Two social workers from both sides of the river have seen enough. Heather Mallory of Blountstown and Winter McLemore of Bristol are joining forces to form a grassroots organization to help meet local needs.“The different type programs will depend on a needs assessment,” says McLemore who serves as Chairman of the Liberty County Children’s Coalition.Mallory, who works in the Calhoun County school system, adds, “Our ultimate goal is to have a center with several providers.” Having served students, the elderly and families through their careers in social work, both Mallory and McLemore are armed with plenty of knowledge about the various programs serving our area, as well as the aspects that are lacking.“Being social workers we see it and being hometown girls, we see it,” McLemore points out. The Calhoun Liberty Community Outreach, Inc. (CLCO) is the name of the organization this pair has founded. The not-for-profit has received 501(c)3 status, meaning the federal government recognizes their efforts as charitable. Research indicates both Calhoun and Liberty counties have a high poverty rate with over 22 percent living below the U.S. poverty level. “With many businesses, families and groups in common, these two towns have survived largely in party by supporting each other,” says McLemore. “With the nearest adequately sized city being almost one hour away, supports, services and resources are not available for most.” But Mallory and McLemore home that fact will change and that is their mission with CLCO – to build community partnerships and expand opportunities for local children and families.To get started, Mallory and McLemore have prepared a survey to assess the most critical needs of the community. Everyone in both counties is invited to take this anonymous survey to determine the greatest needs according to the local people. Whether it be drug abuse or lack of resources to feed your family, speak up. The survey is being distributed through schools, businesses and churches, but can also be accessed online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CLCO Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and help this pair determine the course of action the CLCO will take. The goal is to obtain a grant and launch a community outreach center offering everything from counseling, technology rooms, youth and food programs and Medicaid and Social Security assistance. Get involved and speak up today!
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