Gumbo, auction to raise funds for kids’ mental health

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2011

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in people ages 15-24 and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-15-year-olds.

In an effort to combat this rising statistic and expand services for children, the South Central Mental Health Center has established “Community Caring for Children 2011” to support expansion in its four-county service area.

“This is the first large fundraiser for South Central Alabama Mental Health and there will be a silent/live auction with proceeds to be used in the expansion of children services,” said organizer Sharon Cornelius. “We had been trying to get more active in fundraising. There was a suggestion that we do something for our children’s services. We’ve been wanting to expand it. We plan on having yearly fundraisers, but next year might be for another service. This year our goal is to raise $20,000.”

Children’s director Annah Courson said among the children’s services needs is another in-home team, which is responsible for helping children ages 5-17 with serious emotional disturbances.

“We have a bachelor level therapist, bachelor level co-therapist and a case manager on a team,” she said. “Children undergo a 12-week program, where the team goes to the children and families and actually go into the home or school. The main goal is to keep the children in the home.”

Courson said each team can only take six families at a time, and the team works with DHR and juvenile probation officers when necessary.

Currently there are only two teams – one for Butler and Crenshaw Counties and another for Covington and Coffee counties, Courson said.

The fundraiser is scheduled for May 21 at the Southside Baptist Church Family Life Center in Andalusia.

The event will include a dinner of gumbo and rice, crackers and bread pudding.

Tickets are on sale now, and cost $15 each, or two for $25. They can be purchased from the SCMH offices or the Montezuma Complex, and from board members or staff.

Sponsors are also needed for the event.

• Platinum level, donate $1,000 and receive 50 tickets to the event;

• Gold level, donate $500 and receive 25 tickets to the event;

• Silver level, donate $250 and receive 12 tickets to the event;

• Special Friends of South Central, donate less than $250.

Among the items up for auction are autographed footballs by Trent Richardson, Michael Dyer and Alabama coach Nick Saban; a weeklong vacation to an Orlando resort; long weekend at Perdido Towers Condo; Biscuits baseball experience; child’s golf cart; Rick and Bubba autographed items; an autographed guitar by Jamey Johnson and James Otto, and more.

For more information, call 222-2525, ext 256.