Do you think your child, grandchild, or a youth you care about has ever been in danger while on the internet?
If they’re on social media, you can be almost sure a predator has reached out to them online without them understanding who the contact truly is, the Roswell Police Department says.
That is part of the reason the well-being of young people is the focus of the thirteenth annual Roswell Day of Hope, to be held Saturday, Sept. 24, at Roswell City Hall. As is the Day of Hope tradition, families will receive free services and gifts in a festival-like setting, including groceries (while supplies last), medical exams, haircuts, and more. Attendees can also sip fresh brews from local coffee houses while they browse the work of area artists and students.
The event is a program of Hope Roswell, a group of church leaders in the area who work throughout the year to meet local needs.
“‘Are your kids okay?’ is a question that we’re asking parents,” explained Brenda Orlans, coordinator of Hope Roswell. “Depression and anxiety are growing among kids at the fastest rate ever, and parents have such busy lives they may miss the clues. We’re asking people to stop and take note of how our kids are really doing. If you know someone who is struggling, please bring them to find out where to go for help.”
This year’s focus was inspired by the continuing struggles among youth following the COVID-19 lockdowns. The isolation and losses experienced by students have caused a massive increase in depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Information will be available at the event about how to recognize the signs of these mental issues and also what to do if a youth needs help.
Those in attendance can also learn how to monitor kids’ activities online and how to take other steps to keep them safe. Recruitment for gangs and human trafficking often starts online, say experts. And isolation, a byproduct of the lockdowns, can make young people more vulnerable to predators online.
The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 24, at Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill Street, with no admission charge. While a variety of free services and gifts will be available for those in financial need, the event is designed to be a day of fun for all with games and live music. Food will be available to buy, and art lovers can purchase something to take home with proceeds going to the Day of Hope. $100 Gift cards and other items will be raffled off.
Free services include dental checkups for children twelve and younger, haircuts, and medical exams. While supplies last, attendees can get also free shoes and groceries.
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