First meeting set for four-district group

First meeting set for four-district group

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By Kathleen Clark

The inaugural meeting for the C2 Coalition will be at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 9, at the Modesto Community Building.

Community members, businessmen and women, and educators from the Franklin, Waverly, Northwestern and Greenfield school districts along with “Pretty much anyone who is interested in advocating for children are welcome,” says co-chair and Waverly resident Karen Dennis. Along with Brandi Paluska, also of Waverly, this chapter of the Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, a nonprofit aimed at supporting families hopes to have a presence in the region.

Dennis explains the coalition has strong membership in urban areas, but is lacking in rural areas, especially in the west central region of Illinois. Dennis and Paluska, upon taking stock of some of the statistics of area rural schools in regards to homelessness (nearly 10 percent at some area schools), as well as the long distance to many services, such as healthcare and grocery stores, decided to do something about it. The C2 Coalition, which stands for Connecting Communities, hopes to strengthen and support families by hosting events, connecting resources, writing grants, building sustainable services and advocating for children.

Dennis explains she hopes the group can help the school districts assist families that are underrepresented and may be missing out on services they could benefit form. Also, the group will work on implementing ideas to improve the availability of standard services within their communities, with the goal of improving home and school lives.

“For example,” says Dennis, “Studies have shown attendance is improved when students have clean clothes. In this four-district area, there is only a laundromat in New Berlin and Waverly. We hope to be able to come up with ideas to help families out that may need assistance with this service.”

Paluska and Dennis hope group members can coordinate their resources to bring more things such as jobs and services to the participating towns. The basic premise is that if parental stress is reduced, children will have an improved and safer environment at home.

So far, the C2 Coalition has established a diaper pantry and will meet five times a year. The meetings will inspire ideas for the involved communities and provide networking opportunities between businesses, the schools and the community. Dennis says members will not be asked to fundraise, although donations are appreciated. The C2 Coalition has a Facebook page,, for additional information.