21st Century School Students Start Receiving Hot Meals

All 21st Century After School students in both school systems will be served hot meals through Second Harvest Food Bank starting Monday, March 2nd, thanks to efforts from Program Director, Anna Bullard, JR TRippe Site Coordinator, Jared Sharpe, and FC Director, Paige Williamson. Every year, students are asked to fill out an end-of-year survey. Last year, many students commented that they wanted more than a snack during after school. “Because of our desire to provide a positive after school experience for students, we began the process of applying for Second Harvest meals in October of 2014,” says Paige Williamson. Meals will be brought in from Savannah daily. Williamson is ” thankful for the partnership that Family Connection has with Vidalia CIty and Toombs County Schools. Schools will provide an employee to serve meals each day.”

WinShape Camp Is Coming To The Vidalia Area This Summer

WINSHAPE CAMPS is coming to our community this summer! This is the ultimate day camp experience!!

Camp is for completed 1st – completed 6th graders from June 29 – July 3rd. Location – Sally D. Meadows

Cost is $149 but scholarships are available.

Online registration begins March 1st and the cost is only $99 if you register March 1-March 8th.

Register at winshapecamps.org


TFC Partners With Local Schools To Restart a Mentoring Program

February 12–  Twenty-five area ciitizens are volunteering to help “at-risk” young people in Vidalia and Toombs County schools.  Paige Williamson, Director of Toombs Family Connection, says the mentors will target students in the fifth through 12th grades.  Jerry Tuttle, a former school principal and mentor program manager, has agreed to coordinate the program again.


Attending the program’s orientation and training session are (front row, L-R) Toombs County High School Counselor Karen Braddy, Lauren Jordan, Jenny Manning, Lyons Primary Counselor Marie Collins, Donna Strickland, Meghan Toole, Angie McDaniel, Tara Jordan, Sara Chapman, Kailey Dees, Nancy Ricketts and LaGail Wright.

(Back row L-R) Toombs Middle School Counselor Michael Creamer, Calvin Wilcox, Kevin Britton, Curt Tootle, Chester Proctor, Paige Williamson, Jeff Raiford, Melissa Williamson, Jackson Sharpe, Jared Sharpe and Jerry Tuttle.

Expenses for background checks on each mentor are being paid by a group of mentor sponsors including Altamaha Bank and Trust, Altamaha EMC, Ameris Bank, City Drugs, Darren McClellan, Handy Andy Home Warehouse, Lisa and Tim Truxel, Peoples Bank and Vidalia Federal Savings Bank.

 – Southeast GA Today


Thanksgiving Sharing

November 20–  People in the Vidalia area are working to make Thanksgiving better this year for folks who can use some help.

At Meadows Regional Medical Center this week, employees contributed nearly 5,000 pounds of food to the Salvation Army.

“It is so awesome.  They said they were going to try to collect a pound each from 1,000 employees and they got more than 4,500 pounds and are still counting,” says Salvation Army Director Sandy Roberts.  “We’ve never collected this much at one time,” she said.

Meadows CEO Alan Kent says, “I stole this idea from Andy Stanley’s “Be Rich Campaign” at North Point Church in Atlanta.  We’ve been part of that for the past few years and it’s always exciting when you see a group of believers come together and in just a really short period of time have an impact on a community.

“I know were not Alpharetta and we don’t have those types of resources, but I look around here and see what incredible turnouts we have for United Way and what’s happened for the Hospital Foundation.  Everywhere I’ve turned in Vidalia since I arrived here 15 years ago, I see people who think of other people first.  They’re always willing to reach out and always willing to give, and I’m so blessed to be at a hospital where people think that all day long, everyday.”

On a smaller scale, Vidalia Rotarians fanned out and delivered Thanksgiving food to families in need.

ImageRotarians Anice McArthur and Sandra Kate Ellington (far right) were among eleven teams who delivered food to families in Vidalia and Lyons.

Nicky Catron organized the effort and said, “Our platform is service above self and we believe in helping the community.  I’m very thankful our clus has been so giving and we’re able to bless families this Thanksgiving.

“We are delivering to every family a 13-pound turkey with all the trimmings and I do believe this will make a nice meal for them.”

Paige Williamson with Toombs County Family Connection helped Rotarians identify families to help and she says the need is great.

“The Rotary Club came to me and said we want to give out 22 baskets to local families in need and we acted as the liaison between the Rotary Club and the school systems.  It worked out beautifully,” she said.

Published in Southeast GA Today on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014


Bikes For Christmas

The Lyons Police Department and Toombs County Middle School Ag Class made nine children and families very happy this Christmas. Chief Wesley Walker of the Lyons PD contacted Paige Williamson, Director of Toombs Family Connection, and explained that the department had several bikes they wanted to donate to children in need for Christmas.

Paige contacted the Toombs County Schools, and Mr. Joey O’Neal, Ag Teacher at TCMS, agreed to take a look at the bikes and have his students make the necessary repairs. Students really enjoyed working on this project. Mr. O’Neal said, “It is nice to be able to teach kids the importance of giving back.”

The Lyons Police Department also donated toys to three other Toombs County children in need. Bonnie Brantley from Safe Kids donated helmets for all six children who are receiving bikes. Chief Wesley Walker and Mrs. Williamson will deliver the bikes, helmets, and toys to the families.





Toombs Family Connection Begins Recruitment for School-Based Mentoring Program

Toombs Family Connection is happy to announce that we have partnered with Toombs County Schools, Vidalia City Schools, and a group from the 2014-15 Leadership Toombs-Montgomery class to begin a Mentoring Program for our at-risk students in grades 5 through 12.
We are looking for mentors in the community who are willing to commit to one weekly appointment with a mentee who has been identified by the school counselor.
A one-time, two-hour training session is scheduled for January 27, 2015. The first session of this program will run from the training session until the end of the school year. A second session will run from the beginning of next school year through December. Mentors may sign up for one or both sessions.
Participation in the Mentoring Program requires a national background check, the cost of which is $52.75. You can help us by signing up to serve as a mentor or by contributing financially to cover this expense for other mentors in the program.
If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Paige Williamson at 912-245-2542 or by email at familyconnection9@gmail.com.

National Alliance of Mental Illness Family Meeting

A series of 12 weekly classes structured to help caregivers understand and support individuals with serious mental illness while maintaining their own well-being. The course is taught by a team of trained NAMI family member volunteers who know what it’s like to have a loved one struggling with one of these brain disorders. There is no cost to participate in the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program.

Classes Start : Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dixon Building in the Ed Smith Complex 102 Stockyard Road
Vidalia, GA 30474
6:30 -8:30 pm

Teachers : Cheryl K. Williams – 912-245-1303 Lindy Williams

For Caregivers only

Registration required

Annual Plan Is Set

Toombs Family Connection has set our goals and benchmarks for the new fiscal year. Our goal is to improve conditions for children and families in Toombs County. Our benchmark objectives are: (1)to increase 3rd grade Math CRCT scores from 77% meets or exceeds in 2012-2013 to 80% meets or exceeds in 2015-2016 (2) to increase 5th grade Math CRCT scores in Toombs County from 89% meeting or exceeding standards in 2013 to 92% meeting or exceeding in 2016 (3) to increase 8th grade Math CRCT scores from 90% meeting or exceeding state standards in 2013 to 92% meeting or exceeding in 2016 (4) to increase Toombs County’s on-time high school graduation rate from 66.5% (121 students) in 2013 to 71.6% in 2017. Our strategy is to improve families with children ages Kindergarten through 12th grade with educational services and other resources so that children can succeed in school, graduate on time, and be productive members of our community.

Toombs Family Connection Names New Coordinator

Vidalia – The Board of Directors of Toombs County Family Connection has announced the appointment of Paige Williamson as its new Family Connection Coordinator. Williamson brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. Some of Williamson’s achievements include leading youth groups in Bible study and serving as the Site Coordinator for the 21st Century after school program at Toombs County Middle School. Mrs. Williamson has extensive experience in public relations which will aid her greatly in this position.
“We are excited about the experience and dedication that Mrs. Williamson brings to our local collaborative,” said Shirley Hayes, Chair of the Toombs County Family Connection Collaborative. “Her experience will continue to enhance our efforts to improve the lives of children, families, and communities in Georgia. Former Coordinator, Anna Bullard, did an outstanding job and Mrs. Williamson will be able to pick up right where Mrs. Bullard left off so there will be no gaps. This a huge advantage for Toombs County.”
“It has been the greatest honor to serve my community as the Toombs Family Connection Coordinator,” Anna said. “After much prayer, I have decided to take an opportunity to work specifically with children with special needs. I will continue to be an active member of the collaborative. The opportunity to work with the collaborative and the community has changed my life and I know that the new coordinator, Mrs. Paige Williamson, will serve the community with compassion and leadership. Thank you to everyone for letting me serve as your coordinator and I look forward to the future.”
The Toombs County Family Connection Collaborative has been active for the past  14 years. During this time, the Collaborative has addressed some key issues that affect children and families in Toombs County. One of its greatest achievements is the 21st Century After School Program, a federally funded grant program that is housed at Toombs County Middle School and Lyons Upper Elementary School. Twenty-first Century offers K-8th grade students a wonderful after school experience where students have the opportunity to take a variety of enrichment classes and receive academic help from regular school day teachers. Currently, the Collaborative is working to increase the Toombs County high school graduation rate and increase Math CRCT scores for Toombs County 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders.
Family Connection is a statewide network of 159 counties that have made a commitment to improve results for children, families, and communities. Each collaborative is a public/private partnership that develops, implements and evaluates a community strategic plan to improve results in five areas: healthy children; children ready for school; children succeeding in school; strong families; and self-sufficient families.
Local partners include the Toombs and Vidalia City Schools, Toombs County DFCS, Rachel’s House, City of Vidalia, Lyons Police Department, Meadows Regional Medical Center, Mercy Clinic, Pineland Mental Health, Safe Kids, Toombs County Health Department, United Way of Toombs/Montgomery/Wheeler, The Refuge, Department of Juvenile Justice, Sunshine House, Family Intervention Center, and various local faith-based organizations among others. These local leaders meet regularly to make decisions about what results are desired, set priorities to achieve the results, allocate resources, and hold themselves accountable for the well-being of children and families in their community.