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Donation helps students combat COVID stress

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Central Alabama Wellness recently donated 2,189 books to help Chilton County Schools students deal with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The book given to the schools, “Sophia Copes with COVID,” was created by Central Alabama Wellness and published with funds from an Alabama Apart Together grant.

Zina Cartwell, Central Alabama Wellness prevention director, said the grant was specifically for helping the community with COVID-related mental health needs.

The goal was to give every child in first to fourth grade a book.

“Chilton County Schools values the partnership we have with Central Alabama Wellness,” CCS Superintendent Jason Griffin said. “Our partnership goes back many years and even in the middle of a pandemic, they are there to support our students through a book donation. It’s because of partnerships like this that make our community successful.”

Cartwell contacted school administrators to schedule a time to deliver the books.

“They were really excited,” Cartwell said. “The community has responded very well to the book.”

She said many are looking for a resource to help children during this time.

“I think, sometimes, especially in the midst of the pandemic, we kind of forget the stress that children are under,” Cartwell said. “Some of them just don’t know to deal with it.”

Cartwell emphasized that it is important for children to learn to deal with stress in healthy ways and learn to talk about their feelings.

“When kids learn to deal with stress at a very early age that can carry on with them as an adult,” Dartwell said. “These are skills that are being learned — how to be resilient and how, when things come your way, to deal with those situations and not fall into the other temptations to relieve the stress for you, such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco.”

The Alabama Apart Together grant, a federal grant awarded to the Alabama Department of Mental Health, has also funded crisis counseling and other resources “to help Alabamians cope with challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cartwell said.

Resources for coping with stress related to COVID-19  for adults are available by calling 1-888-442-1793.

“The information line connects individuals with appropriate staff and programs in their local communities to provide vital resources and services. When an individual seeks assistance from the information line, several options are available, including referral services, online support groups, educational materials for social distancing, quarantine, and isolation, and emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to an Alabama Department of Mental Health press release.