AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — There are several factors why some students may not be focusing in school. They could be wondering about their next meal, or insecure about their lack of clothes. The Richmond County Success Center is now open to help those kids.
“We went in did surveys, had focus groups, and asked the children what it was they needed to become better students in the classroom,” said Wrap Around Services Program Specialist, Natalie Bracey.
The center gives students a one-stop-shop for any challenge. Students can wash clothes, pick out new outfits, or take home food for their family. Bracey says teachers, family members, or even a neighbor can refer a student to the success center.
“We’re not just here for the students, but we’re here for the families,” said Bracey. “The families can refer as well; we’re just a phone call away.”
The center’s goal is not just to provide for students, but also to change lives. Students who are suspended from school can get counseling here.
“We bring a counselor out into the school system, and they are embedded in those schools, and the schools identify individuals who may need counseling,” explained the clinical director for Serenity Behavioral Health, John Moore. “Then we provide those services.”
Moore told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson a student cannot always be blamed for their behavioral issues.
“Sometimes the family has been dysfunctional for generations,” said Moore, “But when you take a child and put that child out of school, you might be forcing a behavior that you don’t want to manifest.”
And he says suspending or expelling them isn’t the best solution.
“If you’re consistent in doing the things for young people to show them no matter what they do, you will not give up on them; the relationship is the catalyst for change,” explained Moore.
The hope is this new Success Center will be a place where all Richmond County students can succeed.
The Success Center is open Monday through Friday 7 am to 6 pm. Bracey hopes soon the center will be available during the weekends.