JDAI hopes to connect teens to the community

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The News Sun on 8/19/2021 by Patrick Redmond

LAGRANGE – As LaGrange County’s JDAI coordinator, Randy Merrifield’s focused on ways hopes will help local teens stay out of trouble.

One issue that’s worried Merrifield is that high school juniors and seniors are so busy working toward graduating that they fail to create solid connections to the communities they grow up in.

So he’s come up with a plan to solve that.

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, starting at 9 a.m., Merrifield’s JDAI program, with help from the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office, the LaGrange Chamber of Commerce, local law enforcement, all three school districts, will host a large trade show of sorts in the main gym at Lakeland High School, aimed at helping students connect to their community. He’s bring in speakers, local business leaders, community organizers, leaders of mental health services and other not for profit organizations. His goal is to show teens there are more options available to them than simply deciding whether or not to go to college once high school is finished.