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Thumbs Up! - July 1, 2013

Perhaps not as well known as many groups in the community, but very, very important, is Parents for Change. An offshoot of Stop the Violence, the members work directly with the young people of Albany. At a recent Gang Task Force meeting, Cheryl Calhoun spoke about some of the simplest ways to keep children on a straight path to adulthood. The No. 1 thing that parents, family members, teachers, church members and others can do is to listen. Encourage a troubled teen to talk about what is going on at home, at school and in the neighborhood. Let them talk, without passing judgment, and offer support in any way possible. Problems teens have often seem gigantic to them but are not insurmountable by any means. Currently Parents for Change is mentoring more than 60 kids. Kudos to these citizens that are freely giving of their time to make a real change, not only in these young lives, but in the future of our city.

Are you a caregiver? Do you know how to be the best caregiver you can be? The SOWEGA Council on Aging is coordinating “Powerful Tools for Caregivers”, a six-week course designed to help caregivers deal with reducing personal stress, changing negative self-talk, setting limits and knowing when to ask for help, communicating your feelings and needs to others and taking care of yourself (very important). The tasks involved in caring for a loved one vary from feeding to bathing to toileting to dressing to transportation and so much more. The course is free but reservations are required. Do yourself and all around you a favor by calling (229) 432-1124 to register.

For those who don’t understand why teens from Beach United Methodist Church keep coming to Albany for their summer mission trip, it is really not complicated. The staff and youth want to come. This year the Art Park has been whitewashed to give the next round of artists a clean canvas. The group packed about 600 boxes of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank, cleaned yards for senior citizens and much more. One member of the group put it this way: “We are sharing God’s love with everyone.”

Founded in 1933, the Council of State Governments (CSG) is our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. The Toll Fellowship Program, named for CSG founder Henry Wolcott Toll, is one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs for state government officials. Each year, 48 people are selected as Toll Fellows, a great honor. Albany’s own Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss is in the Toll Fellow Class of 2013. Congratulations, Judge.

While on the subject of congratulating achievements, Albany businessman Stanford Hillsman has been chosen to serve as chief executive officer of Georgia’s Knights of Columbus. Founded in 1882, the organization has over 1.8 million members worldwide and 16,000 in Georgia. But wait, there is more. Lawyer and former mayor Tommy Coleman has been inducted into the Georgia Municipal Association’s Hall of Fame. The honor comes after Coleman has spent a 40-year career in the public eye. And by the way, Coleman has no intention of retiring any time soon.

It is mind-boggling for most people to think a person (or persons) would stoop so low as to burglarize a church. That, unfortunately, has happened to Trinity Temple on Mercer Avenue ... three times in June. This small house of worship has been devastated by the loss of just about all its property and could use a hand from some caring folks to get back in full operation. It should surprise not one soul that B.J. Fletcher heard about the loss and took action. Fletcher purchased an air-conditioning unit for comfort of the congregation and challenges others to jump in and help. Thanks, B.J.