For 14 years, Extended Family has been helping children of prisoners and their families. Now they want to celebrate – and the community is invited.
Extended Family’s 14th Annual Celebration of Life will be held Nov. 4, 6 – 8 p.m, CST, in the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce Meeting Room, 801 Cedar Bluff Road, in Centre. This free event is open to the public. The Celebration includes a complimentary dinner, entertainment, and a keynote by Dr. Martha G. Lavender, Gadsden State Community College President.
Extended Family Executive Director Laure Clemons is excited about having Dr. Lavender at the event.
"Dr. Lavender has been an inspiration to me," Clemons said. “She has used her wide variety of experience to help others, and is constantly finding ways to give back to the community."
Dr. Lavender has more than 40 years of experience in clinical nursing practice, nursing education, and organizational administration. At Gadsden State, she is responsible for the executive oversight and administration of all aspects of the College mission including academic and technical education, workforce development, and adult education. Gadsden State currently has six locations across the service area, offers 80 programs, and employs approximately 700 full and part-time employees.
From 2004-2008, Dr. Lavender served as a manager and leader in the emergency response training program at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Anniston, Alabama. From 1982-2004, Dr. Lavender served as a faculty member and academic administrator at Jacksonville State University (JSU). In 2001, Dr. Lavender served as the National President of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), an international specialty organization of more than 22,000 nurses. She recently completed a four-year appointment to the Alabama Board of Nursing and service as a member of the NCSBN Advanced Practice Registered Nursing Committee.
Extended Family started in Centre in November 2001. In 2007, Clemons created the Extended Family for Kids curriculum, which has been distributed in 14 states. Since 2014, Extended Family for Kids programs have been in every school in Cherokee County. This semester 152 students are enrolled in Cherokee County Extended Family for Kids groups.
"The issue of incarceration impacts so many areas of our society today,” Clemons said. "This is not just a prison issue anymore. There are children and families impacted, and we can give those families tools to make it on the outside while their loved ones are being rehabilitated on the inside. That is what Extended Family is all about – providing tools for adults and children to use to make better choices and lead positive, healthy, joyful lives, regardless of their circumstances."
To RSVP for the Extended Family Annual Celebration call 256-927-3038 or e-mail Cyndi@extendedfamilyhelp.org.