tri-County CASA, states, “As a social worker for many years, I highly recommend this directory as a great resource for Wayne County and surrounding counties.” 

Tri-County CASA Inc. volunteers have been advocating for the foster children of Appling, Wayne and Jeff Davis counties for more than 20 years. CASA volunteers are also court-appointed special advocates. This means they are specially trained community citizens. For instance, they advocate for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system with the child’s best interest in mind. 

listings in resource directory

If your organization would like to be part of our Family Connection Collaborative like Tri-County CASA, you can submit a listing by clicking on the Resource Directory tab at the top and select ‘Create A Listing’ below the search.

Criteria for Resource Directory Listing

There is criteria an organization must fit to be listed in the Resource Directory. Additionally, programs must have an office in or serve residents of Wayne County. Lastly, and most importantly, if your agency is for profit, they must offer free or low cost services to the community. Some examples of organization are:

  • Advocacy groups related to health and human service issues.
  • Civic and business associations.
  • Information and referral services.
  • Community groups.
  • Chambers of Commerce.
  • Licensed childcare facilities.
  • Self-help support groups.
  • Administrative offices of public schools in Wayne County

Therefore, do your part in showing your friends and family our free Resource Directory. You can access the directory by going to the Resource Directory tab. 

If you are a part of an organization that is currently listed in our directory, we encourage you to view it and see if there are any changes that need to be made. After that, you can update the form by hovering over the ‘Resource Directory’ tab and clicking the Update Form button. 

Above all, our goal through this is to connect people to the resources they need to help improve our community overall.

The Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would also like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150 or familyconnection@waynehelp.com.  Meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on collaborative meetings and other events. Our next meeting is October 26th at 9:30am!

Wayne County Schools educate students on suicide awareness

wayne county suicide prevention

115 Columbia Suicide Rating Scales were completed on students who were referred to the Counseling Department this past school year. As a result of the rating scale evaluations, 31 students were hospitalized for further evaluation. Over 150 students were referred to outside counseling services for ongoing treatment. 

As we near the end of September, Wayne County High School Crisis Counselor, JoAnne Roach, and School Psychologist, Kori LeFree, created a way for students to get involved and learn more about Suicide Prevention month. 

With the recent pandemic, mental health conditions continue to rise in this unprecedented time. They saw this as the perfect opportunity to spread suicide awareness and prevention at Wayne County High School as well as both Wayne County middle schools. 

Wayne County High School holds ‘Buzz Block’ for students

On Friday, September 11th, Wayne County High School had a ‘Buzz Block’. It featured the #BeThe1To campaign that we’ve been talking about in our previous articles this month. The #BeThe1To is a national campaign. It helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide and be more aware of harmful behavior.

JoAnne Roach states, “We are aware this is a very sensitive subject that often times everyone is not comfortable talking about. To ease the process, we created a brief statement for each teacher to read and provided them with some simple uplifting activities for the students to complete.”  She also noted that the counselors were available throughout the event if the teacher noticed a student becoming upset or needs to speak with someone privately. 

WCHS students create suicide awareness videos

Another area that Mrs. Roach and Mrs. LeFree wanted to focus on were prevention efforts. Last year, high school students created videos that helped bring awareness to suicide. One video shows a friend reaching out to someone who is struggling. As the troubled teenager contemplates taking his life, his phone buzzes with his friend asking him how he is doing. The video states, “Everybody needs somebody to be there for them. You could be that someone.” To watch this video and more, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

Lastly, the counselors wanted people trained about this topic. This is important because suicide takes the lives of many each and every year. In order to do that, Wayne County purchased a research based curriculums called Signs of Suicide to implement at each school. They will first train the staff and then offer virtual training to parents. The main takeaways from this curriculum are to acknowledge and act accordingly if you see signs of suicide. By being aware of the signs, you can provide resources and get students help. All 8th and 10th graders in Wayne County will go through an assessment and be discussing this topic in depth with counselors and psychologists.   

If you have any questions about the Buzz Block or the Signs of Suicide curriculum, you can contact Mrs. JoAnne Roach at the high school. Her number is (912) 427-1088 ext. 829. 

Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative sponsored this article. Its partnership with the Wayne County Board of Education allows us to bring awareness to the needs of the community.  If you would like to become a part of the Collaborative, please contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150. You can also contact Lana for more information regarding our Mental Health Task Force.

View videos from the High School students below:

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