Maranda Stonica is the new executive director of Monroe County Family Connection. She introduced herself at the group’s December meeting, saying she is eager to get to know everyone in Monroe County and to take on her new duties.
Georgia Family Connection is a statewide network of offices in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. It began as a pilot project in 1991 with the mission of coordinating resources for children, families and communities. Many organizations serve multiple counties and regions, but services aren’t used equally, sometimes because those in need and those who could help aren’t aware of one another. Monroe County Family Connection is tasked with helping local agencies and individuals become aware of and use resources available so that some aren’t duplicated while gaps are left for other needs.
County Family Connection offices are also asked to identify areas of greatest need in their counties and facilitate efforts to address those needs. The state office provides data and information to help identify those needs. For the last few years, Monroe County Family Connection has targeted the need to reduce the number of abused and neglected children in the county.
Maranda comes to Monroe County Family Connection from 18 1/2 years working with Henry County Water Authority as director of its outdoor education center. She said she loved working the programs for children that were offered in the natural buffer area around Henry County’s reservoir. However, the Covid shutdown halted those programs, and even as things began to reopen she found her job very different. She was working primarily with regulations for property owners adjacent to the reservoir rather than working with educational programs for children.
Maranda and her husband moved from Griffin to Pike County three years ago. They are now looking for property in Monroe County. Maranda’s sister lives in Juliette, and she said she has grown to love the area. She and her husband have four children. The 22-year-old son is in the U.S. Army; a daughter, 21, is a cosmetologist. An eight-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter are eager to get involved in different activities.
“This is me,” said Maranda about the position with Monroe County Family Connection. “I was excited when they called [to offer it to me.] I’m ready to take it on full force and make it grow.”
Vickie Nickel has filled in part-time as interim executive director for the past year and will continue to work with Miranda over the next few months. Nickel held the position a few years ago and is both knowledgeable and passionate about the needs Family Connection can help address.
Monroe Family Connection meets monthly with all members of the community welcome to attend meetings. The next meeting is planned for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Monroe County Commissioners’ board room, 38 W. Main Street, Forsyth. Jeff Holcomb is the current chair of Monroe County Family Connection board of directors.