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Rayfield praises Connection’s support

CHRIS BEAM, executive director of the Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia, introduces Karnell Jones, who will help operate the Center’s ESCAPE program to counsel troubled youth.|Justin Schuver

Dr. Fred Rayfield, superintendent for Decatur County Schools, praised the work of the Decatur County Family Connection and its programs, at the group’s monthly meeting Wednesday at Bainbridge College.

Decatur County Family Connection (DCFC) is a collaborative organization that works to address challenges facing children and families in the county. It is part of Family Connection, a statewide collection of 159 similar collaborative organizations.

Some of the organization’s many programs include a “backpack program “that provides non-perishable meals for some schoolchildren; CATS For Youth, a youth advisory council for high school students; a “teen maze” where young people can learn the consequences of poor choices; and income tax filing assistance for some low-to-moderate-income families.

Rayfield said Wednesday that the DCFC is a useful partner in the schools’ mission of raising responsible young people. He noted that there are three cornerstones to raising a well-rounded child—a solid family at home, quality schools, and a community that cares about the child’s future.

“We appreciate and value our community partnerships,” he said. “We all know that money is tight, but I’ve never seen a cost value placed on just caring for someone. It doesn’t cost anything to have a genuine concern for the future of our county, state and country, and that’s what groups like yours help provide.”

Rayfield said statistics show that the United States spends more than $167 billion a year on the criminal justice system—or approximately $1,000 per taxpayer.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could save just a portion of that cost,” he asked. “That’s the impact you can help make, if you just keep one child out of the criminal justice system.”

Ronnie Burke, coordinator for the DCFC, said the organization’s mission is in line with Rayfield’s goals.

“Everything that we do is focused toward helping make sure Decatur County’s children graduate from high school on time,” he said. “This is all about trying to make our county a better place. We’re all in this together.”

To learn more about the DCFC and its programs, visit online at www.gafcp.org/fcnetwork/decatur.

Justin Schuver can be reached by e-mail at justin.schuver@thepostsearchlight.com, or by telephone at (229) 246-2827, Ext. 114.