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


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.