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Riverdale Police, school to host family symposium

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

The Riverdale Police Department is partnering with Riverdale Elementary School to host the "Encouraging Healthy Relationships" symposium Saturday.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., at Riverdale Elementary School, located at 6630 Camp Street in Riverdale, according to Sgt. Nicole Rabel of the Riverdale Police Department.

"We would love to have the community come out and have a fun day," said Rabel.

"There is learning involved, but mostly it's about bettering ourselves. It's a great opportunity to spend time with the family," she said.

This is the fourth year the police department has hosted the event, which used to be referred to as a domestic violence symposium, according to Rabel.

Saturday's event will include workshops on anger management, money management, mortgage counseling, and teen dating. The Atlanta Legal Aid Society will provide information about protective orders and other general family law issues, Rabel said.

The event will also include activities designed for children. "In the cafeteria area we're going to have a festival or fair-type area with story time for the kids. We'll also have face painting, games, and we'll have an identification kit area where kids can get their fingerprinting done," she said.

Rabel said the event will culminate with a butterfly release, in honor of victims of domestic violence. "Domestic violence is a huge problem in Riverdale," said Rabel. "Over 50 domestic violence incidents have been reported in Riverdale from January until now."

Organizers of the event are also encouraging attendees to bring donations for Clayton County's family violence shelter, Securus House.

"Securus House is Clayton County's only safe house, so they're a very important organization to assist," said Rabel. She said items needed include diapers, toiletries, and boxes of crayons. For a complete list of donations needed, visit www.securushouse.org.

Donated items will also be accepted for Ahimsa House, a shelter that takes in pets from domestic violence situations.

"When victims go to a safe house, pets are not accepted, and some people won't leave because they're going to leave the animal behind. Ahimsa House is the organization that will take the pet in," said Rabel.

Rabel said Ahimsa House is located in metro Atlanta, at an undisclosed location. "The things they desperately need are food, blankets and [pet] toys," she said.

A full list of items needed by Ahimsa House is available at www.ahimsahouse.org.

For more information about the Encouraging Healthy Relationships event, contact the Riverdale Police Department at (770) 996-3382.