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Reaching out to children
KidsNet donates books for Mental Health Month

COVINGTON - Students at some Newton County schools are getting a special treat this month.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, officials at KidsNet Newton, under the support of KidsNet Georgia, will read and donate mental health books to area schools. This is the third year for the program.

Micki Smith, project director at KidsNet Newton, said the books demonstrate emotional well-being and provide lessons about how each person is different.

"It is important for children ... to keep in mind that everyone acts differently," Smith said. "We want to try to teach a lesson that they should be nice to people who are different from themselves."

This month, KidsNet personnel will go to seven Newton County schools, totaling 14 classes, to read these types of stories to students.

Additionally, each elementary, middle and high school will receive one book for its media center.

The elementary level book is "The Boy Who Grew Flowers," by Jen Wojtowicz; the middle school level book is "The Sorta Sisters," by Adrian Fogelin; and the high school level book is "Three Little Words: A Memoir," by Ashley Rhodes-Courter.

The books are funded by the KidsNet Georgia System of Care and the Georgia Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases.

KidsNet, which works with children who are diagnosed with serious emotional disorders and behavioral challenges, also hopes to bring awareness of the mental health of children with this program.

"We're trying to increase community awareness," Smith said. "It's important for you to reach out to children to help sustain their well-being."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

Ways to show support of children's emotional health and well-being:

· Read to your children.

· Celebrate the accomplishments and strengths of children.

· Foster self-worth and independence in children.

· Help children express their feelings.

· Promote mutual respect and trust.

· Recognize the strengths in all children.

· Appreciate each child's uniqueness.

· Encourage individual talents.

· Help children set goals based on their abilities and interests.

· Show confidence in their ability to handle problems and tackle new experiences.