RUMFORD — The River Valley Healthy Community Coalition met Wednesday afternoon to share updates and news of upcoming events.

Tina Hazard, an intern with Rumford Group Homes, said it is currently waiting for the “go-ahead on funding for a maternity group home that we’re developing.

“It’s going to focus on girls between the ages of 18 and 21 that are pregnant,” she said. “It will help them work on some parenting skills, some coping skills and stress management. We’re trying to catch them right as they become parents, but are still kind of teenagers. I think that’s the best time to do it.”

According to Hazard, if the maternity group home were to be funded, it would be developed in Rumford and would have 10 spots available.

“We’re planning on having different apartments for the girls, so we’re not putting all these hormones together in one place,” Hazard said. “Ten pregnant women that are between 18 and 21 stuck in one house together is kind of asking for trouble.”

Sandra Witas, project coordinator for the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, reminded the coalition that this year’s Healthy Hearts 5K run/walk will take place May 19.

“Officially, today, we are at 161 participants, which is more than we had last year,” Witas said. “I have more sponsorship money this year than I had in the last two years combined.”

Five schools will be organizing a run/walk team, Witas said. The schools include Dirigo Elementary, Rumford Elementary, Mountain Valley Middle, Andover Elementary and Holy Savior Catholic.

“Word on the street is that Crescent Park Elementary School (in Bethel) is coming through with one, but I haven’t heard from them yet,” Witas said.

Witas added that the Mexico Explorers will be participating in the Sticker Shock program again this year, which is a statewide public awareness campaign that places stickers on multipacks of beer, wine coolers and other alcohol products that appeal to underage drinkers.

Executive Director Patty Duguay also told the coalition that free screenings for oral, head and neck cancer will be done from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 15 at the Friends of Peru Elementary School building at 30 Main St.

“We’re trying to target people who don’t already have a dental provider, but nobody will be turned away,” Duguay said.

Duguay said Windy Williams and Jerrold Cohen from Community Dental will do the screenings.

The next community network meeting will take place May 30 at the Rumford Public Library.

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