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Task force formed to help local youth and parents

The new Demopolis Community Task Force will present an open forum for parents, professionals and interested citizens concerning problems facing young people at 5:30 p.m. on June 17 in the Demopolis Civic Center.

Therapist Dr. Scott Sells will conduct the forum. The session is free and open to the public.

The task force was created in December 2001 by concerned citizens in the area. One of the task force leaders, Rex Kent, pastor at First Baptist Church, said "for me, it was hearing about kids having to go off to drug rehab and alcohol rehab."

After gradually hearing about problems youth were having in the area, Kent said it was finally time to do something about it.

The task force conducted a survey of 1,800 local students and their experiences with alcohol or drugs.

There needs to a overall coordinated effort with all the various agencies in the area, Kent said. "We have a lot of wonderful programs here in Demopolis," said Bambi Hamilton, another task force leader. "…Everybody has their own admission criteria, and there were a lot of youth that were slipping through the cracks.

Parents were giving up," Hamilton said. "They might go to a particular place and find out that they don’t exactly meet that criteria and they get referred on. After the second or third referral, they lose that momentum of getting help and apathy sets in."

There’s also no parent support groups that we’ve discovered," he said. "….We want to fill in some of the gaps."

A seminar is also planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 18 at the civic center.

The seminar will deal with the following topics: "Treating the Out-of-Control Adolescent: A Step-by-Step Guide," and "Parenting the Out-of-Control Teenager: Parent Training for the Defiant Teenager."

Cost of that seminar is $50 each and pre-registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

Payment for the seminar may be made at the door or by mail to: RiverWalk, Inc., P.O. Box 726, Demopolis, AL 36732.