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:

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, ( 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: which focuses more on the music side interests, for more details about the Prine Tribute, and future ideas.