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Thanks for the support

Thanks to an outpouring of community support, The Right Path for Washington County wrapped up an incredible 15th summer of safe teen and family events. Thanks to our fundraisers at Spagna’s in March and VFW Post #5108 in May, we were well on our way!!

Since 2004, we have provided opportunities to engage youth in both community service and pro-social events. Our Friday night Teen and Family Nights are a great way for families to spend a couple of hours together, playing games and having fun, leaving their worries behind. Thanks to a great rate from the city of Marietta, families can afford this little mini-vacation.

What can make these Friday nights even better? A live radio remote with our friends from IHeart Media and WMOA/WJAW! Throw in a few theme park tickets and some trinkets provided by the Behavioral Health Board and/or favorite tunes provided by DJ Pat with Mike Bishman’s Premier Productions, thanks to the generosity of Judge Tim Williams and the Juvenile Court. Families love Wendy’s Trivia to win a free Frosty of Kid’s Meal, or one of the numerous games we play with our friends from Wendy’s, Doug Terrell and owner Ray Blackburn.

Everything doesn’t happen in Marietta; we spread our parties around this summer. Thanks to Fort Frye School District, Sherri Ellem, WC Health Dept. and Healthy Communities Coalition, we hosted family nights at Lowell and Beverly pools. In Belpre we held two family nights thanks to Homecoming Royalty and Belpre Heights United Methodist Church.

Special events this summer strengthened our community partnerships and we made many new friends and future collaborators. This is what community is all about; the life-long relationships we build with each other.

We hosted a mini-farmer’s market, our first ever on July 19, partnering with GoPacks, who help with food insecurity in area elementary and middle schools. What a great fit for us as we have raised hunger awareness since our inception. Our market was the best event we have ever had-just a few comments made as we introduced our youth and families to the some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables many had ever tasted! Thanks to Marcus at the Extension Office for connecting me with Tom and Bonnie Witten, Georgia peaches and huge blackberries that were out of this world, meant so much to our families!! It was so humbling to be able to get others in our community excited by what a farmer’s market could bring to so many. Thanks to our donors: WV Credit Union, Rotary of Marietta, Doug Phelps and the Hollister Fund at MCF, every youth who came through the pool gate received a ticket for $5 to shop at the MFM. Special thanks to the WC Public Library and Andrea for donating bags for produce.

We were back in Harmar at Flanders Field with MOV Rebound and Jackson Patterson for 2 events that included basketball, games, prizes and DJ, thanks to the Juvenile Court. Washington County Health Department and James Harward, our very own Disc Golf legend, gave kids a few tips on the game and I would love to see us host a disc golf tournament in October!!

Marietta College invited us to use the Gathering Place for two dances this summer, bringing us back to our roots!! This is where we started 15 summers ago!! Although our attendees were light, I plan to include a few dances again next year in an effort to have as many events as we can to engage our teens and families!!

Tony Brown, Brown Owl Imaging is showcasing our summer in a video we can share with our partners. We will post it to our Facebook Page, The Right Path for Washington County when it is finished. Thanks to our media partners for helping promote all our events this incredible 15th summer; IHeart Media, WMOA, Greg, Doug, John, Laura, Ben and the Marietta Times for their article on what our coalition means to our community.

Thanks to our Friday night hosts; Marietta Community Foundation, MOV Rebound, GoPacks, Ely Chapman Education Foundation, NAMI, House of Hope, First Presbyterian Church Youth Group, TAP United, and all the youth and families that hung with us throughout the summer.

Thanks to the Behavioral Health Board, Juvenile Court, numerous partners mentioned throughout this letter and my Right Path Board that supports all my numerous ideas. I couldn’t do it without them!!!

Cathy Harper, on behalf of The Right Path for Washington County.