SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: TUSCALOOSA’S ONE PLACE KEEPS FAMILIES AFLOAT IN HARD TIMES
Reporting by WVUA 23’s Mike Royer
In a perfect world, parents can sit around the supper table with their children and talk about their day, do the dishes, finish homework assignments and read bedtime stories.
Of course, the world is not perfect and from time to time, families need support. But, there is such a place where Tuscaloosa County families can find a helping hand.
Since first opening its doors in 1999, Tuscaloosa’s One Place has worked to provide an array of services designed to strengthen the family and the community. It’s a place where parents can find support.
“That’s what we hear so much, is the parents do not feel like they’re supported, they don’t know where to go to get help,” Amanda Lightsey, Tuscaloosa’s One Place’s executive director, said. “And, they just need somebody else to say, ‘Here’s some solutions and you can do it.’”
Tuscaloosa’s One Place offers a variety of programs at both on-site and in various locations in the community. One of the most popular is the after school program.
“That’s an excellent opportunity for us to teach life skills, resiliency, to talk about bullying, to talk about better decision-making skills,” Lightsey said. “But then we have the intervention part and that’s where we come in and work with youth that are already in the juvenile justice system and we’re working with the families in both of those programs the entire way.”
Many of the after-school programs are held at various schools in the city. Other programs include family and parenting classes, career and personal development and teen intervention programs. Lightsey said that in every program, the key is letting young people know that someone cares about them.
“The youth know that they have a caring adult that wants them to succeed, that cares about them,” she said. “You just see those success rates go up. And, a lot of times the workers here at the agency, that’s what they are, they’re that caring adult for those young people.
Tuscaloosa’s One Place serves more than 8,500 people every year. Learn more about the services and how you can support the program by visiting their website, tuscaloosaoneplace.org.
That’s the spirit of Alabama.
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