Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday morning: There's a training going on

Within the bustling hive of activity that is the Parkersburg site of Children's Home Society of WV, this Saturday morning has a Crisis Prevention Institute ("CPI") training going on while the sun TRIES to warm up this crisp, frosty morning. We have trainings A LOT at the site, because of all the programs and needs to have staff and foster parents prepared for their work. Lately, the blend of people at the trainings is intriguing and exciting, as we have foster parents, shelter staff, staff from various other programs all merged together. We so appreciate Bruce coming up from Charleston to do this particular training on a Saturday morning to accommodate some foster parents, and he does such a great job of making the content of the training relevant to such a cross section of people!!!
Carna comes in and "hosts" and sets up a welcoming refreshment "stand" and make people feel welcome and appreciated!! Andy, from the shelter, takes the class as a refresher, and renews an acquaintance with someone he worked with in Calhoun County!!!
Getting people connected, making everyone feel apart of something bigger and exciting, and helping kids and families, and striving for lifetime commitments and connections!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

contact information

As this blog gets circulated around, some people may want to know how to contact us. Our website for the agency is: From this comprehensive website for the statewide agency, you can navigate your way to the Parkersburg site. My e-mail (Steve Tuck) is; (I never knew growing up that my first initial and last name would make for an easy to remember e-mail address (not having any remote concept of what intranet was or would become) (and its become something of an ironic address to be "stuck" at Children's Home Society!!!). Our phone number is: 304-485-0650, and our street address is: 1739 St. Mary's Ave. Parkersburg. We occupy 4 out of 5 storefronts on this humble little stretch of the busy and intriguing block of "Mid Town"- with historic McKinley School and St. Andrew's Church at the one end, and the "convenience store" capital of Mid Town at the other end. (Go-Mart and Kom-Pak!!!) I will repeat this from time to time, as after a while, people may not go "too deep" into the past posts to dig for something like that.

Let it Snow, let it snow, let it snow

We are experiencing our first "real" snow of the year, and its tending to slow the (otherwise!) hectic pace of our site's work with area children and families. Jim and Kim (rhyming names!) were out shoveling the sidewalks first thing this morning, as various fearless intrepid staff arrived at work. The Shelter, of course, trudges along, with dedicated staff filling the shifts around the clock, despite the weather. Today, the shelter is having a third installment of the New Directions training for youth care worker staff. Wood County schools is cancelled again today, and likely tomorrow, so that causes the Mid Town Family Resource Center to shift into different mode; no after school care, but more youth coming in for the "drop out" aspect during the day, to use the computers and play games, and perhaps, help out with some chores, or duties around the storefronts. (And always hungry for a snack of some sort!!!)
Some meetings that staff would be involved in are cancelled, and the home visitors of the early childhood program are challenged to figure out their own individual ways to stay in touch with clients, and offer support.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Musical Fund Raising events

Plans are progressing well for the 4th Annual Johnny Cash Tribute show, February 28th here in Parkersburg. Watch for more updates along the way! Lisa Weaver and the Mid Town FRC staff are spearheading the promotion for this event. Lisa has instilled some fresh spirit into the promotion work, so contact her with ideas or to hear updates.
Look for an announcement in the next few days about another upcoming event, the 3rd annual "Whole Lotta Hank" tribute show (the music of Hank Williams). The foster care staff is spearheading this planning, with hopes of an April event. We are conceptualizing a Cajun Cookoff as part of this event, a new and exciting idea to broaden the fun (and hopefully fund raising!!!)

I am having a coffeehouse on February 16th (its a Monday) here at the storefront, to kick off THAT aspect of our musical series. Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart, two excellent singer songwriter musicians will be passing through from Pennsylvania back to their home state of Tennessee, and have agreed to put on a coffeehouse show that evening. They are very compelling and entertaining performers, and everyone who comes out, is guaranteed an enjoyable evening of music.

Gustke Shelter 30th anniversary celebration planning

Deb Murphy worked feverishly this week to get some invitations ready to go out for the Gustke Shelter's 30th anniversary event on February 28th. Lots of staff pitched in to address envelops, and gather mailing lists. We hope those will go out at the beginning of the week. We are following up on the sponsorship appeal that went out to certain businesses and organizations earlier. The Wood County Bar Association is the first committed sponsor, with a generous support of $500, saying they will let us use the tickets to allow some guests to attend the event. Thanks so much to the Bar for not only this generous great contribution, but their support over the years.

Foster Care life is hopping!

Our foster care staff had a busy week (as they all are these days!!) We took a placement of a 15 year old girl and her 5 month old baby this week. This occurred in a very short order, developing quickly in one late afternoon. The DHHR CPS supervisor involved, seemed to really appreciate it, and spoke enthusiastically of setting up a time for Carna and Kim to come in and talk to all his staff soon.

Last Week's Partners in Prevention activities

The site hosted two very exciting and successful meals in its Mid Town Family Resource Center last week. On Wednesday, January 21 over lunch, about 18 people gathered for sharing, support and brainstorming things we can do to help support young families, as they deal with stressors and challenges. This was a good mix of young moms, staff from various parts of our site's programs, a grandmother, and a lively mix of little ones. Lisa Weaver led the meeting, and I think came away with some support for some of the ideas we've batted around: someone coming in to talk about nutrition, menu planning, budget food shopping and the like. An informational session on what services the Health Department offers. We are still challenged to find a way to "draw" some fathers in, to see what they would benefit from, in terms of support, presenters.
One of the parents present, came back the next day, and did a bang up job straightening in the clothing closet, and then that night brought her kids to the monthly family night and movie!
Speaking of that, we had a packed house for our Mid Town FRC Partners in Prevention family night on Thursday, the 22nd. We had pizza and some sub sandwiches, and some good Panera's desserts, and 40 some people mingled and got to know each other, and enjoy conversations, before settling in to watch "Horton Hears the Who" (or something like that!!) This was a big success, getting a number of neighborhood families together for some wholesome fun, and support. Both Lisa's did a great job of hosting this event, and lots of our staff, friends, volunteers, and parents helped with the clean up, despite everybody being tired out from a long, good day.
Both these events kick off 2009 in a great way for the Mid Town Family Resource Center, and its mission to strengthen families, offer supports where needed, and help families reduce stressors that might lead to risks for the families.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I thought I would use this blog to chronicle news from the Parkersburg site of Children's Home Society of West Virginia. I will try to write frequently, to give an exciting and regular sense of all that is going on at our site. I will introduce it gradually, so check back frequently. I will be attempting to link it to the agency's website after I experiment for a few posts with the content and the value and use of it. I have been operating my "music blog" for over 3 years and have proven that I will keep it going, so that inspired me to give this one a go. I will be figuring out the ways to let people know about it, and encourage others to submit things to be to post. More later after I get a few things set up.