Mortimer will give Middle School update

 USD 333 Supt. Bev Mortimer will give an update on the 2012-13 school year and plans for Concordia Middle School building as part of the Community Needs Forum working lunch Wednesday, April 17, at the Nazareth Motherhouse.
 The lunch is scheduled from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. and everyone is invited to attend. Lunch is provided without charge by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Those planning to come are asked to RSVP to 243.2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org.
 This will be the 22nd gathering of the Community Needs Forum which grew out of informal lunches with the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Fall of 2008.
 In addition to identifying what participants see as the greatest needs in the community, the meetings have established smaller groups to seek solutions. The quarterly working lunches provide an opportunity for updates on projects and a clearinghouse for new ideas. It is not necessary to have attended an earlier session to join the process by attending Wednesday's lunch.
 Earlier this year, Mortimer and the USD 333 school board announced that the Middle School students would be moved to the high school/junior high building and that the old school on East 6th Street would be sold. However, at its meeting this week, the board approved Mortimer's new plan to keep the Middle School building and instead close Lincoln School at 803 Valley St. and move the Concordia After School Program and the Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas from there to the Middle School.
 Mortimer said that after her report at the working lunch, she will be available for questions from the participants.
 Another item on Wednesday's agenda is Hands Across the Community, a program that began in February with Christina Brodie as its coordinator.
 The goal of this program is for people who are struggling financially but want to become self-sufficient to be paired with community coaches who will take part in the program with them and be there for encouragement and advice. The program begins with a 13-week series of workshops, followed by monthly meetings that will continue for at least a year.
Both the families and the mentors must make a commitment to stay with the program for a minimum of one year.
The first class is about halfway through its 13 workshops and Brodie is looking for families and mentors to take part in the next class, beginning in June.
"It's a long-term proposition," Brodie said. "We need people to be in it for the long haul. Building a foundation for a stronger, healthier life isn't about a single workshop or a single issue."
Other updates on Wednesday's agenda include:
•The Civility Pledge which is being circulated to gather signatures for the fourth year. Presented by the Concordia Year of Peace Committee, the pledge asks people to make a commitment to be  civil and respectful in their public behavior. In 2012, more than 300 Concordians signed the pledge.
•The 35th anniversary of Manna House of Prayer which will be celebrated with an Open House on Sunday, April 21, from 1-4 p.m. and with tours of the historic building at 323 E. 5th Street.
•Reading with Leaders, a series of storytelling sessions for preschoolers that   began in September 2012 and will continue through May. The final two sessions will be April 26 and May 3, both at the Neighbor to Neighbor Center, 103 E. 6th Street.

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