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Healthy Bladen Collaborative meets and learns about pilot WIC program

The Healthy Bladen Collaborative met on Tuesday and learned about new pilot program coming soon for WIC recipients.

The Healthy Bladen Collaborative met on Tuesday morning in the conference room of the Bladen County Health Department to share ideas and to discuss new initiatives and upcoming events throughout the county.

During the meeting Marianne Valentiner, Health Educator, announced North Carolina is preparing to implement a pilot program for an eWIC card which will replace the current voucher system. The new eWIC card will launch in October.

The new eWIC card will work like a debit card at the checkout stand. Valentiner said the grocery stores have been contacted regarding the new program.

Also discussed was the purchase of an adaptive swing for the Leinwand Park in Elizabethtown with Safe Kids funds. Berkleigh Pridgen told the group the purchase will be made in July. She said articles regarding safe play for children with disabilities will be distributed.

Carol Strickland, Young Families Connect Coordinator/Health Educator, said the Young Families Connect program held two workshops in May. The first workshop discussed domestic violence and the second workshop focused on employment skills. She said there are several program participants who are enrolled at Bladen Community College.

Currently, Young Families Connect has 56 participants actively enrolled and 16 have completed the program for a total of 72. There are 44 women and 12 men enrolled.

Strickland said the site review for Young Families Connect was completed earlier in May and “everything went well.”

Stacie Kinlaw gave on update for the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office and the Bladen County 4-H program. She began her presentation by discussing the Chicken project. Kinlaw said a total of 82 chickens were raised by program participants. The Extension Office conducted a Chicken Show and once the program was completed, the chickens were processed and the meat was donated to area food banks.

Kinlaw said Bladen County 4-H is planning a Family 4-H Science Night for Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The event is one to 4-H members, friends of 4-H members, 4-H volunteers and 4-H supporters and partners. All youth must be accompanied by an adult and a sign up sheet will be made available for adults to list all of the youth they will be accompanying. You can register for the Family Science Night by contacting Stacie Kinlaw at 910-862-4591 or by email at

There is also a series of Summer Fun activities planned for Bladen County 4-H. The events are as follows:

*Friday, June 30, 4-H Fun with Food from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. for ages 5 to 12. Cost is $10 and lunch will be provided.

*Thursday, July 6, 4-H Summer Stem Day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. for ages 5 to 12. Cost is $10 and lunch is provided.

*Wednesday, July 19, a 4-H Field Trip is planned from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Cost is $20.

*Monday, July 24, the Cloverbud Camp will take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. for ages 5 to 8. Cost is $10.

*Thursday and Friday, August 3 and 4, What’s the Buzz About? The camp will meet from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and from 9 a.m. until 4  p.m. on Friday.

*The 4-H Congress will meet from Saturday, July 29, through Tuesday, August  1. Registration with payment is due by June 15. Cost to attend the 4-H Congress is $264. Additional money will be needed for two (2) dinner and two (2) lunches not covered by registration. You can register via this link:

*Monday through Friday, August 7th through 11th, there will be a Biotech Day Camp for ages 9 to 13. Cost for the camp is $75.

*Wednesday, August 16th,  there will be a cookout at Jones Lake State Park for ages 5 to 18. The cookout will take place from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Kinlaw said her staff have also partnered with Bladen Community College to offer summer camps for kids for a total of four weeks. She said the camps will meet for two weeks in June and two weeks in July. For a complete listing of summer camps, go to for the camps is required and can be done in person at Bladen Community College’s Continuing Education Department located at 7418 NC Hwy. 41 West, Dublin. Go to Building 2. go upstairs to Room 215. You may also call Gabriela Alcala-Garcia at 910-879-5577 or Stephanie Gonzalez at 910-879-5539 for more information on the camps. 

Morgan with the Bladen County Parks and Recreation said currently softball is being played in the county and the Dixie Youth Boys Baseball will begin this Friday. She also said Parks and Recreation will be partnering with the Bladen County Healthy Department offering outreach activities in Elizabethtown, Clarkton, Bladenboro and East Arcadia, this summer.

Bladen County Public Library Director Kelsey Edwards updated the group on the Summer Reading Program.  The theme for Summer Reading is “Build a Better World.” Registration is required in advice and adult supervision is required at each program. Edwards said the Summer Reading program is for ages 2 to 12. The Bridger Memorial Library’s Summer Reading will be held each Monday at 3 p.m. and will begin on June 19th. Call 910-863-4586 to register.

The Clarkton Public Library’s Summer Reading program will meet on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. beginning on June 20th. To register call 910-647-3661.

The Bladen County Public Library main branch in Elizabethtown will conduct Summer Reading on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. beginning on June 21st. To register call 910-862-6990.

Edwards said the library will also  be conduct programs at different sites throughout the county as well as working with the Migrant Head Start program. She added residents who are homebound can receive materials such as audio books, large print books, or braille materials by calling the main library in Elizabethtown at 910-862-6990.

Bladen County Department of Social Services’ Janet Miller updated the group on NC FAST (North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology). She said the DSS staff are beginning training with NC FAST to enable them to add the energy program and child care programs to the system.

Miller was also asked about a bill introduced into legislation which seeks to regionalize Child Protective Services. She replied DSS is working with legislators to help them to obtain a better understanding of Child Protective Services. She said there are numerous concerns with an attempt to regionalize services. Miller said in the past there has been a regional office which served to offer support to the county office. She said the regional support offices are missed.

Tiina Mundy with Bladen Community College said the college will become a tobacco-free campus on Thursday.

Travis Greer who is working with the Regional Chronic Disease grant of Robeson County, said they have one vacancy for a Health System Coordinator.
It was also learned Bladen Crisis Assistant is seeking Board members and volunteers. Contact Tanesha Johnson at 910-879-1032.


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