Rainbow Center Opens High Country Academy

After 15 months of renovating the former Fleetwood School, obtaining licensures, and training staff the High Country Academy (HCA), a Day Treatment program, opens in Fleetwood NC on Thursday, May 22 with a Ribbon Cutting and Open House. "We will be a better region for the help we can give young people attending here," remarks Rainbow Center Board Chair Susan Whittington prior to the ribbon cutting. HCA is a program of Rainbow Center - Children & Family Services (RCCFS) in partnership with the Greater Fleetwood Preservation Organization, as well as Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes County Schools. HCA will teach appropriate behaviors, provide counseling, require parental involvement, and offer basic academics to qualified youth.

During the Grand Opening ceremony, the Boone Optimist Club presented a $500 check to RCCFS for HCA in honor of the Newell Family of Boone who were involved in a tragic car accident last fall. Reverend Harold Ben-nett, President of the club and member Gene Swift presented the donation to HCA Administrator Jamie Morri-son. RCCFS CEO Glenda Andrews summarized the Ribbon Cutting by stating, "You often hear that it takes a com-munity to raise a child, and HCA is a true example of this phrase. We're happy to offer this service to at-risk children and families in our region."

After three ribbons were cut, representing Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties, attendees were invited to tour the Academy, meet staff, and learn more about the program. "This program is a perfect example of community organizations and school systems working together to help children. This is the fourth time I've been here, and I am amazed at the progress. The bottom line is about help-ing children; it's so important to work together for them," says N.C. Senator Steve Goss.

The purpose of the new High Country Academy is to help troubled youngsters get back on track. Major objec-tives of HCA are to decrease the overall rate of suspension, and prevent children from experiencing multiple suspensions or being expelled outright. The program simultaneously encourages them to stay in school and to enjoy success as adults.

"It's exciting to have this facility serve children and families - many who are at their wit's end. This program is a God send for them; without this facility there is no program to help them. This endeavor shows what happens when counties work together for citizens," says Cullie Tarleton of the N.C. House of Representatives. High Country Academy will serve children ages 10-17 from Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties. Specifically, the program will focus on helping youth with identified treatment needs such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anger issues, depression, problems with substance abuse, and various others.

HCA will serve approximately 24-48 youth year round, and candidates will be referred from their local school systems, mental health, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and/or parents. Children must meet at-risk, mental health diagnosis. The child and family are required to participate in an eligibility assessment with a RCCFS Family Therapist.

RCCFS invites interested parties to learn more about High Country Academy by calling (336) 877-4161. You may also contact Koren Huskins at [email protected]/(336) 667-3333 or John Matthews at (336) 262-4435.

The Mountain Times


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