Celebration Place, Landing provide support for Stanly County youth

Youth needing a help up have a new resource in the county.
Safer Communities Ministry in Monroe, which offers programs for residents of Union, Stanly and Anson counties, including a program at Prospect Baptist Church, has a new program housed at Christ Episcopal Church in Albemarle.

“We work with children that are just dealing with life issues,” said Diane Robinson, an advocate for the program.

The program aims to address parental addiction or abandonment, social and emotional issues, low self-esteem, bullying, relationship and friend issues and behavioral problems.

“We just help them face that and realize that they’re special and we’re all special in our own way,” Robinson said.

Two divisions — Celebration Place for ages 5-12 and Landing for ages 13-18 — meet separately at 6 p.m. each Thursday. The programs are funded in part thanks to a grant of $5,000 from Foundation For The Carolinas. Safer Communities added another $3,000 in funding, according to Sharon Shearin, program director for Safer Communities Ministry.

The first week 15 children received assistance, 10 of them teens. Two more children were enrolled by Wednesday of this week, Shearin said.

Each week organizers teach a lesson on an issue children may be facing, Robinson said. Activities are also planned to coincide with the lesson of the week. Each meeting ends with the attendees writing in their journal.

“We’re trying to give them a healthy foundation to learn problem solving skills, improve their social and mental skills … so they have a better chance to not become incarcerated or involved in substance use,” Shearin said.

Founded in 1986 as Covenant Prison Ministry, Safer Communities Ministry also offers re-entry programs for those incarcerated, places individuals addicted to substances in treatment facilities and teaches life skills to all of the above.

The Shine program at Prospect is personalized for children of adults who are incarcerated. There is also Celebrate Recovery for individuals who are having issues with substance use.

Individuals wishing to learn more about Celebration Place/Landing of Stanly County can email celebrationplacelanding@gmail.com.