Thursday, December 31, 2009

LIttle Green Stocking benefit

In a slight "spin off" of the Little Red Stocking campaign, last night we held the first ever Little GREEN stocking" benefit- in Parkersburg. This raised over $500 for our local Little Red Stocking campaign, with some great music to boot! The Greens, a WV band with an enthusiastic following, and a great stage presence and energy for performing their original, creative music for audiences all across the state and region, put on a fantastic holiday show. Door prizes flowed during the one break the band took in their 4 hour performance. I distributed all the door prizes finishing up the bucket with the door prize tickets so that everyone who had one won some prize!!! This caps off our local Little Red Stocking campaign, as we get around to the businesses who sponsored us, and tally the totals. We always make mental notes about how we will strive next year to improve on our campaign, and try to get more people engaged in our work in the community with area children and families.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Green Stocking benefit re-scheduled

Little Green Stocking benefit re-scheduled for next Wednesday the 30th of December

The Greens have been able to re-schedule the Little Green Stocking benefit for the Thirsty Turtle for next Wednesday the 30th at 10 pm. Come out and support the Children's Home Society of WV and hear some good music and celebrate the new year's a day early. $5 donation at the door.

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve, and most staff are taking today to be with their families and friends celebrating the holiday. They have put in a good holiday season of giving of themselves to the many children and families we serve out of our Parkersburg site of CHS. The Shelter, of course, is bustling and busy as it is 365 days a year! Generous support from Prudential and Gas Search and others, makes for a nice Christmas for the residents of the shelter who are there at this particularly stressful time of year. Lisa Doyle Parsons is preparing a holiday meal for the young people she works with in the Runaway and Homeless Youth program here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. She has gotten very creative in her building a support network for these youth, and a meal is always a good source of fellowship! Barrie, our host home for the runaway and homeless youth programs, is up to 4 young people staying with him! Some of the neighborhood youth have been stopping in to get on the computers, and the two Miller boys brought me a Christmas card!
We've had a few people stop in for food from our pantry, and somebody brought records (for my on-going vinyl record sales) and somebody bought a few!! We got some Panera's bread today; Pam went up to get it; and that came in handy for the meal Lisa is preparing!
We're having a cold but sunny day here in early winter, and we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CHS-Parkersburg welcomes Sarah Limer to our staff

We welcome Sarah Limer to our site staff, in our Right from the Start program. Sarah will be working out of the Parkersburg site, but initially helping with cases in the Roane and Calhoun area. I hope everyone will make her welcome as she begins her new duties!

Alanna's blog about Bolivia!

I forgot to add the blog that Alanna kept while in Bolivia: alannainbolivia.blogspot.com is where you could go to see some pictures and commentary on her experience.

College Student makes presentation about her trip to Bolivia

Several months ago, I sponsored a college student (a former youth volunteer at our Neighborhood Center) on a trip she was taking to Bolivia. Part of her trip was to visit and volunteer at an orphanage there. She has returned and came last night to make a presentation to us. She showed a slide show, with emphasis on the orphanage (and thus the child welfare system) and street youth in Bolivia. Several staff, and a few community members, and some of the residents of the Gustke Shelter took part in her presentation. We thank Alanna for this effort, and are eagerly awaiting her next adventure!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Little Red Stocking display at the Go-Mart in Cambridge Ohio!!!



Pictures from our Foster Care Christmas Party last week




Taking Blankets to the homeless downtown

Lisa, and Katrina were involved in helping link some interested donors with some of our community's homeless folks who stay down by the river and railroad tracks. They provided some blankets on the snowy/ cold evening of Saturday night. Tellman Knudsen, who is running across the country barefoot to raise awareness and money to address youth homelessness has been in our area for a few weeks. A representative from Blue Cross / Blue Shield in Parkersburg has hooked up with Tellman to help concretely address helping the homeless, and they needed a contact who could directly connect them with some folks who could benefit from receiving the blankets. So this transpired Saturday. You could visit Tellman's website: www.runtellmanrun.com to see some footage and coverage of his time in the Parkersburg area, including some footage of a visit he made to our Mid Town Family Resource Center about a week ago.

Movie Night: Polar Express

Lisa Doyle Parsons wavered but then decided to go ahead and keep a movie night for the Mid Town Family Resource Center teen drop in center format for Friday night. These are positive youth experiences she organizes to allow some neigborhood youth and youth associated with our Runaway and Homeless Youth programs time to get together here at our Center. This month the movie was Polar Express, in keeping with the holiday season.

Little Green Stocking benefit was cancelled due to weather and road conditions

I was disappointed that we had to cancel the Little Green Stocking Benefit show on Saturday night. Most of West Virginia (and the East Coast!) know that there was a big snow storm that dominated things from Friday night through Saturday. Two members of the Greens who live in Morgantown could not make the trip over to Parkersburg, so we had to cancel the show for that night. We are working feverishly to re-schedule it, as the venue had some folks come in disappointed that it was cancelled. I will follow up as soon as possible with an announcement of a re-scheduled date if we can work it out.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Alanna presenting about her trip to Bolivia

Monday evening we have a great opportunity to have our "world view" expanded here at CHS-Parkersburg! Alanna Markle a WVU college student with roots in Parkersburg will be presenting about her recent semester in Bolivia. We helped sponsor this trip and experience, and, since she was visiting, helping, observing an orphanage in Bolivia, we asked her to come give some of her impressions of that part of her experience, as well as the general adventure she had there! Alanna participated as a youth leader and volunteer several years ago at our site, when a youth led project studied youth homelessness in the community. She has also spent a year in Brazil. She is very good at conveying her experiences in pictures and blog posting, so even if you are not able to hear her presentation Monday, we will be able to link you with some of her chronicling of her experience. She will be here at 6 pm.

Mid Town Family Resource Center Christmas Party

The monthly family get togethers are really getting big and well received for the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Last night's holiday family event was packed with all ages and combinations of families!!! Games played together was the theme (beyond the good food!) We have such an appreciative group of families, and ones that acknowledge the value of getting together for mutual support, and celebration, and strengthening families, with all the "protective factors" that are known to be effective. The staff of the Mid Town Family Resource Center really goes all out to provide a supportive evening (and all month long!) for the families we serve in the neighborhood. It was good to have some "long time families" and some new families blending together into a very big and busy gathering.

Foster Care Christmas Party

We had a sensational turnout and fun time at the foster care Christmas Party last evening up at Christ United Methodist Church ("just down the alley a few blocks" from our offices!) This church has been a long time faithful supporter of CHS in the Parkersburg area. They also donated $300 to the Shelter this Christmas season!
The foster families seemed to really enjoy the time together last night. The whole Foster care staff did a great coordinated job of putting the event together; they will have to summarize all the great community support we received to make this such a special event, and a good "togetherness builder" for our foster care program in the area. Lots of happy, excited children were scurrying around. Enjoying the food, fellowship and many Christmas presents donated from the community. I hope we will have some pictures to post early next week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

CiCi's Pizza Night event for local CHS site

Tuesday December 15th, from 5-8 pm, CHS staff will be holding a fund raising event in conjunction with our Little Red Stocking campaign, where 10% of all receipts for the restuarant will go to CHS. This is a CiCi's pizza on Grand Central Avenue in Vienna. We hope any CHS supporters in the Parkersburg area will use that opportunity to get out and get some buffet pizza and support our cause.

Brooke masterminds the Little Red Stocking organizing efforts!

All the site staff have to acknowledge the yeoman effort Brooke is undertaking to keep track of the Little Red Stocking campaign list. Even though we have a very large staff here at the Parkersburg site, and everyone is pitching in to help distribute the stockings to the businesses around town, someone has to be the one to coordinate and communicate all this information, and this year, that task has gone to Brooke! It is a dizzying process, as all the staff are clearly busy with the day to day work they do, but manage to squeeze in delivery and checking in with the businesses. It is so much right now in the thick of the campaign, that it is hard to come up for air and see where we might be standing, but we thank Brooke for the coordinating efforts. If you are reading this, and a local supporter, please make a donation for a stocking at a local business, and encourage and thank the businesses that are supporting us. And if you have some new businesses, or ideas of ways to promote the campaign, please let us know!!!!

Barb Lott; our early childhood supervisor

Even though Barb has maintained involvement in the Right From the Start program, after she left her position at the Regional Care Coordinator a few years ago, to teach at WVU-P, we welcome her back in her new capacity as the supervisor of the site's early childhood programming. Barb is a dedicated, insightful, leader and is infusing lots of good energy into the site. She is finishing up a semester at WVU-P in her teaching capacity, and "juggling" the duties at CHS as she determines the "flow" and pace of her responsibilities at BOTH jobs. We admire her work ethic, and value her commitment to the vision, values and mission of the agency, and the community's early childhood families.

Attended two local foundation events this week

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (and its regional affiliates) held a Holiday grantee announcement event, at the Smoot Theater in Parkersburg. This is a classy event, well attended by donors, board members and other civic leaders in Parkersburg. The PACF has a program where they focus some brief presentations on a topic of importance to the community, and this year's was on Health. Several grantees described what the grants from the PACF contributed to their programs. CHS received a grant this cycle to furnish our foster care visitation area. Shelley, Ashley and I attended. (Ashley had written the grant, to gain some grant writing experience- congratulations to her for a fine writing job!!!!) We were told as the week went on that we were captured on TV by the local news reporter who was covering the story! I am always amazed at how many people comment when we are on the news in our town!!!
Yesterday, I attended the Sisters of Saint Joseph Charitable Funds annual recognition banquet at the Parkersburg Country Club. We were recognized for a previous grant we had received which we used to promote oral health among pregnant women (in our Right from the Start program) and to help young parents understand the importance of getting their children off to a good start with oral health. This foundation which is a little over 10 years old in our area, has supported many of our innovations and start up programs in this time, totally over $100,000 in support. We owe them much thanks and acknowledgment for our expansion and full array of services we provide to the community- they have supported the shelter's capital campaign, the start of the family resource center and neighborhood work, the Right from the Start program, and the overall infrastructure of our site's busy hive of activity!!!!

Two Christmas Parties this week on Thursday!

With our bustling hive of a site, we have not one, but TWO, Christmas parties this week on Thursday! Our Mid Town Family Resource Center will have their Christmas party here at our center (the middle door of our complex!) with a meal and some family fellowship time for our families we work with in the McKinley neighborhood, centered around our after school program. At Thanksgiving, there were 52 people present for the monthly celebration! Lisa and her staff work hard to support the families in the neighborhood and these monthly fellowship times are key to that work. Lisa just returned from the Partners in Prevention team leader meeting in Morgantown, where she meets with the other counties team leaders and the statewide leaders of Prevent Child Abuse and the Team for WV Children.
Also on Thursday, the foster care program is having their Christmas party for the foster families. Since this program has grown so dramatically in the past year, we had to move to a larger location! Christ United Methodist Church graciously has offered their fellowship hall for this exciting event! Its just down the street! The foster care staff, and Missy Storey, one of our VISTA workers, have been working hard on making the foster care party a great event! Greg Nicholson, our recent foster care aide, has been a dynamo of seeking community donations and support for this, and all kinds of things, since he arrived. Just today we got a very spectacular gift Christmas tree, from Tres Ross of the Ross Foundation, who won the Winnie the Pooh themed tree at an Easter Seals Festival of Trees auction this past week. Tres had been at our Afterschool program event recently (the Lights on Afterschool day) and thought of us for this tree. Stay tuned for reports on these great upcoming events!!!

Barefoot Charity Runner comes through Parkersburg



Tellman Knudson, who is running barefoot across America, to raise money and awareness about the issue of homeless youth, came through Parkersburg this week. He ran in downtown Parkersburg on Thursday, and then held a little "meet and greet" at a local fitness place, Anytime Fitness, in Vienna that evening. He had lined up with Miss West Virginia USA Erica Goldsmith, who is from Wood County (and who ran with him!) Our own Lisa Doyle Parsons represented us at the "meet and greet" and had a display about the agency there. (See accompanying picture!) Lisa had discussions with the participants about our local work with homeless youth, and there may be some further discussions with Tellman and his promoter about some financial contribution from his fund raising for our local efforts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Benefit for the CHS site coming up next Saturday

The Greens performing a benefit for Children's Home Society of West Virginia next Saturday

The Greens will be performing in a holiday season show as a benefit for Children's Home Society of West Virginia, Saturday December 19th at 10 pm at the Thirsty Turtle in Parkersburg (out route 47, just out of town, toward WVU-P) Aaron Phillips, the ace instrumentalist and fantastic "Renaissance Man"- will do an opening set for the Greens starting around 9 pm, and most likely sit in for some saxophone work with the Greens throughout the evening. Aaron has been in the Bay area of California for a number of years, completing a PHD in his science fields, while playing music in all sorts of combinations out there. A group he is in is worth checking out through his facebook page- you can get a listen to his west coast music that way. The Greens have been wanting to do a benefit for CHS for some time, and we thought this holiday season was a good time; we are billing it as the "Little Green Stocking" benefit (in conjunction with our Little Red Stocking campaign during the holiday season) where we raise money for our agency, through the sale of "stockings" at area businesses, which supports our work with area children and families. The Greens are wrapping up a successful 2009, in which they traveled a bit to spread their great sound and live show, and solidified their WV reputation as one of the outstanding bands in the state. Their hardworking performances, and creative musicianship, and Andy's fantastic songwriting continue to win fans, and amaze the loyal throng. Come out and see them next Saturday, and support a good cause.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Invitation to give input into the 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series of CHS of WV-Parkersburg

I am gathering anyone who is interested in having input/ participating in, the planning of the 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series for CHS on Wednesday, December 16th at 6 pm here at our offices (3rd door) and I’ll probably throw in PIZZA too. Please invite anyone else you think might be interested in brainstorming any ideas.



Already on the books is the (5th?) annual Johnny Cash Tribute for February 27th (Sat) at the 6 Pence Pub. I’ll be buying the obligatory 7 inch action figure Johnny Cash soon. (we have to finalize if a certain agency program will be the beneficiary of this event and help with the promotion and event- Mid Town Family Resource Center gets first crack)



The “Whole Lotta Hank” tribute and possible second “Cajun Cookoff”- needs a new venue ( I think we will all agree……) and the time it is held is totally open to input (it does not have to be in April again). I would like to organize a local group to go down to Charleston on January 9th to see how they do a Hank Williams tribute in Charleston, led by John Lilly- I went last year and it’s a classy event.



The Bob Dylan birthday tribute SHOULD be around Bob’s birthday in late May; but there are no certain limits to this event!



The longest standing event: The John Prine Tribute SHOULD be in October- (around the 10th or 11th).



We are having some initial discussions of an outdoor event down at the Rowing Club boat house (by the toll bridge, on the river)



I will want to have some coffee houses at our storefront on St. Mary’s Ave. again this year. I have an offer out to a fellah from the southern part of the state to come in January. And I have been offering Fred Shreve and his Mckinley All Stars a slot sometime before their big whingding in February at the Worthington Golf Club ball room. I figure Mark Stuart (and Stacey Earle) might give me a shout sometime this year, when they would be passing through. I have an invitation out to Jason Wilber (John Prine’s ace guitarist, and fantastic singer songwriter in his own right) to come back this year. I am trying to get some of my musical idols (Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack) (who have a fluid band, DADDY) to stop through on their travels.



I still am trying to formulate MY OWN PERSONAL NEXT concept : a tribute to The Band.



As far as raffles and such: I would like to organize a second annual raffle for tickets to the Americana Music Festival (probably in September in Nashville), and have it extend a little longer in the lead up time. I wouldn’t mind going to the International Folk Alliance festival in Memphis in February, where many of my similarly favorite musicians gather.



Coming back from San Antonio (at a conference there in November) I would like to organize a “dueling pianos” event as a fund raiser sometime in 2010. Ask me about it; but many of you have probably bumped into these at resort towns, etc.



My new years fantasy would entail pooling everybody’s resources and forming a cooperative / collective that could purchase the Boreman Wheel House and run it as a mid Ohio Valley music co-op venue. I am a little dismayed at the venue options for all these ideas.



I’d like to revive the commemorative 2010 series t-shirt if anyone has contacts with shirt makers or potential sponsors for that.



If you can’t come out on the 16th, but want to feed me a stream of consciousness missive, with your own thoughts or reactions, please do. (CHS employees- you should weigh in on which events your programs would like to be involved in for promoting and benefiting from- you don’t need to attend to do this!!!)



I will do some calculating, but I think this whole Americana Series brings in over $5000 for the agency; but I have to admit that I personally have contributed a pretty significant in-kind contribution to make this happen. I don’t mind keep doing this, but additional sponsors or other ideas to cut the expenses would definitely be appreciated)



OH and Vinyl record sales- don’t forget ideas about this wild monstrosity!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Received In Home Family Education community planning grant

I attended a grantee meeting earlier this week, upon receiving notice we were one of 5 county recipients of these planning grants, to allow communities to assess and plan for the implementation of an "in home family education" model program in their communities. We are excited to be working with Team for West Virginia's Children, and the Partners in Community Outreach on this. This is a great state wide group that does so much for the prevention of child abuse, and strengthening families. Stay tuned for more information as we begin implementing this planning grant over the next few weeks.

Little Red Stocking Campaign in full swing

All across the state, CHS sites are getting the word out, and hustling to promote our Little Red Stocking campaign. In our area, staff have distributed lots of stockings to lots of diverse businesses, spreading the word about our work with children and families, and offering the community many ways to support our work and the kids. Early results aren't in yet, so stay tuned for updates. If you are reading this, and in the Parkersburg and surrounding areas, please help us promote this great fundraising effort, and spread some holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More pictures from the Open House!!!!!



Foster Care (new) visitation area Open House


The Parkersburg site of CHS had an unveiling of our new foster care visiting area Monday night. Greg and his wife prepared a great feast of open house food delights, and all the staff pitched in to prepare the room. A pleasant evening of conversation was had by all, and several children "christened" the play area with great enjoyment. We are eager to put this hard earned area to use over the coming weeks.The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has granted us a $2000 grant to pay for the furnishings of this warm and welcoming area.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More reports on the great family night last week

Lisa did report having a great family night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center last week. The Homeland Community Church members brought the meal, served the meal, and participated in the fellowship of the event, attended by over 50 people! This was a great contribution of generosity by the church, and yet another indication of the broad community support and engagement we can count on from the Parkersburg community.

social work ethics training here yesterday

I conducted a modest little training here at the office yesterday for a few social workers for a CEU. We discussed some vignettes and scenarios involving social work ethics and things that folks encounter in their daily work. It received good evaluations and we'll look to provide more of these on into the new year, as part of our site's strategic plan, to provide training and community opportunities for social workers to get together.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Little Red Stocking campaign

The staff of the Parkersburg site is taking a deep breath and getting ready to kick off our Little Red Stocking campaign this week. We will be distributing the stockings to local area businesses and supporters to promote the agency during the holiday season. If you see the stockings on display around town at area businesses, please make a donation for a stocking, to support our work. If you have other businesses ideas please let us know. A good campaign goes a long way in supporting the work we do with area children and families year round. Visit the agency website for the full story about the Little Red Stocking campaign.

Our Foster Care program receives a grant for our visitation area!

Over the weekend we received notification that we are receiving a grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation to furnish our visitation area for our foster care unit. This is exciting news, as we are greatly anticipating this new component of our work in the local community. Now visits for foster children can take place in a comfortable, welcoming, well-appointed area in our office complex. Carna, Ken, and Greg have worked hard to get the foster care unit established in "door number 5" and this will be a great influx of support. We are having an open house and adoption and foster care information session a week from Monday, NOvember 30th so we hope you will stop by and talk to us about foster care and adoption, and see what we have in store for our visiting area.

Family Night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

I was sorry to miss the monthly Family Night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center this week, while traveling. I am eager to hear a report directly from Lisa, but the early reports I had were that it was a great event, supported by a local church, who prepared and served the meal. I hear there was a good turnout, and again, contributes to our rootedness and service to the families in the neighborhood.

National Runaway and Homeless Youth Conference

Earlier in the week last week, I attended a national Runaway and Homeless Youth conference in San Antonio Texas, on behalf of our two RHY programs, the Basic Center and the Transitional Living Program. There were around 500 people from various states who all were gathered to participate in workshops and keynote sessions on the issues around runaway and homeless youth and services to these youth. I attended a session on host home model programs, and ones about the federal monitoring process for grantees. The keynote speakers were all powerful stories and inspiring. I was one of only two folks from West Virginia, Jill Eddy from Youth Services Systems, being the other. We compared notes throughout the conference about things of relevance to West Virginia.

Agency annual meeting

A number of staff from the local site attending the recent Agency 14th annual conference and the annual meeting Thursday evening. The main focus of the annual meeting was honoring Dennis Sutton, the chief executive officer's 25 years of dedicated service. This was a very nice celebration, as well as honoring several staff from the agency with 20 years experience, and two board of directors members who became director's emeritus. Our site had many staff participating in the workshops and activities of the three day conference. On Friday, there is a staff lunch for those attending, and it gives many staff of the agency the opportunity to get together and hear a "state of the agency" address from Dennis, as well as hear from each site some of the highlights of things going on, that further the mission and strategic plan of the agency. This is an inspiring event to get a full picture of all the good work going on across the agency.

Reality Walk yesterday

Parkersburg held a "Reality Walk" yesterday, due to November being National HOmeless and Hungry Awareness Month." A Continuum of Care (for homeless services) group, that CHS participates in, organized the event. It was a walk to several symbolic places in downtown Parkersburg that relate to the plight of homeless people in our town. About 250 people participated, which was an exciting turnout, and indicates both a good community interest in the topic, but the organizers creativity in coming up with a good event. CHS was well represented in the event: Lisa Doyle Parsons has been participating in the Continuum, and contributed to the planning and functioning of the event. Katrina Nelson, a youth worker in our after school program, was one of the featured presenters, giving her powerful story of her own experience of homelessness, and how she has dealt with this in her life. Melissa Jameson, Jim Lopreste, Patty Ralston, and myself, from the staff of the agency participated also. Barrie (our host home) and Scott, (a youth in our transitional living program) also participated. Shelby, a teen volunteer and supporter of our TLP efforts also participated. The Parkersburg News has a front page article about the event in its Sunday paper today. This was a very powerful event for the community, and gives us something to build on in our efforts to raise awareness of youth homelessness and our agency's efforts to develop supports for youth in these circumstances, and youth transitioning to adulthood who need supports.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More on the event last Friday

I have still been reeling a bit from some hectic pace since the fine event last Friday night down at the Art Center. I am leery of doing some thanking quite yet, for fear of missing some folks. Suffice it to say, there were many, many great community supporters that contributed. The individual auction prize donors, the many folks who handcrafted stockings, the organizations that put together great packages, the advisory committee members who enthusiastically participated, and all the staff. We raised (for our part, including some related donations we received) $3371 to support the work of our agency in the Parkersburg community with area children and families. We are eagerly looking forward to a second event next November; stay tuned for information.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fantastic Event last night!

This is only a brief post, with more to come, Monday, but we had a fantastic event last night at the Parkersburg Art Center. The staff did a great job of putting it together, there was a good turnout; the Art Center was pleased, we were pleased. Everyone can feel both a sense of accomplishment (and relief!) now that the first time event has been successfully carried out. Planning is already underway for a 2nd event next year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tonight is the Night!

Lots and lots of preparation has gone into the big event tonight down at the Parkersburg Art Center; a Lead Up to the Little Red Stocking campaign (beginning in a few weeks) tonight is a celebration of Christmas stockings, with a silent auction, a live auction, some holiday music from a school choir, some refreshments, some information about the agency, and a way for the community to support our work. This has been a classic positive example of community engagement, as many, many, many folks have contributed prizes for the auctions, many community members have fashioned Christmas stockings, and many more ways of contributing. The staff has rallied together to distribute the work load among quite a few, and have built up some good comraderie and "team spirit." We hope we'll have a good turnout, and people will be generous with their auction bids, to support our work with area children and families.

Someone mentioned reading the blog!

I have been writing this blog for the Parkersburg site of Children's Home Society of West Virginia for awhile; sort of a discipline to commit to writing down some of the hustle and bustle of what goes on here, and how we try to fulfill the mission of the agency here in Parkersburg in our daily efforts. Yesterday, in a phone conversation, someone mentioned going to our agency's website to see a little about us, and then going to the blog from the agency website. So I get some reminders that these modest little posts are worthwhile, if only to give a little glimpse of (what we feel is!)the good work going on to help children and families in our community.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Month! Visit the "keep and share" calendar!

Its a new month, daylight savings time goes off, and such. Remember to visit the "keep and share" calendar, and add any events for the Parkersburg site that you know of. This is a busy place, and we love for everyone to know what is going on around us all!!! October was a busy month, and lots of good things were going on, and lots of families and children were helped and supported by our agency. Take a deep breath and plunge into another busy month!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Things continue to gear up for next Friday's fund raising event at the Art Center

Staff at the site are still working feverishly to get ready for the event at the Parkersburg Art Center next week. Things are falling into place for the live auction, the silent auction, the refreshments; now we just need to keep getting the word out for folks to come down Friday November 6th at 5:30 to support our cause. We will have many fine acknowledgments by next week, for the many people who put this together, and who contributed.

Steve off to San Antonio Texas in November

Steve will be representing the agency at the national runaway and homeless youth conference in Texas on November 16-19; just prior to our own agency annual conference and meeting. He will return to Charleston just in time for the annual meeting and Friday's sessions of the conference.

Site Wide "communications and information sharing" meeting scheduled for November 11 at 10 am

Shelley has announced a site wide staff meeting for Wednesday November 11th at 10 am. All site staff are invited to talk about communication processes at the site, and cross-program sharing and efforts. This is a great opportunity for all staff, especially as we head into the hectic holiday season.

Foster placement!

The McKown's got two young kids into their foster home this week. Ken has been out to see them several times. We are excited for the McKown's and eager to hear how things get started for them.

Friday Fright Night! Mid Town Family Resource Center

Tonight there is a movie here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center for teens ages 13-20, as part of our on-going "drop in center" for the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs' efforts to provide positive youth activities for at risk youth, neighborhood youth, and youth generally involved in our site. The time is 6 pm to 8 pm, and the movie is "The Haunting in Connecticut" there will be snacks, too. There has been a movie night for awhile, so its always intriguing to find out what kind of turnout they have!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

WVU-P Student Government meeting

Shauna Davis and I attended the WVU-P student government meeting to tell about Children's Home Society and ways the community can be involved. This group is already aware of us, through the efforts of our mentoring program staff, and last year's Little Red Stocking campaign. So this seemed a worthwhile effort.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lisa Doyle Parsons and I return from PA and the MANY conference

LIsa and I represented the agency at the annual Mid Atlantic Network for Youth (and family services) conference in Bedford Springs this week. This is a gathering of (mostly) Runaway and Homeless Youth grantees in the region (PA, MD, VA, WV, DE, and Washington DC) who gather for workshops of relevance to our work with the target population, and for workshops on non profit agency management. There is a wealth of knowledge about trends in the field, and best practice, and models for youth agencies of all levels of experience. It is a time of networking and "getting away" from the office, that is very positive and successful over the years.

New Foster Care Aide

A new foster care aide is scheduled to begin work next week; we will have a more formal introduction to him next week!

Ashley and Missy take part in the Combined Federal Campaign Agency Fair

For a number of years, staff of the local site have participated in the Combined Federal Campaign's agency fair in downtown Parkersburg. Local federal employees, who can donate to charitable organizations get to see displays of local agencies, and talk to staff and volunteers of local agencies about their services, and needs. Ashley and Missy are active in seeking mentors for their programs, and are more than willing to spread the enthusiastic word about all the services and programs at our site, and our mission and values.

Monday speaking to students at WVU-P

One of our parents in the after school program has asked us to come speak to some students out at the college Monday about all the different things the agency does here in the Parkersburg area, to help with community awareness and to further explore ways they can assist us.

site staff busy with preparation for our November 6th event

The site staff are really hustling and pulling together to get ready for our event on November 6th. This is a fund raising event in conjunction with the Parkersburg Art Center, in which we have been gathering Christmas stockings of all kinds, and prize packages for those stockings to have a silent and live auction. This idea was originally conceived as a "lead up" to the agency wide Little Red Stocking campaign (which will begin later in November until Christmas) and has blossomed into a fun engagement of the Parkersburg community. Many staff have been working very hard on soliciting donations of stockings, and prizes, and now it is "crunch time" with the last two weeks preparation details, working hard with Abby Hayhurst of the Art Center to make the event a fun and fund raising success. Keep looking for details over the next two weeks!!!!!

Parkersburg Area Community Foundation

Marian Clowes, from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation visited us last week. She was proposing giving our agency a grant to purchase shoes for children in our programs, from a generous family fund within their foundation. The children of a long time shoe store owner in Parkersburg have started the fund, and want to use funds to help bring shoes to children in the community who are in need, much as their father did for years when he had a shoe store. The employees of Suddenlink have had some fund raisers this year, the proceeds for which go into this fund. We will be announcing the details of it shortly.

Lights on Afterschool Day

We had a fun event last evening in celebration of national "lights on afterschool" day- where groups all over the country recognize the value and role of after school programs for children and families. Over 7500 nationally, and over 50 groups in WV participated. We had a slide show of pictures from the after school program and the various activities of the Mid Town Family Resource Center, that Lisa Weaver put together as the highlight. Some parents made remarks concerning the appreciation they have for the after school program. A few youth spoke, too. We were very glad to have some of our key partners, the 4-H and the Girl Scouts there, too. We had one house of delegates member, Tom Azinger come to show his interest and support. And one of our local foundation supports, Tres Ross of the Ross Foundation came too. It was a fun mix of ages and people who have been involved for awhile and recently. The pizza was a hit as usual, and the pre-Halloween festivities were fun. Look for a story in the local Parkersburg News and Sentinel this weekend! We hope they publish one!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Entering a busy phase!

We are entering a busy season for the Parkersburg site of CHS. We have a "Lights on Afterschool" day coming up, our Make it Right for Kids November 6th event at the Art Center, the agency's annual conference in November, our information and recruitment session for adoption and foster care at the end of November (and hopefully, a grand opening of our visitation center!) Our WE CAN program is busily getting established, and our Runaway and Homeless Youth programs are in high gear. We are seeking a foster care aide, and will be doing some interviewing this week.

Departure of long time employee

We note the departure of Deb Murphy from our site this week. Deb had begun work with the agency in the truancy diversion program, and provided leadership in that program during its successful run in the early part of the decade. She then developed the early childhood programming at the site, leading it to be a vibrant and effective service for the region. Deb is moving on to work in the family business. We will be working to transition the leadership of the early childhood programs to maintain the level of quality of service that is the agency standard.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to the MANY conference Sunday

I think this will be my 4th MANY conference in a row, coming up starting Sunday in Pennsylvania. Lisa Doyle Parsons and I are going this year, with our runaway and homeless youth programs underway, we'll undoubtedly benefit immensely from the group assembled, as well as the workshops. I'll be giving a report back early next week!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walk for Children

The agency's Walk for Children (spearheaded by the Summersville site) is winding up today with the last leg on into Charleston. They walked (I think) 65 miles over 3 days, to raise awareness about our work with children and families. They got some great radio coverage in their part of the state. I plan to go down for the ceremony at the end of the walk at the Capitol. Every year it comes the same weekend as the John Prine tribute (now in its 7th year) so I cannot focus my attention on participating more fully. Last year I walked the last stretch from the main office to the Capitol with the dedicated walkers. I'm sure there will be good coverage on the agency's website of the event, so you can check there: www.childhswv.org

John Prine Birthday Tribute benefit

We had a great time last night at the 7th annual John Prine Birthday tribute, which is a benefit for our local site's work with area children and families. 8 musicians performed for almost 5 hours of music, celebrating the great songwriting and performing of John Prine. It was a pretty big crowd and lots of enthusiasm. There were some fun prizes and winners. There was very good comraderie among the supporters of our local site. This is (probably?) the last event this year, in the 2009 Americana Music Tribute series, but I may squeeze in some more coffee houses. There is still hope that the Greens will be organizing a big live music event for which we would receive the proceeds in December, but I am awaiting finalization of this. Thanks to all the great musicians who performed, to the staff who came out, to the "sound guys" who work awfully hard to make this work, and to Kim and the staff at 6 Pence Pub for hosting us. I hope someone will circulate some pictures, for a follow up post, but if not, you can be assured a "great time was had by all." We raised $622.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Benefit tomorrow night

The 7th annual Benefit, which is called the John Prine Birthday Tribute, will be held tomorrow night at 6 Pence Pub here in Parkersburg, starting at 9 pm. A $5 donation is collected, to support the work of CHS in the Parkersburg area. Local musicians are all geared up to perform, donating their time for this cause. They show a lot of enthusiasm to participate, rehearsing their songs for weeks, working on set lists that they think will be unique and tailored to the show. I try to work up some between sets contests or stories, and we are always seeking little side fund raisers, like 50-50 drawings to liven things up. I make some great connections both in the community and across the country from these Americana Music Tribute shows that we put on throughout the year, and over the years. This year a woman from Wisconsin contacted me, through John PRine's fan website, (www.jpshrine.org) and donated some very nice jewelry she makes, all on the theme of John PRine lyrics. This was an exciting morale boost, to be contact from across the country by a fellow John Prine fan. I have also struck up a connection with John Prine's great sideman, guitarist, and singer-songwriter in his own right, Jason Wilber. He has come to do a house concert/ coffee house for us here in Parkersburg. Several of the musicians tomorrow night will be telling stories about encounters with John Prine and people connected to him. I'll be giving a report following this guaranteed to be fun event.

Glasser Group (as we are regularly calling it now)

Last night we re-convened what we try to have as our monthly group, using William Glasser's concepts and work to help guide a group of folks gathered to improve their lives, relationships, choice-making. This was a good size group last night, and we discussed the differences between "external control" and choice theory. There was a page of contrasting approaches to different ways of interacting or conducting one's life. The participants reflected on different sets of contrasting approaches, and how they see them in their lives, and what the different impacts they tend to have. This was a good mix of youth and adults, and (hopefully) everyone got something out of it, and felt listened to, and taken into account.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thanks to all those who helped out with the Shine N Dine

First and foremost, thanks to Lisa Doyle Parsons for all her organizing efforts for the fund raiser for our Runaway and Homeless Youth programs. And for her creativity and enthusiasm. Shelter staff, most notably: Melvin, Noah, and Izzy, and Matt and Phil for playing in the band. The other staff who brought the kids, and the shelter youth for helping serve the food. The community office staff: Lisa, Shelley, Ashley for pitching in with the event. And the youth volunteers: Shelby, Randi, Adam, Luke, Charlie. This was a team effort which Lisa appreciated greatly. Thanks to all the folks who came out to get a car wash, eat some great food, listen to some music, all on a fantastic fall day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cookie Glasser visits our site

We had a fantastic visit from a board member of CHS on Friday. Cookie Glasser spent a considerable amount of time, really finding out about our site's programs, and our community engagement. She took the time to meet many staff members, and shared personal experiences about the agency, and her own career. This was a very uplifting experience for us, and bolstered us, on an otherwise, tired and exhausted Friday, from a busy week of fulfilling our mission!

Shine N Dine - great fun- if exhausting......

We pulled off this new multi-faceted event yesterday with great fall weather making it very memorable. The car washing went on steadily throughout the afternoon with Shelby and Randi doing main work, and many others helping out. Melvin DID man the grill, and had some help in the food department by several other agency staff. The music was steady and solid throughout the afternoon, with 4 musical acts donating their time to put on some intense performances. Reign of Ash, Troika, Severed Chains and (we consider him "our own") Nick Barry. It got a little raccous at times, but it kept the spirit of the event going. There were a hard working core of staff members and volunteers that made it all work; led by Lisa Doyle Parsons. The event made a little over $300, as we sort out a few expenses, and such. We hope it raised awareness of our runaway and homeless youth programs, and brought some loyal supporters out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Take a Flower to Child Care Day

October 20, is this year's Take a Flower to Child Care Day across West Virginia. Organized by the KIDS COUNT statewide, they encourage those in local communities to recognize child care providers by honoring them for their work with our precious children. Last year we were heavily involved in the planning of this day locally, this year we will see what other interest and commitment there is in the community to celebrate this fun day.

Glasser Group- next session October 8th

We have gone a few extra weeks since our last support group (based on the work of William Glasser). The next session is next Thursday, October 8th at 6 pm here at the 3rd door down of the Mid Town Family Resource Center. We have held these groups with a intriguing array of attendees, and are still considering it in the formative stage.
We try to cover on of Glasser's concepts each week with an activity and discussion. This allows people to come in at any part of the group's meeting sequence, and allows us to further explore the combination of attendees, and how they can get the most out of it.

Shao Lin classes at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

Based on his participation this summer in a career day, Jason Knapp has volunteered to come two times a month to teach Shao Lin classes here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. We have had two sessions so far, and it is creating a positive stir around here; with an interesting mix of people showing interest. This is a generous offering by Jason, and we will see what becomes of it, as we continue to seek ways to provide opportunities for various ages of neighborhood youth and families.

WVU-P Vendor Fair this past Wednesday

Ashley and Missy attended a fair at WVU-P this Wednesday, where various community groups were connecting with the college community, to show what was available as far as volunteering opportunities and similar purposes. Ashley reports this was a great "recruiting" opportunity, in that many expressed interest in helping our agency's work with area children and families. We are proud we give people so many different ways to help us!! This was a great example of community engagement!

Judge Gustke's funeral

The funeral for Judge Gustke was held Wednesday evening at Leavitt's in downtown Parkersburg. Many dignitaries gave brief remarks, focusing on the Judge's legacy as a thorough judge who cared for the people that came before him, and for the role he played. Many mentioned the particular care he had for the young people in the juvenile system. Two speakers were people who had, in their childhood, come before the judge, and how he showed his commitment and concern for each case, and particularly "went to bat" for young people. This was a powerful celebration of his legacy, and we think his family was pleased with the outpouring of sentiment. The agency was designated to receive gifts in memory of the Judge, and for this we are very deeply appreciative.

Board Member of CHS visiting today

We always enjoy the visits from the CHS board members to our site. The agency really promotes these dedicated folks getting around to the sites, to see the agency at work. We like to share our excitement at the agency's mission, and how we put it into play here at our site.

Shine and Dine- the music's fine- revisited

Tomorrow, October 3rd, is the re-scheduled date for the Shine and Dine fundraiser for the RHY programs. Noon to 4 pm, will find Parkersburg with a sunny fall day, great for a Saturday of car washing, grilling, and live local musical talent. (I am writing this optimistically on Friday when it is rainy and dreary). Lisa and the rest of the crew have been organizing like crazy for this new, innovative event. We'll be eager to report on it after tomorrow!

Lights On After School National Day - Oct 22

Thursday, October 22nd, we will be participating in a national day of awareness for the value and importance of quality after school care for America's children. All over the country groups will be acknowledging this day, and trying to raise awareness of how communities and government entities could further support after school programs. We will be giving more details closer to the time, but will be tying it in to our monthly Family Night here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center.

John Prine Tribute - a week (and a day!) away!!!!!

The 7th annual John Prine (Birthday) Tribute show, as a benefit for Children's Home Society of WV-Parkersburg is a week (and a day) away. This year's show is at 6 Pence Pub on 7th St. Local musicians play sets of songs by John Prine. There are contests and prizes throughout the evening. We ask a $5 donation. I have a good group of musicians lined up (who all donate their time). We have the musical tribute shows throughout the year, under the umbrella of the "Americana Music Series" but this is the grandaddy of them, because John Prine has always been my favorite singer songwriter. We started doing these as "low risk" fund raisers, and just because of my love for live music, and getting people together around music. They've really become a "community" in and of themselves, with many musicians participating in all of the events, and looking eagerly forward to the next, and sharing fun stories of the past events. Check out my other blog: stevetuck.blogspot.com which focuses more on the music side interests, for more details about the Prine Tribute, and future ideas.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vet's Group back to meeting at our office

We host (on the last Tuesday of the month) a Vet's group dealing with traumatic brain injury, and post traumatic stress. They feel comfortable in our community room, and though we don't really have anything to do with the group, we are proud to host them, with this critical need they are attempting to meet.

Judge Gustke's funeral

Wednesday evening 6 pm will be Judge Gustke's funeral here in Parkersburg. I was asked to see if I could find a young person who had been helped by Judge Gustke in the course of their adolescence, and see if they would be willing to speak at the funeral. Greg Nicholson has agreed to do this. Greg was a resident of the shelter some years ago, and through the juvenile court. He is employed at Big Sandy Furniture store, and has a family, and has some interest in entering the youth work field. I am very pleased and honored that he was willing to participate in the funeral service. I'll let you know how it goes.

Newspaper story about Judge Gustke's death

PARKERSBURG - Longtime Wood County Judge Arthur N. Gustke died Sunday at his residence at the age of 80.

A Parkersburg native, Gustke served on the 4th Judicial Circuit Court in Wood County for 18 years, including serving as chief judge twice.

During his judgeship, he had a passion for improving the lives of troubled youth, which resulted in him receiving many awards and distinctions, one of which was having the Arthur N. Gustke Shelter for Youth named in his honor.

He also was the first recipient of the Nicely Award in 1994, received the Distinguished Service Award in 1962, Citizen of the Year Award for Wood County in 1979, and the West Virginia University Emeritus Award.

He was a United States Army Signal Corps veteran and a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. He graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1946, West Virginia University in 1953, and West Virginia University College of Law in 1956. He was an avid fan of Parkersburg High School football and West Virginia University football and basketball. He played football for both schools. He was on the Board of the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Foundation and Wood County Commission on Crime, Delinquency and Corrections.

Funeral services will be 6 p.m. Wednesday at Leavitt Funeral Home in Parkersburg, with Pastor Beth Pyles officiating. Visitation will be Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane said Sunday he was sorry to hear the news of Gustke's death.

He said Gustke was a big encouragement personally for him when Beane took office as judge in 2007. Despite retiring in 1992, Gustke remained active in Wood County's circuit court system and served many times as a substitute judge filling in for absent judges over the years.

Even before becoming a judge, Beane worked with Gustke many times over the years when he appeared as an attorney in his courtroom.

"As an attorney, it was a pleasure to practice law in front of him. He was dedicated and took his time," Beane said.

Local attorney Walt Auvil said the dedication Gustke had to juvenile issues was great and he believes the judge had a deep impact on the local community.

"He always had their best interests at heart and tried to make the system work for them," Auvil said.

Charleston resident Harry Deitzler, a former Parkersburg attorney and Wood County Prosecutor, remembers Gustke well.

"First, he was a dear friend, a mentor and a wonderful teacher," Deitzler said Sunday night.

Gustke cared about his work and the people for whom he made decisions about their lives, he said, particularly when he was the juvenile court judge for Wood County. The judge would work long hours on those types of cases, Deitzler said. The judge thought everyone had to work together to help juveniles, from the courts and schools to other support services.

"When it came to juveniles and making sure they were taken care of properly, he was an immovable object," Deitzler said. "He also had a great sense of humor, though."

Wood County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Reed, who succeeded Gustke after the judge retired in December 1992, said Gustke was someone many people around the community respected.

"I thought he was a great judge," Reed said Sunday night.

There are a number of practices at the Wood County Circuit Court judges still do today that originated with Gustke, including starting trials on Tuesdays to allow the court personnel to call potential jurors on Monday to make sure they can make it to court the following day, as well as having certain hearings at certain times.

"There were so many things he did that we still do," Reed said. "We do them because they work.

"I still use the same jury instructions he used."

Gustke spent a lot of time working on juvenile cases, looking at each case to make sure the right plan of action was carried out for the juvenile in question, Reed said. Gustke's work with juveniles led to the naming of the Gustke Shelter in his honor.

"There is so much that can be said about the man," Reed said. "He was known statewide."

Before becoming a judge himself, Reed served as a defense attorney and as Wood County Prosecutor with many cases before Gustke and always had a lot of respect for the man. Reed said there were a lot of things he picked up from Gustke that has helped him in his own career.

"He was a good man," he said. "He really cared about being a judge."

Although Reed has worked with many good judges over his career, he said he always thinks of Gustke as the one who he still thinks of in how a judge conducts a court, because of all the time he spent in Gustke's court presenting cases.

"I still think of him as the experienced judge," Reed said. "The community has lost a pillar."

Wood County Circuit Judge Robert Waters had known Gustke professionally since 1979, having worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney on over 50 trials before the judge.

Waters said Gustke was well respected by his fellow judges around the state and by the state Supreme Court. Gustke was a past president of the state's judicial association and had taught many programs to judges around the state.

"He was an outstanding judge and one of the most respected judges in West Virginia," Waters said Sunday night. "He was a good friend to me and the people of this community.

"I consider him a friend and a mentor."

Waters learned a lot about trying cases, trial procedure and the rules of evidence from Gustke. He said Gustke was known as a hard worker, holding hearings until 7 p.m. or so.

"He was known for diligently working on cases," Waters said, adding in recent years he had been called back to help at the circuit court when a sitting judge was out and was called back as a special judge on many cases.

One of Gustke's most enduring legacies was the work he did for troubled juveniles in providing them with safe places to go, which led to the Gustke Shelter being named after him.

"He worked diligently and tirelessly to provide services for young people in this community," Waters said. "He was always trying to improve the conditions for them.

"I think that was his greatest legacy."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

another heavy heart

I follow my last post, which reported the death of a dear friend of CHS, with yet another. I heard this morning that Judge Arthur N. Gustke died this morning. The Judge, who our shelter is named after, was a long time supporter and advocate of the agency. I will be writing more about his legacy over the next few days. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Gustke family today.

with heavy heart

This post is a difficult one for me to write. I realize I am usually just writing off the top of my head, and keeping it pretty light. This post is to acknowledge the death of a dear friend of the CHS-Parkersburg site, Missy Jones. Missy died this last week at age 43. She worked with us in several capacities around the turn of the millenium (meaning late 1990's and early 2000's). She was here when many of the most formative values and roots in the neighborhood work we do were formed. She has a huge stamp on our commitment and spirit in working with the families in this neighborhood. She was a warm caring person, who knew a huge number of people around Parkersburg. She was a fun-loving fellow worker to many, and her passing is causing a ripple effect of sadness in the community.
Missy helped get our neighborhood work with children off the ground, with a great enthusiasm and spirit. She and I did all the crazy projects in the early years: the neighborhood garden, (everybody said would be vandalized!!!) the Tinkers computer recycling project, the neighborhood oral history project; the first efforts at implementing William Glasser's work into our youth work (a drug prevention curriculum) and slumber parties for the neighborhood kids, holiday parties, and on and on. As she went on to other caring roles with Head Start, schools, playgrounds, etc. we always kept in touch about individual kids and all the good things going on in the community. She was a great role model at setting goals of education attainment and compassion and a "lifter of spirits."
I ache for her fine four children, all of whom I have watch grow up, and many paralleled my own children's various "rites of passages." (graduations, etc.) They all interconnect with our agency's work in the community in their own ways.
I will be digging through our picture archives, as Missy is a strong presence in our local site history, and her spirit will shine through in these pictures; if tinged with such sadness and regret for her early passing.
Her funeral Saturday was an awesome tribute to the lives she touched. I saw many young people who I know were grieving in numbness, but could solidly say, she had touched their lives in a powerful way.
We will be looking for ways to memorialize her life and contribution here at the Parkersburg site of CHS over the next weeks.

A picture of me in high school playing poker with friends

AAHHH, the genius of modern internet communicating. A friend from high school has sent me this picture of us playing poker while in high school. Check out the side burns, and guess what year's hair style that might have been in the great Midwest.



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Emergency Shelter Provider Network conference

Brooke Heck and Denise Hughes attended the 4th annual Emergency shelter provider network conference this week at Oglebay Park in Wheeling. This was a gathering of 60 some folks from most of the shelters in the state, for parts of three days of workshops on topics of importance and relevance to the work of shelters in WV. The planners and organizers felt it went very well, with some great presenters, good participation from the shelter staff, and good linking/ bonding among the shelter providers. Janet Craig does a great job of conference organizing, and the "ESPN" leadership will undoubtedly feel bolstered by this event to continue on with our efforts to improve shelter services, and further our collective voice and impact in the WV system of care.

shine n dine rained out

Lisa (in hindsight, wisely) postponed the shine n dine event that was scheduled for today, and we have had a very rainy Saturday here in Parkersburg. She has re-scheduled it for next Saturday. A Parkersburg News reporter showed up, so that was an encouraging sign, that this event captured their imagination! Lisa will have to work hard to get the new publicity going over the next week, but all the volunteers are still committed!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shine and Dine, the Music's fine

This Saturday, Lisa is organizing a big parking lot event- a combination car wash, meal, and live music. This event will benefit the runaway and homeless youth programs at the site. She has been hustling to make this first time event a success. It starts at noon and goes till 4 pm. She can use help with the car wash, the food distributing, and supporters to come out and have a good all around time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

picture from Neighborhood Day

Lisa's version of the Neighborhood Day summary

NEIGHBORHOOD DAY 2009

The fourth annual Neighborhood Day celebration, sponsored by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, was held on Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 12-4:00 p.m. in the agency’s parking lot at 1739 St. Mary’s Ave., Parkersburg. The event provided opportunities for families in the surrounding neighborhood to come together; neighbors to meet neighbors and to build a stronger community. The Neighborhood Day celebration is the yearly kick-off in a series of family-focused events that Children’s Home Society hosts in its continuing efforts to strengthen families in our community and to keep children safe. Activities at this year’s event included Bingo, cake-walks, carnival-type games, free refreshments, and a slide from Mountaineer Inflatables.
Information about the various programs offered by Children’s Home Society, and other community agencies were available for participants. Other agencies represented were Urban Ministries, the WV Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening Program, the U.S. Marine Corps, RAZE, the Gabriel Project, St. Andrews Methodist Church, 4-H, Girl Scouts, Mountain State College and the CHAFFEE Independent Living Program. A survey was distributed among those attending to obtain information about stressors families face in this neighborhood and their interest in attending parent groups related to those stressors.
Some projects of the agency’s Summer Youth Program were displayed on a new picnic table donated this week by students at Mountain State College. The table was dedicated to the memory of Sandra Greathouse, an employee of the Senior Community Service Employment Program who had been working at Children’s Home Society for several months prior to her passing this summer.
The winners of the Creative Expressions contest held in conjunction with Neighborhood Day, were announced in the following categories: Sydney Lee, 3rd – 5th grade; Stephanie DeCoursey, 6th – 8th grade; Josh Snider, 9th- 12th grade and Heather Cooper, adult.
Children’s Home Society greatly appreciates the support from the many local businesses who contributed towards this event by donating items for door prizes and food items. Appreciation is also extended to McKinley Elementary School for the use of their tables and chairs as well as the Naval Jr. R.O.T.C. cadets from Parkersburg High School who ran the games, prepared and served food and assisted in clean-up afterwards.
An estimated 175 - 200 people attended this Partners in Prevention project. Funding was provided by grants from Prevent Child Abuse WV in cooperation from the Benedum Foundation, the WVDHHR and the WV Children’s Trust Fund.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our 4th annual Neighborhood Day

Our Neighborhood Day held yesterday, Saturday, September 19th was a great success. I will not be able to do justice to a full report, and hope Lisa and Shauna will be able to round out the details over the next few days. We have lots of people to thank and acknowledge. I'll just give this initial report to say we think it went off very well; we estimate between 150-200 people were present for the fun and games, and chance to celebrate the neighborhood and our support of the neighborhood families. There were games and little prizes, food, informational booths and an inflatable slide. The staff involved worked really hard to make this a success and were rightfully tired by the end of the afternoon. The NJROTC cadets who have volunteered all the years, are such a great group, and provide such a morale boost, as they pitch in so willingly to do all the carnival games and tasks. I hope to be able to post some pictures over the next few days.

Friday, September 18, 2009

good Family Night last night

The families that came last night really seemed to appreciate the warm, supportive, meal and catching up and meeting new people. There were probably about 30 people here, and it was a bustling hive of children playing games and enjoying themselves, and parents getting to talk and get updated on goings-on. Thanks to Lisa and Shauna and Katrina for putting it together, amidst the daily work of the after school program, and getting ready for the Neighborhood Day this Saturday.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Family Night of the school year at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

Tonight is the first family night here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center for the school year just started. The after school program is off to a great start; with some new students, (and families!) and the new staff "learning the ropes." Once a month we have a meal for the families and have a supportive program for the parents, and some activities for the children. Tonight's program is just an introduction to the Family Resource Center, and all that CHS has, and things we are connected to, for the families, in our goal and mission to support families and help reduce their stressors. The meal is sandwiches and pasta salad, and from what I hear, maybe even ice cream sundaes! This is coming packed in with preparation for Saturday's 4th annual Neighborhood Day celebration in our parking lot. We got a wild shipment from the Mountaineer Food Bank today of bread products, pastries, hoping these would be helpful to the cakewalk on Saturday, but its a LOT of donuts and such. F-H club is just finishing up now, and things will shift gears quickly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Announcement about statewide meetings about transportation

Transportation is always identified as a major gap/ barrier to services to children and families in West Virginia. Here are some upcoming caucuses in October where citizens will get a chance to voice their issues, and hear others.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Transportation is an essential part of any health, education, employment, transition or community living program. Currently only 33 counties have any sort of public transit and most is limited to specific program participants. The time to improve transportation in West Virginia is NOW!

Gateways is hosting a series of Transportation Caucuses across West Virginia to provide information and create a plan to encourage the most efficient and effective use of transportation resources in our state to serve the greatest number of people. If you are a transportation user, provider, funder or advocate, please register to attend the Caucus in your area. For more information, visit the website at www.ridein55.com or contact Daria Jones at djones2@hsc.wvu.edu

Dates and Locations:
Martinsburg, WV October 19, 2009 Holiday Inn
Wheeling, WV October 21, 2009 WesBanco Arena
Clarksburg, WV October 23, 2009 Bridgeport Conference Center
Huntington, WV October 27, 2009 Big Sandy Superstore Arena
Beckley, WV October 28, 2009 Beckley-Raleigh Co Convention Center


Todd Walters
Gateways Communications Planning Coordinator
Center for Excellence in Disabilities
West Virginia University
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
959 Hartman Run Road
P.O. Box 6870
Morgantown WV 26505
(304) 293-4692 ext. 1146
(304) 293-7294 (fax)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Foster care aide

Sally Berry will be joining our foster care team this week. As she learns the program, she will assist with transporation needs of the children, supervising visits, and assisting with documentation, files, and recruitment. She comes at a time of exciting renovations to create a visitation area, and improved work space for the full and growing foster care program.

Announcing our new Runaway and Homeless Youth staff

Chris Hemingway, a long time youth care worker at the Shelter, will be moving over to the community office to fill the position of case manager in the Runaway and Homeless Youth Basic Center program at the end of the month. He will be joining Jim Lopreste in this portion of our RHY programs, as Lisa Doyle Parsons moved over to the Transitional Living Program. Jim has had some busy work the last two weeks, as cases and referrals to the Basic Center program are coming in.

First Family Night of the new school year

Our after school program at McKinley is off to a busy start, and this week we host our first Family Night, on Thursday, the 17th. We have a meal for the neighborhood families, and a program for the parents, and activities for the kids. This month's program is just an intro to what CHS does, and what some upcoming opportunities are. The calendar for the neighborhood family resource center is alive with activities! Neighborhood Day is this Saturday, too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Updated version of P-burg Site of CHS strategic plan 2009

Children’s Home Society of WV / Parkersburg
Child & Family Services and Arthur N. Gustke Child Shelter
Strategic Planning 2009

Targets / Goals

 Improve the outward appearance of the 1739 St. Mary’s Ave property (painting, lights, trim, signage, etc). [Painting and trim work completed 7/09; electrician consulted]
 Establish a network server for the computer system. [installed 3/18/09] Establish a technology resource person for all printing, copying, and networking issues. [Technology resource person started 8/09]
 Stabilize the budget for the umbrella of services provided through the Mid-Town Family Resource Center. [Goal to be met by Spring 2010 due to PIP Innovation Grant ending]
 Serve 15 (hopefully 20) children and youth in the foster care program by June 2009. [goal met] New Goal: Serve 30 children and youth in the foster care program by June 2010.
 Enhance and solidify the management of our volunteer base. [WE CAN Program Coordinator hired 9/1/09 who will manage ALL volunteers].
 Involve foster parents more in the overall development and marketing of the site (i.e., advisory committee participation, fund raising efforts, public awareness and outreach efforts). [Progress being made toward goal]
 Initiate a mentoring program (WE CAN, Mentoring Children of Prisoners, mentoring youth aging out of foster care, and/or building on the mentoring services currently offered through the Mid-Town Family Resource Center). [agency-wide WE CAN grant submitted] [Four sites received funding, including Parkersburg. Program started 9/1/09].

Community Involvement / Collaborative Roles

 Continue momentum toward recruitment of “families” to help further the mission (i.e., adoptive families, foster families, host homes for our two RHY programs, emergency foster homes, respite homes, family mentor, etc).[Progress being made toward goal]
 Continue our community wide focus on being an agency known for positive youth development, youth empowerment, and youth leadership and involvement (particularly through the RHY programs and the Mid-Town Family Resource Center). Conduct outreach activities in these areas. [Recent examples include: Summer Youth Program, RHY movie and game nights]
 Provide CEU trainings for the agency and the community (i.e., Social Work, Nursing). [9/9/09 – Social Work Ethics course scheduled at CFS office].
 Re-initiate the CPS – community dialogues begun in 1/08. Extend dialogues to include Youth Services. *CEU events.
 Convene a local foster care provider agencies forum.
 Continue with efforts to provide a safe “drop-in center” for older neighborhood youth. [In development through RHY programs]

Major Facility Changes

 Re-locate foster care and adoption programs to a larger space. Develop an Adoption Resource Center and a Visitation Center. [Progress being made toward goal. Target completion date: 10/1/09]
 Renovate 1611 Latrobe St., or a similar setting, in order to pursue development of Independent Living and Transitional Living Services.

Program and Site Specific Initiatives

 Pursue Child Placing license for Independent Living services. [Goal met]
 Continue efforts to expand shelter licensing to a 10 bed capacity.
 Continue to evaluate programs and positions as to their viability for ‘paying their own way’ (particularly Birth to Three programming).
 Provide leadership concerning the provision of RFTS and Birth to Three Services.
 Promote funding for the expansion and reorganization of the Truancy Diversion Program and expansion of services to homeless children eligible under the McKinney Vento Act.
 Provide Shaken Baby Syndrome sessions (RFTS and Partners in Prevention). [Sessions were held Spring 2009]
 Initiate father involvement / support sessions through RFTS and the Mid Town Family Resource Center. [started 3/26/09 - 6 sessions in series - concluded 4/23/09]
 Participate in local, regional, and state Drop Out Prevention Summits. [Goal met 7/09]
 Develop our skills and delivery of life skills training to a wide variety of potential clients (i.e., transitioning youth, young parents, neighborhood families, those from day report and similar external programs).
 Initiate support groups, using William Glasser’s approach and material, across the site’s various programs. [Sessions held 6/24/09, 7/23/09, 8/20/09 – future sessions to be scheduled]
 Continue to seek ways to meet after school needs of neighborhood youth in middle school and possibly high school (i.e., homework help). This would build upon our current focus of elementary aged youth. [Explorations grant received and implemented Summer 2009, which provided for Summer Youth Program] [Additional Department of Education grant received to provide after school tutoring to ANG youth, and possibly neighborhood youth]
 Explore reviving the Mid Town Tinkers computer recycling/refurbishing/re-use project. [Out building provided to allow for storage of computer parts]
 Coordinate the clothing closets of the Child & Family Services Site and the shelter. [Various programs are aware of clothing options]


Calendar of Events

 Hold quarterly site-wide staff meetings to promote information sharing across programs and exposure to trends in various site programs; be able to convey information widely (i.e., safety committee information, human resources information). [Meetings held 1/09, 4/09, 9/09. Future meetings to be scheduled]
 Host a minimum of four foster care / adoption information sessions annually. [1st session held 2/3/09, 2nd session held 5/16/09, future sessions to be scheduled]
 Participate in “months” activities such as Child Abuse Prevention month (April), National Foster Care month (May), National Adoption month (November). [April and May events held, November event to be scheduled].
 Hold 4th annual Neighborhood Day “carnival” in September (a creative expressions contest will be added this year). [scheduled 9/19/09]
 Continue the Americana Music Tribute series fund raising events. [5 events held, next event scheduled 10/10/09 – 7th annual John Prine Tribute]
 Continue to hold vinyl records sales. [2 events held, 1 more likely to be scheduled]
 Hold a youth oriented outdoor music event (youth musicians). Pursue a local music compilation CD.
 Hold a car wash (or series) at the shelter parking lot as a fund raiser. [Event scheduled 9/26/09 in CFS parking lot to benefit RHY programs]
 Explore holding a parking lot sale at both site locations. [Event held 8/7/09 at CFS site]
 Hold an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the shelter and the 10th anniversary of the Child & Family Services site in February 2009. [completed 2/27/09]
 Little Red Stocking / Holiday kick off event scheduled at Parkersburg Art Center 11/6/09. Titled: ‘Make it Right for Kids’ Night

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nikki Staats back in the swing of things

I might have mentioned that Nikki Staats, our homeless student liaison with Wood County schools is back on the job (she has two months off in the summer, based on her contract with Wood County schools). She is already hard at work helping families who are experiencing homelessness and their children are students with Wood County schools. She advocates and provides assistance in many varied and flexible ways. She is pleased to be working with the county's new attendance director, Chris Rutherford. Deb Murphy has also had some conversations with Chris about opportunities to work together between the schools and a social service agency.

Shine N Dine!!! The Music's Fine!

Lisa Doyle Parsons is busily preparing a fund raiser for the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs at our site. Saturday, September 26, from noon to 4 pm, there will be combination car wash, meal and live music going on in our parking lot at 1739 St. Mary's Ave. Some local musicians are being lined up in keeping with our other efforts to combine our support of live local music, with fundraising. She also is highlighting "Melvin Mans the Grill"- in honor of Melvin Stubbs, shift supervisor at the Gustke shelter, who will be doing some grilling. If you are in the area, stop on by and see what the buzz is all about.

McKinley school after school program off to a good start!

Lisa reports a good start to the school year over at McKinley. By MOnday (after a partial week last week) there were 22 kids. Our new staff are quickly learning the ropes. Lots of creative energy is going into planning the daily and weekly activities. Cindy Howerton, with the state DHHR, who monitors our setting, came by yesterday.

Site Wide quarterly meeting: communications and strategic planning- tomorrow

Thursday, September 3rd we are having a site wide meeting at 10 am in the suite # 3.
Since our meeting in April 2009, a lot has been accomplished, and a lot of new things are going on, making it all the more valuable to get folks together to hear about the various programs, and hear some things from the administrative unit in Charleston, and to doing some looking ahead. A report will follow (hopefully within a few days!!!- Things stay very busy around here!)

welcome to our after school tutor

Due to a state Department of Education grant, we are now able to have a certified teacher tutor for our Gustke shelter youth after school, in addition to the work of Mr. Apgar during the school day. Anna Cutler is in this position, and we welcome her enthusiastically. She has been on the job only a few days, and there is a lot to pick up about the dynamics of youth in shelter, and their particular educational needs and situations. There is also a lot to understand about the shelter's daily routine and "who is who." Since she is working out of our Mid Town Family Resource Center, there are also a lot of people and bustle over here for her to understand and get used to. This additional educational boost for the youth, and potentially for some other youth "at risk" for homelessness in the community, is a great resource we are excited about as we begin a new school year.

volunteer from a few years back- visits

A few years ago, when we were first putting together a clothing closet for the families we serve, Sarah Witte, a community volunteer, came in to set up a nice clothing closet area in our "suite # 4." Due to the expansion we have undergone of late, and renovating Suite # 4 for office and a newly updated food and clothing area, we had to dismantle Sarah's "creation." Sarah stopped by yesterday to gather some of her items and it was good to see her, and she was impressed with the office renovations.

Ashley Way begins her duties as our site's WE CAN coordinator

Ashley Way attended training and orientation last week, and begins her duties here at the Parkersburg site, as our new WE CAN volunteer coordinator this week. Over the weekend, she and her mother bustled to set up an office and desk area. We are excited to have this additional program here at our site, especially as it ties into an agency wide emphasis on mentoring and volunteering in our community engagement efforts.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Passing of one of our Senior Community Service Employment Program workers

We are saddened by the sudden passing of one of our Senior Community Service Employment Program workers, Sandra (Sandy) Greathouse recently. She had four children, and 11 grand children. She endeared herself to many around our work site with her cheer and comraderie, while participating in our bustling work setting, doing many varied clerical tasks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mentoring/ Volunteers Recruitment event

Saturday, September 12th, some of the staff will participate in a fair at St. Margaret Mary's parish hall (the old YWCA) to recruit volunteers. The fair runs from 10 am to 4 pm. We undoubtedly will have an enthusiastic contingent of staff willing to participate as we gear up our WE CAN program, our VISTA mentoring program, and the general recruitment of volunteers, and community supporters that all our site's services and programs appreciate.

Next Thursday: site wide quarterly planning and communication meeting

Next Thursday, September 3rd (can it be September already???) at 10 am we will have a site meeting, where we go over some internal communication information(for such a big, ambitious and bustling site!!!!) and review the site's strategic plan, in light of the agency's strategic plan, and the efforts earlier in the year to set some goals.

Welcome to new staff in the after school program, as school gears up!!

We welcome Katrina Nelson, Lora Phillips, and Jessica Martin, as new relief Youth Care Workers in the Mid Town Family Resource Center, after school program at McKinley with today's start of school. Lisa and Shauna will guide them into the mission and programming of the program over these first few days. All three bring their own unique strengths and interests to the program; we look forward to another exciting and effective year of serving the children, the families and the school with our quality after school program.

Welcoming our new WE CAN coordinator to the job!

Today (more or less) begins Ashley Way's new job with the agency, of Parkersburg's WE CAN coordinator. Ashley is attending the training and orientation for new WE CAN coordinator's from around the agency in Charleston. When she returns, she will be ready to begin the work of recruiting mentors, and spreading the word about the program in the Parkersburg area. Accompanying Ashley to the training are Shelley Plauche, site manager, and Missy Storey, VISTA volunteer with our mentors for transitioning youth program. Ashley has been working with the after school program for several months, as well as doing some foster care aide work, with transportation and visitation, so she's had a great orientation to the agency, and a whirlwind tour of some of the exciting programming here at Parkersburg. She assisted with the Americana Music Festival this summer (and has great promotion, PR and marketing ideas!!) and has been working on a Parkersburg Area Community Foundation grant application for the foster care program.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The day before Wood County schools start back up!

This was a busy day around the Mid Town Family Resource Center. We were conducting interviews for additional youth care worker (relief) staff, and people were dropping in to say hello and for various reasons all day long.
Chuck, a former volunteer in the after school program, and former extern from Mountain State College (he had gone back to school after being displaced at a factory job) stopped by to say hello; and we encouraged him to come back and volunteer now that he is retired.
Heather, a mother of three from the neighborhood stopped by seeking some school clothes for the boys. We encouraged her to submit an entry in our neighborhood writing contest.
Charles, one of our Senior Employment workers, bustled through taking care of janitorial work and handyman jobs. Deb brought another woman through, a prospect from the same Senior Employment program. Lora, a college student who volunteered in the after school program all last year, and who is now one of the relief youth care workers we are hiring for this school year, came in to fill in some hiring paperwork.
Ashley, our new WE CAN coordinator was working on a local foundation's grant application.
Christina, a stalwart mother of three who has participated in our program, served on an advisory committee, served on our safety committee, stopped by on her way to get some school supplies, and told of her boys (the twins) getting ready for middle school tomorrow.
Andrew, finishing up a third week volunteering, helped take things over to the school such as recreation equipment and supplies, and organized the remnants of the Tinkers program in our new out building.
Lisa, our Runaway and Homeless Youth TLP worker, brought a girl interested in doing some volunteer work in the after school program by to fill out an application and meet with Lisa W.
Several people prepared food boxes from our newly organized food pantry, and several more looked through clothes from our closet for school starting up tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today's Transitioning to Adulthood life skills fair

The VISTA's and transitional living (Runaway and Homeless Youth) staff organized a life skills "fair" today for young people transitioning to adulthood. They had done a good job of planning and arranging this 4 hour event. Unfortunately the turnout was disappointing!!! So, our hard working team had to re-group and shift gears- but they remain undaunted in their efforts to advocate for young people in this transition to adulthood. Missy is gearing up for her recruiting of mentors for youth in the target population, and will attend the agency's orientation for new WE CAN coordinators next week. We say good by next week to Kindra after her year of service to VISTA- she will be missed, and remembered fondly for her spunk and spirit; and we hope she stays involved here, as she starts college out at WVU-P. Patty is playing host this weekend, to another VISTA, Memory Cooper, who is with Mission WV in Putnam County, working on a similar VISTA project as our Missy Storey. So we hope to see a lot of good partnering between the two projects this coming year.

Glasser Group last evening

We had a good little (William) Glasser group last evening here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. 4 families from our foster care/ adoption/ host home "family" came to participate, as well as 2 teens. (Four staff also participated). Last night's session was on Glasser's concept of "Quality Worlds." We discussed how everyone has a "quality world"- the way they would like their world to be; the way it was in their most idealized picture of the past, or a future they aspire to. We discussed, how with children who have been displaced, traumatized, etc. and who are resistant/ skeptical, etc. trying to become someone in their quality world is an effective intervention. We had a big storm right when we were wrapping up, and good comraderie was shared by this building/ growing family of ours!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

shifting gears to school year routines

This week may best be characterized as shifting gears to a school year routine. The summer program is completed; the Mid Town Family Resource Center is taking a "break"- and gearing up for the after school program to begin next week when Wood County Schools starts on Wednesday. The Neighborhood Day (Sept 19th) won't be too far behind. A few new staff will be added. Many staff in the other various programs are also gearing up for slightly different routines in the school year; when visits can occur, in the foster care program, and such. Nikki Staats is back on the job of the homeless student liaison work with Wood County schools and any identified homeless students. Melissa Jameson will be gearing up for the school year at VanDevender with the advantage of starting a brand new school year (she began mid-year last year, and so a school year where she can hit the ground running is exciting!!) Mr. Apgar will be back to work with shelter students who are not in school settings. And we hope to have an after school tutor (certified teacher) for the shelter and neighborhood middle and high school students, under a new Economic Recovery Education grant, also aligned with the McKinney Vento homeless student act.
We are getting a tile floor in "suite 4" today; and then the big re-arranging will begin for the food pantry and clothing closet, and Shelley and Steve's office space. Then the foster care visiting area, and their office space can be rejuvenated!
So, there is plenty going on!! A special thanks to Andrew Bissell, an Ohio University student, who is volunteering here at the end of the summer, and pitching in wherever he can!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Program finished up

Unfortunately, I wasn't here for the very last day of the summer program, but we have to feel it was a very successful effort. Over 100 young people benefited from participating in some way in summer program activities here at our Mid Town Family Resource Center. Staff of the program are taking a well deserved rest this week, before gearing up for the regular school year after school program, which will be starting up August 26th. We hope to have further progress on our re-arranged food and clothing pantries by then, as well as the computer lab area, and "Mr. Apgar's" class room, and some other organizing efforts. We are interviewing for a few new staff positions for the after school program. The VISTA workers are probably heaving a sigh of relief too, for getting a little more sanity back to their work spaces, too!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thursday night's Parent/ Family Night recap

We had a good summertime turnout for Family Night/ Parent Night last Thursday. We had a good mix of age groups among our youth contingent. There was a good mix of on-going parents and parents from the summer program. Ashley did a session on internet safety for both youth and parents, and shared a useful handout. Several good questions and observations were shared. The food was tasty as always, with a good team work approach to preparing the meal. This continues to be a great bonding/ linking / connecting activity for our work with neighborhood families.

Community Yard Sale review

We had a sweltering hot August day for our parking lot community yard sale Friday. There were many hands making (hopefully) lighter work in the set up. Lots of variety of items for sale!!! We made over $300. I had a few rabid vinyl record fans stop by and they made good connections for the agency, and for future sales. The proceeds support the on-going work of the Mid Town Family Resource Center and our work with neighborhood families.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The VISTA vol's all made the road trip to New Martinsville yesterday

All three VISTA workers attended the Regional Summit with me yesterday in New Martinsville, and then we toured the Tuel Center (independent living group home) of Youth Services System, Inc. before returning to Parkersburg. It was "full circle" for Patty, who when she started her VISTA project last year attending the summit as one of her first activities. Kindra is finishing up her year, and Missy is getting around to some of the key stakeholder meetings for her project year. The Tuel Center presents a good model/ example of an agency trying to respond to the needs of these older youth aging out of the foster care system.