The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 22, 2013

Fjelstad: Two organizations planning luncheons aimed at families

By Robin Fjelstad

NEOSHO, Mo. — “Always reward your long hours of labor and toil in the very best way, surrounded by your family. Nurture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics, and your own progress will hasten when you constantly strive to present your best side to your children. And even if you have failed at all else in the eyes of the world, if you have a loving family, you are a success.”

— Og Mandino, American author

Two area organizations, both devoted to strong family values, will launch awareness and fundraising campaigns this week via lunches at The Civic in downtown Neosho.

The Neosho Area Coalition is a youth-focused organization that strives to create an alcohol- and drug-free youth community through prevention, intervention and pro-social activities. Its luncheon, set for noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, is intended to welcome supporters and also to introduce those who have never heard of the program to its objectives. The coalition works with businesses and community agencies to coordinate resources that will strengthen families, and prevent unhealthy and unsafe behaviors. It is seeking participation from like-minded residents in implementing the programs it has planned for the year.

Two programs implemented in past years by the coalition are the Drug Take Back Program and the Responsible Retailer Program.

The Drug Take Back Program has been such a success that there is now a permanent drop-box located in the Newton County Sheriff’s Department office for the safe disposal of unused and expired prescription drugs, keeping them out of the hands of children.

The Responsible Retailer Program is designed to train retailers how to recognize fake IDs, as well as other means to prevent minors from obtaining adult substances. It also provides retailers with awareness of the legal problems associated with sales of alcohol and tobacco to minors.  

The luncheon is open to the public. People may RSVP through Crystal Ludiker, 417-312-2622.

The Neosho Freeman Family YMCA, a branch of the Tri-State Family YMCA, will put on a luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday to kick off the 2013 Strong Kids Campaign. The YMCA promotes healthy living and social responsibility. The Strong Kids Campaign consists of fundraising events held throughout the year to financially support scholarship programs and membership fees. No one is ever turned away from a Neosho Freeman Family YMCA program or membership because of inability to pay. The YMCA hopes to raise $125,000, this year. Donations are accepted on its website anytime, but the YMCA has planned several fun-filled events to raise both funds and awareness throughout the coming months.

To learn more about how you can support the YMCA’s cause, people may contact the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA at 417-455-9999 or visit

Robin Fjelstad is a Missouri Southern State University communications major and lives in Goodman. She is the recipient of the Rebekah Hughes Scholarship and works as an intern for The Joplin Globe.