NEW PARIS — The Preble County Success Program is in its third full year at National Trail, but in its second year having a success liaison in every school district in Preble County.
National Trail Success Liaison Heather Ludy attended the National Trail Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5, to provide an update on how the program is doing.
“Right now I have 5o students enrolled and that is 22 families. I’m pretty sure last year I had 35, which means I’m well above what it was last year. For the whole of Preble County, we have 206 students enrolled. Last year, as a whole we had over 250, so we’re definitely going to surpass that number for this school year,” Ludy said.
“We have worked very hard to build relationships with the social services agencies in town, because all the liaisons have different backgrounds, we all knew a person in one of the agencies. Our goal is to have a relationship where we can call an agency and get fast tracked. That is nice for the families, because they are hesitant to seek help and we get to act as a support system.”
She added, now that they have a relationship with agencies, the agencies are actually reaching out to the program as well. For example, she has been getting referrals from Children Services and has been helping them keep an eye on children and making sure they’re safe. Normally, that responsibility would have fallen onto the principal or a teacher, but now the Success Program is here to step in and lessen the duties and responsibilities put on the teachers.
This year the Success Program has been working closely with the Council on Aging, due to the amount of grandparents in Preble County who have custody of their grandchildren.
“We asked what we could do and we started a support group for grandparents raising their grandchildren. Right now, there are not a lot of grandparents attending, but at one point we had eight sets of grandparents that were in there. We were able to have lawyers come in so they could ask questions. A lot of these grandparents don’t know what to do when it comes to enrolling their kids in school or what services are available to them,” Ludy said.
She added, the Shoes for the Shoeless day will be held again this year and Roy Hall with the Driven Foundation will be in attendance to see what National Trail is doing to help their community. Last year, over 600 kids in Preble County got shoes. The Success Program is doing sock drives to donate back to Shoes for the Shoeless as a thank you. They are actively seeking volunteers for the day.
The Success Program is working with Mary Bullen, YMCA, Council on Aging, and JobWorks to create a mentoring program. Whether it is someone to drive parents to job interviews, or someone to attend sporting events, the YMCA is heading the efforts to create this mentoring program which would be catered to the individual student.
“You guys know, we have seen some positives and we hope they continue, but I go back to that board meeting in October when we presented this to the board. I didn’t know what to expect, but this board asked all kinds of questions and was very supportive. I think it is important that you see what your support has done,” Superintendent Jeff Parker said.
“We do a lot of important things in public education, but I will tell you that I think what we did with the Success Liaison position three years ago is just as important as anything we do. We want to break cycles and help these kids.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH