Written by | SAVANNAH TARBET |
Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole announced Jill Goodrich, executive director of Opportunity School in Amarillo, as his Friend of the Year during a breakfast April 28 in the Oak Room of the College Union Building on the Washington Street Campus.
“Each year there is a national Young Child Week, and in honor of that we have been doing the Mayor’s Breakfast for Young Children since 1999,” said Mary Claire Munger, chairwoman of the Amarillo College child development department.
The mayor, in partnership with AC and other professional groups, chooses one person to honor each year and invites others who participate in children’s education to celebrate. Opportunity School provides part-day preschool and full-day learning to 80 children with bus transportation to low-income neighborhoods and space for 16 students to receive full-day care.
“One thing Jill discussed is the ‘No Excuses’ policy, meaning nothing should stop children from reaching their full potential,” Munger said.
“The Opportunity School is the first in the United States to practice the ‘No Excuses’ policy at a day care and pre-kindergarten level.”
Some day cares and pre-kindergarten classes have problems with overcrowding, resulting in some children lacking access to resources they need. The Opportunity School keeps classes small to accommodate each child’s needs.
“Amarillo College is the first public school that follows the ‘No Excuses’ policy, so we are proud to be honoring Jill, who follows the same policy,” Munger said.
Written by | SAVANNAH TARBET |
The Amarillo College Criminal Justice Program and more than 50 local businesses will host the 16th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference. The event will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today in the Amarillo Civic Center. The registration fee is $25, which includes lunch. The conference’s purpose is to bring awareness and provide information about child abuse prevention to the Amarillo area, especially during April, which is National Child Abuse and Neglect
“Our Conference Steering Committee works hard every year to design a conference that will appeal to a broad audience of professionals working in the criminal justice, social service and other related fields,” said Eric Wallace, director of the AC criminal justice program. Guest speakers will include Joe Laramie and Chris Baughman. Laramie is a program manager with the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College.
Baughman is a consultant on MSNBC’s show, Sex Slaves, a former police detective and author. They will talk about technology and child sexual abuse investigations, child pornography and crimes related to human trafficking, among other topics. “It is our sincere desire that this conference will provide valuable information and insights that will help participants achieve both their professional and personal goals,” Wallace said.
Child abuse is a growing problem all over the world, and Amarillo is no exception. “As far as child abuse statistics for this area, it is a problem,” Wallace said. In 2015, the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle saw about a 10 percent drop in the number of reported child abuse cases compared to 2014, while some counties have seen rates increase. Wallace said he hopes the event will benefit the community. “It appears progress is being made, and this conference is one more way to help make a difference,” he said.