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CHAMPS camp helps kids with daily issues

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Tytianna Stringer, 10, center, has fun participating in the dance competion during the 2011 Family Fun Night at Southside Middle School for CHAMPS summer program members sponsored by the Dougherty Count Sheriff’s Department.

File Tytianna Stringer, 10, center, has fun participating in the dance competion during the 2011 Family Fun Night at Southside Middle School for CHAMPS summer program members sponsored by the Dougherty Count Sheriff’s Department.

Jim West

ALBANY — The Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office and Dougherty County School System Police Department are teaming up to make a difference in the lives of local kids.

According to Lt. Terron Hayes, with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, C.H.A.M.P.S (Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) is a five-week summer program offering education and recreation to enhance the lives of local school children.

According to Hayes, CHAMPS will offer sessions with local law enforcement personnel who will instruct and answer questions on gangs, violence, peer influence, bullying, drugs and alcohol, as well as other day-to-day issues children face.

“We’ll have members of the drug unit, the gang unit and law enforcement professionals from all over,” Hayes said. “It’s a chance for education on life in general.”

Hayes said the five-week program will be held May 28-July 2 at Southside Middle School, 1615 Newton Road. Police officers with the Dougherty County School System Police, nurses from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Network of Trust and deputies with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office will serve as facilitators and team leaders for children ages 8-13.

While the cost to attend the program is $35 per child, Hayes said no one will be turned away because of inability to pay.

“We understand that some parents just don’t have that kind of money right now,” Hayes said. “We’ll accept the children who have insufficient resources. We try to find sponsors for them. All of the money we collect goes right back to the kids.”

According to officials, while parents are responsible for transportation to and from the program site, children will receive a free lunch each day.

Hayes said there is one remaining day of registration for the program, which is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 25 in front of the Judicial Building, 225 Pine Ave. For additional information on the CHAMPS summer program, contact Hayes at (229) 344-4363.