Children’s Coalition for NELA discusses youth challenges with community leaders

Children’s Coalition for NELA discusses youth challenges with community leaders
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 8:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana hosted an interactive event for the community Thursday evening.

The coalition held its Through the Looking Glass: Reflections of a Community that Cares event on June 8, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at Tower Place Monroe. The event addressed issues such as healthy living, education, youth development, parent education and early care.

Executive director of the coalition, Kristie Bardell, says children are a reflection of the community and the future to come. During roundtable discussions, attendees were able to look at poverty rates, access to public education and walkable neighborhoods. Bardell says some experiences that children encounter impact them across their entire life course.

“You can look at some things like poverty. When you look at all of the 12 parishes in northeast Louisiana, some of them have poverty rates with children up to 80%, so this can impact brain development; it can impact access to other services and resources as well,” says Bardell.

A local library branch manager in attendance, Clair Roane, says she doesn’t directly work with children as much as she used to, but she plans to utilize the information from the event to share with her associates.

“Today, I’m hoping to learn about different resources and community connections that I can make. I’m hoping to find people that are also wanting to help the children of our area,” Roane.

Harvetta Reddix, a project director of a nonprofit - Loveys Mobile Academic Classroom, says she’s hoping mobile tutoring services will help some students regain basic foundational skills.

“I want to be that bridge that will bring the community and our schools back together, so teachers, parents, and students can all work together to benefit from the service,” says Reddix.

Bardell stated that the coalition plans to release a report in July 2023 that’ll be filled with policy recommendations that will help get the region on track toward a flourishing community; as well as visiting all 12 parishes that make up northeast Louisiana to develop work plans.