Support-group creators want to expand



FLATWOODS Two Russell McDowell Intermediate School teachers who have started a support group for children whose parents are incarcerated want to expand the group to other schools in the Russell district and eventually to other districts.

Ultimately they envision a program schools around the country can use.

The program is called KRUSH, which stands for Kids Rising Up through Support and Healing.

Special education assistant Kristi Whittaker and counselor Jalina Wheeler created it at Russell Mc-Dowell and participation has more than doubled since the first meeting at the beginning of the school year.

Whittaker and Wheeler already are working withfaculty at the other district schools and hope to get groups started in each building in the next school year.

They also have spoken with representatives in Ashland and Greenup County districts.

Wheeler and Whittaker are developing a curriculum and once they have done that they will instruct faculty who will conduct the program at other schools.

Developing the curriculum requires complying with state and national standards.

Whittaker and Wheeler believe KRUSH has the potential to go national because of a scarcity of support-oriented programs.

“It’s the only program I know of that is student- focused,” said Bev Sharp, chairman of the FIVCO Re-entry Council, which works to return inmates to their communities.

Many schools are unaware of the issue andindividual program startups would be difficult andexpensive, she said. “If they’re able to build the program and offer it to other schools, it will save them from trying to reinvent the wheel.”

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