1) Information About the North Carolina Child Passenger Safety Laws
The North Carolina Child Passenger Safety law requires that all children less than 16 be properly restrained in an age, height and weight appropriate vehicle restraint. A properly used and installed car or booster seat is required for all children less than 8 years or 80 pounds. Children less than five years or 40 pounds must be restrained in the back seat. The state recommends that all children between birth and two years be secured in a rear-facing car seat with built in harness system for optimal protection. It is important to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible or until they reach the maximums for weight and height. The harness is what keeps your child in their seat if you have to stop suddenly or are in a motor vehicle accident. A snug harness is very important for good crash protection but should not cause discomfort. You should be just barely able to slide two fingers flat under the harness strap. Once your child outgrows the rear facing seat you may move them to a forward facing seat with a built in harness system. Your child should remain in the full harness system until they reach the upper weight limit for the seat and harness. The next step is a seat belt positioning booster seat. While the law states that 8 years or 80 pounds is the cutoff for using a car seat it is very important to make sure that the seat belt fits appropriately without a booster seat. This means that the lap belt is snug across the hips and just barely touches the upper thighs and that the shoulder belt falls across the collar bone and chest. There are many different types of car seats available that meet the many different needs of parents. It is important to research to find the best seat for your child. Once you have selected a car seat please read the manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations before using the car seat. If you have any further questions or would like to get your car seat inspected please contact one of the following agencies: Boone Fire Department (828-268-6180), Blowing Rock Fire Department (828-295-5220) or Watauga Medics (828-264-9486).
2) Empty Bowls for Avery May 17
Join Avery County on May 17 for the inaugural Empty Bowls for Avery event to benefit Feeding Avery Families, Inc. from noon-3 p.m. at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church located at 1161 Balm in Banner Elk. This is a united effort by area churches and caring people to help stop hunger in Avery County. To help prepare or serve food contact lynn at 828-897-9113. To help stop hunger in Avery County, make a donation, choose a handmade pottery bowl, enjoy homemade soup, bread and dessert and keep the bowl as a reminder of hungry families in the community.
3) Grandfather Mountain Launches Volunteer Program
Grandfather Mountain is excited to launch a new volunteer program this spring. The scenic attraction in Linville is now recruiting cheerful, engaging and enthusiastic volunteers to share their time and talents with its guests. “I have always told my children that community equals home,” said Volunteer Coordinator Lesley Platek. “Therefore, when you volunteer in your community, you gain far more than you give.” The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation offers a range of opportunities to suit each volunteer’s interests and abilities. Opportunities include: animal habitat ambassador, hospitality host, conservation and stewardship, gardening, educational assistant, exhibit interpreter or parking and traffic control. School groups, church groups, clubs and organizations are also needed sporadically for special projects in the park including landscaping, trail work, animal habitat cleaning, trash pickup, painting, invasive species control and other projects. Interested volunteers undergo training sessions designed to familiarize them with the Mountain’s mission and operations and how to best interact with guests. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old (some exceptions for group volunteering). For more information, call Lesley Platak at 828-733-2013.
4) RAM Now Taking Applications for Summer 2014 Work Projects
Resort Area Ministries (RAM) is now taking applications for Summer Mission work projects. Any low-income family, individual, senior citizen or those who own a home and cannot do their own labor because of illness, physical impairment or affordability may be eligible for RAM projects. The projects that qualify include houses that need painting, simple carpentry or repair jobs on porches, decks, steps or interiors, roofing houses, yard work or cleaning projects. RAM’s Rack Thrift Shop in Boone helps provide funding for these projects. RAM’s budget for the work projects is limited. If the recipients or their families are able to help finance all or part of the costs of the materials, this help is greatly appreciated but not required. If someone would like to donate materials or monies to help with these projects, you may contact the RAM office. RAM is a nonprofit organization so donations are tax deductible. RAM has four mission groups already scheduled to assist with work projects this summer. The projects will take place June-August 2014. Projects may have to be rescheduled or canceled due to rainy or cold weather. If you would like to apply or know someone who wold, contact Mary Dean Silver, Missions Director at 828-264-6605. Applications for work projects may be picked up at RAM’s Rack Thrift Shop at 877 West King Street in Boone.
5) Gov. Pat McCrory Proclaims April as NC Guardian ad Litem Child Advocate Month
For the sixth consecutive year, April will be recognized as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAD) Child Advocate Month, by proclamation of Governor Pat McCrory. The recognition appropriately coincides with National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Volunteer Week. The Guardian ad Litem Program, a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, recruits, trains and supervises volunteer advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system. Volunteer advocates work with an attorney to form a plan that ensures these children are placed in a safe, permanent home. The proclamation recognizes the GAL Program’s “distinguished record of public service through its work to enhance the quality of life for children” over its 31 years as an organization. While appreciating advocates who donated more than 463,000 hours of service during 2013 to children in all 100 counties, GAL Child Advocate Month also highlights the nearly $11 million dollars these volunteers saved the state last year as they, in the proclamation’s words, helped “improve the quality of information presented to the court” and acted as “the court’s eyes and ears in the child’s life.” “These GAL volunteers are behind-the-scenes champions who improve the life of vulnerable children one child at a time,” said Cindy Bizzell, Guardian ad Litem Administrator. Tami Barker, a GAL volunteer of four years in Denver agrees, “It’s more than a volunteer opportunity. It’s a privilege to share their lives, their triumphs, and their sorrows to see them through to a better future.” The proclamation also serves as a reminder of the immense need for more GAL volunteer advocates throughout the state. In 2013, 4,824 GAL volunteer advocates served 15,251 children in North Carolina. However, more volunteers are needed to ensure that every child has someone to speak on his or her behalf. Currently, more than 1,700 children do not have a GAL volunteer to advocate for them in court. The GAL program thrives on volunteerism and the vital work of the program is only made possible by the dedicated volunteers who are committed to the cause of keeping children safe from future harm. To rise to the challenge and become a GAL volunteer advocate, visit www.ncgal.org.