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: 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: 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.