During the 2014-2015 school year, Norton City Schools became part of an amazing collaboration with the local community, safety forces, and Grace Church. The result of that partnership has become known as Norton United. Although it began with only a few, it has grown in membership since its inception. Other local businesses, churches, and community organizations have joined us in our efforts. As a result, those partnerships have evolved, and we have been able to service Norton families in multiple capacities.
Norton United has provided much needed support for our families in need through supplies, food, transportation and housing. In the fall of 2015, when our administrators realized the issue of human trafficking was affecting students, they agreed that this issue needed to be addressed. More importantly, this was not just a school issue, but a community issue. A meeting with all administrators was held with the leaders of Norton United. This group agreed that our students, staff, parents and all community members would benefit from education on this topic. Norton’s mayor, city council members, safety forces, school administrators, and board of education members joined with Norton United and that fall, staff members were trained by judges, the F.B.I., county prosecutors, Victim's Assistance and RAHAB during a scheduled professional development day. As a follow up event, Grace Church hosted a Norton United evening event for the education and community awareness of human trafficking. Over 500 community members attended the event.
The following year, in 2016, Norton United tackled the county wide epidemic of opiate addiction. Again, as a result of our collaborative efforts, several agencies participated in professional development for staff members and the community. Participants included Summit County judges, law enforcement agencies, physicians, family members of addicts, and recovering addicts themselves. Grace Church hosted another evening event for community members, and once again, had an outstanding turnout of more than 800 community members.
In 2017, it was decided that Norton United would once again partner, and address the hunger issue many of our families face daily. Norton United is committed to feeding our students and their families “here, there, and everywhere.” Norton families are being supported through food donations from local churches and community partnerships. In turn, we are supporting the local food banks through various planned events. Finally, Norton United has taken on its biggest challenge yet, the Million Meal Project.
Norton United has become an incredible collaboration of community members. It has grown since our first meeting and we couldn’t be more proud of our local schools, businesses, law enforcement, and community churches. Great things have happened as a result of our partnership and we look forward to the future!