Saturday, January 30, 2010

church's computer lab named for my father

While in Florida for my father's memorial service, I was able to stop in to the church that he pastored for a number of years, and visit their computer lab for low income/ at risk youth. There was a very enthusiastic mentor there, who teaches the youth computer skills using graphic design applications. There were some very heartwarming stories, and successes told. The church makes the space available as part of their mission, and there is also a pottery room, and space for other creative expressions. My family was very moved because they used this occasion to name the Computer Lab after my father, William C. Tuck. I have made a connection with these Florida folks, since the concept of a center for community youth to come and have positive creative outlets is a kindred spirit to our Mid Town Family Resource Center.

Some of CHS folks at this year's Wood County HUD Homeless Count

Not only was this a very cold night, but we had a big turnout of folks connected to CHS at this year's homeless count. Our very own, Lisa, was quoted in the paper (yet again!) about the homeless issue here in Parkersburg. She is getting to be quite an advocate and spokeswoman for the cause!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chris and Jim help out at the Homeless Count preparation

Facebook | Photos from Wood County Family Resource Network

Pictures from Business on Board award presentations today at Wood County Family Resource Network's Early Childhood Coalition

These two pictures show recipients of Business on Board awards from the KIDS COUNT for local businesses that have shown support for the Quality Early Childhood campaign. Businesses that submitted an application indicating how they showed their support of employees and the community's child care providers, were recognized. Additionally, there is a statewide event on March 24th where KIDS COUNT will recognize all the Businesses identified, as well as provide an update on the successes of the overall statewide campaign, to increase awareness and support for quality early child care issues.
In the pictures above, Linda Novak, from WVU-P is shown receiving the award for the school, and Sandee Testa is shown receiving the award for the accounting and business consulting firm of Suttle and Stalnaker. Theresa Hayner and Linda Swearingen from CHOICES are also in the pictures, as partners and supporters of CHS in the local area's KIDS COUNT business on board project.

Lisa and her crew in Washington DC

We eagerly await the return of Lisa and the three youth participants from the National Network for Youth symposium (returning on Wednesday) we imagine they are having a great time in the Nation's capital, and hopefully meeting some inspiring people and hearing about other youth involvement, youth engagement, youth leadership projects from all over.

Family Night tonight at Mid Town Family Resource Center

Tonight at the MTFRC we are having Eileen Filozof participating with us to make a presentation on "Easy and Smart Diet Improvements to Start the New Year Right." Eileen has been an enthusiastic on-going supporter of our neighborhood center over the past few years. She has helped with Neighborhood Day, parking lot sales, parties, and linking us with others in the community. She is also helping us plan our "Good Beginnings" parent leadership retreat later in the winter (spring?) so be on the lookout for more updates about that. We hope the families in the neighborhood will enjoy a good meal and some helpful information tonight!

As is often the case, with our bustling hive- the Veteran's Group that also meets here once a month will be meeting tonight; watching a DVD.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Glasser Group" last night

We had another intriguingly successful Glasser Group last night. We had two community members come, who saw the notice in the newspaper, a mother of a child (at the shelter) (and another son, who has been involved in some of the neighborhood drop in center activities) and 4 teens. The topic was helping participants work through some questions about "what do you want?" (mostly out of a relationship; perhaps one that is experiencing some tension or conflict). The participants indicated the exercise/ activity was helpful. We continue to be encouraged that these monthly sessions are meeting some needs of community members. We are challenged by the wildly diverse attendance!!!

Family Night coming up at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

After two wildly successful family nights around the two holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) we "settle back" to "regular" family nights this month. But we DO have a quality program for the parents on tap. These monthly family nights are a key component of our Mid Town Family Resource Center. We get parents and their children together for fellowship, support, positive family time. We share an always good meal. And this month we will be focusing on nutritious meals and nutrition for our topic.

Our VISTA display at the recent Teen Institute on MLK Day at WVU-P

Advisory Committee

We are gearing up for an exciting and productive year here at the CHS-Parkersburg site. We will be having an advisory committee meeting in February where we will really set the vision for the year, for that group, which helps us with our community engagement. This is an excellent opportunity to bring more members on, so if you know of someone who would contribute and be honored to become involved, send them our way (contact Shelley!)

The four intrepid travelers will be heading to Washington DC on Sunday

Lisa, Katrina, Randi and Shelby will be heading to the National Network For Youth Symposium on Sunday (until Wednesday). They are bound to have a great experience, and lots of adventures (knowing that crew!!!!) We will be eager to hear how it goes, and what they come back with, as far as experiences, and exposure to other youth programs and people. If we were a little more sophisticated, we could have them do a running remote webcast or something, but we'll have to settle for the "old fashioned" tell us all about it when you return!!!!

we are a Promise Place

America's Promise has awarded our CHS-Parkersburg site with the designation of a "promise place." We have shown that we fulfill all 5 of the promises of America's Promise in the work we do here at our agency : caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to help others.

CHS-Parkersburg receives grant from the Henry Logan Children's Home

We are excited to receive word that we received a $12,000 grant from the Henry Logan Children's Home Foundation this week. This will help support the work of the after school program and the Mid Town Family Resource Center. The Henry Logan Home has been a staunch, on-going supporter of our agency in the community. We always felt the shelter was the "carrying on legacy" of the Henry Logan Children's Home which closed in the early 1980's, just when the shelter was starting out. It has a legacy dating back to the early 1900's, and many people in the community have some memory of family members staying there, or contacts they had with the home over the years. We received the pool table from the home for our shelter, and (after several re-surfacing and moves) is still the pool table that we use for recreation. A game of pool has broken the ice with many reluctant youth for staff over the years!
The Henry Logan also contributed significantly to the capital campaign for the new shelter 6 years ago. In more recent years, the foundation has been very supportive of our neighborhood work. Particularly since we are in the same basic neighborhood as the Henry Logan foundation, and their mission refers to helping the disadvantaged children of the community, which we feel agrees with our local mission very clearly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A tribute to my father

I will be traveling this weekend to a memorial service for my father (who died in November) and it caused me to reflect on some of the strong positive traits he had, and how they relate to the work and values we try to incorporate into our work here at Children's Home Society of West Virginia.
My dad was:
- a good (skilled) listener; he could draw people out with his patient listening and open caring way
- he was warm, kind, and gentle (traits that are needed with many of the children we work with in CHS who have suffered a difficult life)
- he had a great sense of humor - he could see the folly of life
- he had a stoicism; a willingness to bear the difficulties of life; for himself and in solidarity with others
- he had a steady, solid work ethic: he was always there when he was needed
- he was firm in his own convictions; but did not impose those on others; letting them "find their own way"

I think these qualities and traits are admirable ones, and hopefully are characteristic of the way Children's Home Society "family" conducts their lives, too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Johnny Cash Tribute benefit - 5th annual!

We are gearing up for the 5th annual Johnny Cash tribute benefit at the end of February. February 27th is the date, 6 Pence Pub and Eatery is the place, 9 pm is the time, $5 is the donation. Local musicians will play sets of songs celebrating the music of Johnny Cash. Stay tuned as we are gearing up the 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series into a big, year long fund raising effort, and fun time for music lovers in the Mid Ohio Valley. There will be announcements about the season and all the individual events soon, and some ways that you can support the work of CHS in the Parkersburg area, and enjoy some fine local music, and celebrate the great traditions of Americana music. I already have the 8 inch Johnny Cash action figure on display, which some lucky winner will get to take home on the 27th of February. These have become quite the cherished prize among the Music Series fans.

Greg has come up with another creative idea!

Greg, in our foster care program, has come up with another creative idea to support our foster parents! The weekend of Valentine's Day, (Friday, Feb. 12) he is organizing a "foster parents' night out" where he (and several other staff volunteers!) will take care of foster children here at our Mid Town Family Resource Center, so the foster parents can have a night out together. Look for more information, or a report on how it goes!!!

Parkersburg's Homeless Count

With all the recent publicity about the homeless situation in Parkersburg (among the news media) and our RHY staff's involvement in helping homeless youth, the upcoming bi-annual homeless count in Parkersburg has taken on a bigger emphasis. Several of our staff plan to participate in the count on the last Thursday of the month. We have been helping with this for several cycles now, and it has become a meaningful experience for many. With the Hot Dog sale that was held Friday at the local DHHR office, and some community support, some care packages of food and supplies will be made available to some of the area's homeless that night.

Teen Institute Monday (MLK Day)

Monday, January 18th, which is the national holiday of Martin Luther King Day, several of our staff will be participating in a Teen Institute being held at WVU-Parkersburg. Ashley Way is participating in one of the sessions as a presenter and leader; and our two VISTA's are helping out with the overall Institute. Two of our greatest community partners, the 4-H and Girl Scouts, have teen leaders who have organized the event, so we are very proud (of them!) and to be a part of the event.

Our Monthly Group (based on the concepts of William Glasser)

Next Thursday, Jan 21, at 6 pm we will be holding our monthly "Glasser Group" here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. These "rolling" groups based on the work of William Glasser, are a free-form offering to the community. We have, at times, focused on trying to make it be a support group effort for foster parents and parents of youth in our various programs, and/or a group for young people who we think would benefit (within our programs, and in the general community), and sometimes many things in between. We have 6 people, or 20 people, some (always!) new people, and some that have attended a number of the sessions. So its always a little challenging to prepare the theme of the month!!!! We always "keep it simple" with one theme focused on- and TRY very hard to make it participatory- drawing people out to share their thoughts and reactions to the concepts presented. We welcome anyone (as you could hopefully tell!) and are always open to suggestions to make it more meaningful and useful in people's daily lives.

Another CiCi's Pizza fundraising night next Tuesday

Lisa D-P and the three youth leaders who will be attending the National Network for Youth Symposium the last week of January in Washington DC are holding another fundraising night at CiCi Pizza in Vienna next Tuesday, the 19th of January in the early evening. Come on out and support their great opportunity to attend a national conference focused on youth leadership, youth advocacy on the issues of youth homelessness. They will be having an opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and talk to legislators, as well as attend workshops, and participate with other young people in awareness raising and outreach.

L-D-P is at it again with creative ideas!

Lisa Doyle Parsons has added another (or several) creative ideas to her outreach for the Transitional Living PRogram. She is raffling off a private party here at our Mid Town Family Resource Center, to area teens (somewhat based on the drop in night/ movie or game nights we frequently hold). The drawing will be Friday Jan. 22. Proceeds of the raffle help sponsor the upcoming Symposium that Lisa and three of our youth leaders will be attending in Washington DC.

CHS-Parkersburg sets its next Foster Care/Adoption Information session

Greg has taken the initiative to schedule the next foster care / adoption information session for the CHS-Parkersburg site, for Monday, February 15 (President's Day) from 1-3 pm at the Comfort Inn near the mall (Vienna). Stay tuned for more details; Greg contacted the motel, and they graciously offered to host it, and provide some food as well. We'll see how this different time slot works; so spread the word to any prospective families interested in hearing how they can become involved in our Family, serving WV children.

CHS-Parkersburg to host a local community forum on foster care issues

Thursday, January 28th, from 11 am to 1 pm, we will be hosting a community forum on foster care at our offices on St. Mary's Ave. There will be SW CEU's available. We are particularly inviting the foster care providers to this opportunity to discuss with their peer agencies the dynamics and trends they are experiencing providing foster care in the community surrounding Parkersburg. We feel this is a needed dialogue and will only serve to increase communication and awareness of the foster care services. This is a "brown bag lunch" session, over the extended lunch hour, with the hopes of the dialogue leading to recommendations or action steps. We see this sort of overture in the community as part of our mission, and part of our efforts to positively impact the local "system of care." For information or questions you can contact Carna, Shelley or Steve at the CHS-Parkersburg office.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Call For Help

A Call For Help

On the News; the TV News! (WTAP)

Jim Lopreste, with the Runaway and Homeless Youth Basic Center Program was on a news clip this week (I will try to link with the clip). As well as one of our youth in the TLP program. We were hoping to generate some responses to our need for host homes, and we received 5 calls (at least!) the next day after the story. This kept Jim and Chris hoping as well as helping advocate for a youth in the program as he tried to make arrangements to take a bus back home. Lauren, at WTAP did a great job with the story, she shows her interest and commitment to issues like this with her work. Check it out (if I can't link it to this blog!!) It ran Thursday evening on the 6 and 11 news.


All week we have had cold weather and snow (at least a little every single day!) and this has been a hardship on the functioning of our site; many of our employees can't get out of driveways, off of hills, down their side streets, or rural roads. Everybody comes up with creative solutions if they can, to continue serving the families we are committed to. We chug along, doing the best we can to help each other, convey messages, at least try to provide some encouragement, as everyone is stressed in this sort of weather and road conditions!!!

Our collections wind down on the Little Red Stocking Campaign

Brooke and I are feverishly gathering, reminding, and encouraging the collections for the recent Little Red Stocking campaign, conducted out of the Parkersburg site (and all across the agency). Staff members who had distributed the stockings in the holiday season, have been going around and collecting the money raised, and gathering the undistributed stockings. This affords an interesting opportunity to yet, once again, talk about the agency and work we do with area children and families. Many businesses expressed the difficult financial situation they and their customers faced this holiday season, and we try to acknowledge at least their support and encouragement (and willingness to try again next year!!!) We try hard to provide MANY different ways for the community to support our work throughout the year, such as the Americana Music Tribute Series, the various parties for children in our foster care, after school program, and now, WE CAN mentoring program, the in kind gifts of material items, that help so much with our early childhood programs, and our other programs, the Little Red Stocking Auction in November, the Neighborhood Day in September, as well as the Little Red Stocking campaign, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Donors are so critical to all our work, and we appreciate each and every one of you!!!!

CHS-Parkersburg site hosting a local community forum on foster care

On Thursday, January 28th from 11 am to 1 pm, we will be hosting a foster care forum for interested community members (particularly focused on foster care providers) to discuss the local dynamics concerning foster care. This will be an opportunity for people to discuss trends in recruitment of foster homes, challenges in placing certain demographics of children, retention of homes, maintainence of placements and stability for children, relationships with the various stakeholders (the Department, attornies, court officials, parents, counselors and mental health professionals, etc.). There will be social work CEU's available, and this will hopefully, possibly, lead to some recommendations for action steps. It will be here at our offices on St. Mary's Avenue, and it is suggested participants bring a brown bag lunch (as we try to use the time efficiently in the middle of the day for this important community dialogue!)

Raffle for a private party here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center to benefit the Transitional Living Program

Lisa ("D-P") has come up with yet another creative fund raising idea, which she is implementing. To help raise funds for the trip at the end of the month to the National Network for Youth Symposium, Lisa is holding a raffle (geared toward the community's young people!) for someone to win a party to be held here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center; including a movie on the "big screen" video and board games, snacks, and a fun time! Lisa holds quite a few events at our "drop in center" aspect to our Mid Town Family Resource Center, so its guaranteed to be a fun time for the winner and their friends! You can see Lisa for details or to pick up some tickets. I'm not sure how long the raffle will run, but you'll want to get in on it quickly! Stay tuned for more news about it, and details of how it turns out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CiCi's Pizza fundraising in the cold, blustery winter

Lisa (D-P), Katrina, Randi and Shelby, held a fund raiser at CiCi's Pizza last night despite the wintery weather. They are raising money to help cover expenses to a national conference they are planning to attend in Washington DC at the end of the month (the National Network 4 Youth's symposium). We are so excited that we will have a STRONG youth representative at such a national conference on the issues facing youth (focusing on runaway and homeless youth). There will be more fundraising going on this month, as well as pooling and piecing training funds from various budget sources. This will be an exciting adventure for these young women, and Lisa is thriving on the opportunities to gain more training and exposure to national resources for our transitional living programming. I attended this symposium many years ago, and can vouch for its value for the participants. With this lively crew you can believe they will also have some great adventures in the nation's capital!!! If you would like to just make a specific donation to help fund this great youth leadership opportunity, just let us know!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grant received from the 5 Promises Foundation of WV

Today we received word we are the recipient of a $1200 grant from the 5 Promises Foundation of WV, to support the work of our WE CAN mentoring program! This was from the first round of grants awarded by this newly formed foundation that you can learn more about at their website: We will spell out more of the positive impact of this grant as we move along!

Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Mary Farnsworth, our hard-working Girl Scout leader brought in sign up sheets for Girl Scout cookies with her today, for the bi-monthly session of Girl Scouts for our after school program. This creates a bustling hive of activity twice a month, when the Girl Scouts have their activities. It is fun to see the girls engrossed in the activity of the day, and fun to see the parents coming to pick up their daughters here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center.

Welcome to Ann Griffith

Tuesday, January 5th, Ann Griffith will be joining our site's staff, as the project assistant for the Community Planning Grant for the In Home Family Education program. This will be a "research and community outreach" project to explore the viability of providing In Home Family Education programming in our community. You can stay tuned for more information as Ann begins her duties, and the project gets underway.

Teen Institute Parkersburg

Several of our staff are participating in a first Teen Institute here in Parkersburg on Martin Luther King Day in a few weeks. This is a youth led project where area teens will participate in workshops related to leadership training and prevention topics. Its intention is to empower teens to live healthy lifestyles and promote healthy living among their peers. It will be Monday January 18 from 9 am to 5 pm at WVU-P. The primary sponsors are the Girl Scouts and 4-H; two of our strongest partners in the Mid Town Family Resource Center. At our site, someone could contact Ashley Way for more information.

Go-Mart in Cambridge- Little Red Stocking campaign

The agency's Little Red Stocking campaign has wound down to a finish. Statewide we are extremely grateful for all the support that the citizens have given us for the campaign. We are particularly EXCITED to announce that a store that we supported in their contribution to the campaign was the top selling store in the Go Mart chain! The Cambridge Ohio store (at the intersection of interstate 70-77) sold 1833 of the stockings! This was a very exciting accomplishment, and to the employees of that store we are truly appreciative. Carna Metheney-White was our primary contact with the store, as she has been for several years. She must have a very effective style at nurturing and encouraging the employees, so for this we are thankful, too!!! Thanks to Go Mart for your support of our agency's work with children and families!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year from the Parkersburg site of Children's Home Society of WV

Happy New Year to everyone reading this blog post! The Parkersburg site of CHS appreciates all the support of staff, community supporters, and the families and children we serve in our programs. We have had a very busy and (we feel!) successful year of promoting the agency's mission and serving families. Many staff members have dedicated much hard work and creative energy to building a solid community outreach. We look forward to another year with similar outcomes and goals! As the cold winter weather greets us in January, we take a deep breath to prepare for the work ahead! Please contact us with any feedback, suggestions, encouragements as we use this holiday season to reflect on the effectiveness and impact of our work.