Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
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
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
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.
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
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!!!