Counselor's Corner


Contact:   Jennifer Bell Phone 706-866-1521 Email Email

Counselor's Corner

Holiday Memories . . . What will yours be?

As I look forward to the holiday months ahead, I am so grateful to have my friends and family around me to make a new year of holiday memories. Many of us are already getting ready for the holidays, making our Christmas lists, preparing for those cold winter days of baking for our families and friends, and some have started shopping for the many gifts you will give (and get)this holiday season.

However, as we all start preparing for making this year’s holiday memories, I hope each of us can take a moment to recognize that some families may not have the means to make wonderful memories. Maybe it is because they cannot afford to pay an electric bill AND buy their children presents or maybe because they have to choose to have presents under the tree Christmas morning for their children OR have food on their table to feed them.

I am always amazed at the number of food items and toys that you and your children donate during our Thanksgiving Food Drive and the Stocking Full of Love Toy Drive. What I love most about each of these programs is that they are great opportunities to teach children a lesson in caring and compassion. Sometimes children (and adults too) get so involved in what they want and don’t have, that it helps to be reminded that there are others around them that have much less.

 If your family participates in these programs, make sure you take your child with you and let them pick out the food items and toys. This will give them a greater appreciation for the whole experience. Talk about why we collect the food items and what it would be like not to have a family dinner on Thanksgiving Day, or to wake up Christmas morning with no presents under the tree.

I hope each of you and your families are able to make wonderful holiday memories this year and all the ones that follow. But more importantly, I hope that you and your families will be able to experience the joy of helping someone else make wonderful holiday memories too!

There are many opportunities during the holidays for your family to share in the giving to others who are less fortunate. Below is a list of additional ideas with some starter questions for conversations with your children to help them understand and appreciate the purpose of the whole experience:

  • Volunteer your family to be a Secret Santa for a foster child, an elderly person, or a family who otherwise would not have a Christmas.
  • Serve food at a local food bank.  What would it be like to have no food or home?
  • Choose a child from our Boynton Angel Tree or from one of the many angel trees located throughout the Catoosa County and Chattanooga area.

What if you had no presents on Christmas morning? How would you feel?

ake arrangements to visit a local children’s hospital during the holidays and take some small gifts, cards or just visit to raise their spirits.
--Make cookies or cocoa with your children and deliver it to that elderly neighbor or family down the street who could use a “pick me up”.

What would it be like to be alone on a holiday?

Attention Parents/ Volunteers:

Effective July of 2012 the Mandated Reporter Law was updated to include volunteers working in a school. If you volunteer at any time in our building this will pertain to you. According to Boynton Elementary policy, all reports should be made to the principal or counselor. The principal or counselor will then contact the proper authorities. Please read the following...

House Bill 1176 and Changes to Georgia's Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting

House Bill 1176 (HB 1176) is the result of the efforts of the Criminal Justice Reform Commission. The bill passed through the Georgia General Assembly on March 29, 2012. One particular section of the bill is relevant to child welfare because it clarifies and expands the scope of O.C.G.A. § 19-5-7, which is Georgia's law that mandates that certain professionals report suspected child abuse. These changes took effect on July 1, 2012.

HB 1176 adds definitions for the following groups of professionals required to report:

  • Child service organization personnel means:

  • People employed by or volunteering for any type of organization or business that provides children with "care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter"

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center

Emory University School of Law

Atlanta, GA 30322

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