Support groups turn to internet, phones to provide services

April 9, 2020 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — In lieu of in-person gatherings, local support groups have found alternative ways to help others.

With concerns about the coronavirus forcing many businesses to close per Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home directive, creativity has come to the fore.

Prior to the statewide order, smoking cessation classes were held every Tuesday night at the Mohave County Library’s Bullhead City branch. Now the county’s Department of Public Health and Tobacco Use Prevention Program are conducting the next-best thing for pupils in sixth to 12th grade.

Community health educator Dean Wenrich, for one, is offering the video program ASPIRE, designed for students to learn about the dangers of tobacco and vaping.

“Meetings are canceled until we receive some word about the possibility that we can mingle again,” he said.

In turn, Wenrich has turned to computers and students have aspired to ASPIRE.


“This course is interactive, geared toward young people with live actors and animation — a lot of variety,” he said of the program sponsored by MCTUPP.

At this point, Bullhead Middle School and Fox Creek have accepted ASPIRE for their students, though it’s available to all school districts.

Once would-be participants sign up, they’re given a pre-test as part of the first module, Wenrich explained, noting students will be “on their own” thereafter because the course is self-paced.

“At the end is a post-test, to ensure they’ve learned a lot,” he said. Those who complete the exam with a passing grade will be eligible for a drawing in June, when they could win an iPad.

Parents and students may initiate the process by contacting Wenrich at or 928-758-0722, ext. 2036.

Meanwhile, all branches of Weight Watchers have closed their doors for public gatherings since March 17, but that hasn’t stopped its business.

According to Weight Watchers of Arizona’s public relations spokesman Steve Carr, the company’s meetings are now virtual and “have been very actively attended.”

“There’s also the opportunity for members to have one-on-one or small-group counseling via conference call,” he stated in an email. “There is no target date” for Weight Watchers to reopen.

In Fort Mohave, Hospice of Havasu’s weekly Life After Loss get-togethers are postponed until further notice. Said Rosalinda Fullmer: “I call people who need us every week or two. They’re doing OK, they understand the (coronavirus) situation.”

Elsewhere, meetings are on hold at Beacon of Hope, which is waiting until late May. At Senior Circle, adviser Jena Morga’s voice-machine recording stated all non-essential activities have been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus.

As for Al-Anon in Bullhead City, a member said Wednesday and Saturday “meetings” are being conducted online via Zoom.

Rounding out the announcements is that of TOPS Club — or Take Off Pounds Sensibly nonprofit organization — which has delayed its chapter meetings, weigh-ins and other events until May 4, at the earliest. According to that company’s website: “Due to concerns about COVID-19, our TOPS Chapters and most headquarters staff are ‘safer at home’ for now.”