Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Classes continue for 600 students

During their June 10 meeting, members of the General Health and Welfare Committee heard from three applicants seeking special appropriations from the county.
“Twenty-one applications were received, and our three guests today were applicants the committee was not familiar with,” Chair David Shanks said. “The issue is why should we be spending taxpayer dollars (to support them).”
Glenda Bobalik, community chapter executive of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, said her organization is requesting $10,000 to help people in Washington County who are affected by disaster.
“We respond to emergencies to help people cope and recover,” she said. “We’re not a long-term assistance organization.”
Bobalik said Red Cross is a standby to immediately offer the key things people need as they try to recover. “A roof over their heads and two changes of clothing,” she gave as examples of what would be provided to a family who loses its home to a fire.
Red Cross also tries to prevent emergency situations, she said. “We recently trained 41 people at Victory Baptist to be ready to open a shelter.”
Bobalik said the primary goal following a disaster is to get the kids back in school and the parents back to work as soon as possible.
Commissioner Pat Wolfe asked if the Red Cross was involved with the disaster recovery from the tornadoes that hit South Central in 2011. Bobalik said she did not remember the details, but thought the bulk of the items they distributed was for cleanup.
Wolfe asked how the Red Cross is structured, and Bobalik said it is chartered by the American National Red Cross. “We’re responsible for our own funding,” she said. “Our office coordinates 12 counties, but the dollars stay in the counties where they were given.” Ten staff people are employed in the Kingsport office.
Commissioner Pete Speropulos asked how the appropriation amount of $10,000 was reached. According to Bobalik, she reviewed the Red Cross budget and looked at the amount of appropriations awarded in prior years.
Lisa Eggers, executive director of Keystone Dental Care in Johnson City, said the $12,000 she is requesting would go toward purchasing dental supplies to provide care for adults who meet the federal poverty guidelines.
“Over $300,000 worth of care was provided last year and 1,000 people were helped,” she said. “Fourteen dentists volunteered last year, and we still had a waiting list.”
Wolfe said the county is a big funder of the Health Department, which has a dental program. “I thought Keystone (Dental Care) was more for the housing district,” he said.
Eggers said those over age 19 do not qualify for services at the Health Department. “We do cleanings, comprehensive exams, fillings and extractions,” she said. “Just the basics to get them out of pain.”
Keystone Dental Care employs one part-time dentist and dental assistant, according to Eggers.
“What else do you spend your money on?” Wolfe asked.
Eggers said equipment is needed to bring the clinic up to date.
The clinic is located in Washington County, she said, and the majority of patients come from there. The other half of patients served during the last year came from the remaining seven counties in Upper East Tennessee.
Wolfe questioned whether she had asked those counties for assistance, but Eggers said the others are small, poor counties.
“Us too,” Speropulos said.
Michael Marion, executive director of Rise Up, said his organization is requesting $15,000 from Washington County to help them expand their mentoring program. The funds would be used to pay half of the salary for a new staff person to oversee the mentors.
“Kids need adults in their lives,” Marion said. The Rise Up Mentoring Program trains adults to be mentors who will meet once a week with a child mentee and take the lead in supporting a young person through an ongoing, consistent relationship that encourages the child to set goals and make positive life decisions.
The mission of Rise Up is to impact 100 kids to become first-generation college students through their mentoring, small groups and after school programs. Marion said Mountain View, North Side and Fairmont elementary are the feeder schools for the programs.
Commissioner Ben Bowman asked if any students from county schools are involved. Marion said there are some in the small groups, and about 75 county students are involved in the mentoring program.
Marion said children must remain in the program a minimum of three years to receive the impact that will enable them to succeed in life.
Wolfe asked the funding sources, and Marion said grants and monthly givers. No support is received from the City of Johnson City. Marion said his dream is to get 10 churches involved with the organization.
Speropulos asked the total number of children in the programs and Marion said 200. Parents are asked for $5 when they register their child.
Rise Up has eight regular staff members and 10 part-time workers, according to Marion.
Shanks thanked the representatives for attending and said committee members would be wading through the rest of the applications during their next meeting, even though they don’t have a budget number for available funds yet.
“We’re getting more applications, but I don’t think the pie is going to be as large,” Speropulos said.