Sunday, February 28, 2010

The commemorative vinyl record plaques were a big hit last night!

Lisa Doyle Parsons has been making commemorative plaques for the recent music events from old vinyl records; and last night's version was a HUGE hit among the musicians and the audience, and one given to 6 Pence Pub was a very much appreciated gift! We made some solid connection with Kim over this nice gesture. Thanks Lisa for a great creative idea, that is quickly becoming a big tradition in the agency music benefits! There is one of the records signed by all the musicians on display in the "music area" in Shelley and Steve's office. Stop by and take a look!

Great start to the 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series with last night's Johnny Cash Tribute

The 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series got off to a fine start last night in Parkersburg with the Johnny Cash Tribute show at 6 Pence Pub. A fun line up of musicians gave the music lovers a wonderful evening of music celebrating the life and music of Johnny Cash. The audience seemed to have fun, too, with some contests and many good door prizes distributed. We thank 6 Pence Pub for hosting us, and providing a lot of encouragement and support for the series already. We thank the musicians for their enthusiasm and dedication, and the sound guys for putting on a smooth show. Our 50-50 drawing garnered $95 to support the work of the agency, and one lucky patron got more than his evening paid for! The t-shirts were a big hit, and it seems like they will be a good promotion of the Series all year long!
We made over $1000 with the event ($915 taken in last night, with an additional amount over $100 already having been taken in prior to the event.)
We are eagerly looking ahead to the next event, the Cajun Cook off and Hank Williams music tribute in April, stay tuned for details!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lagging on the Posts lately

I had a busy week, and have fallen behind on some posts. Last night the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs had a movie night - "Cool Running" (in honor of the winter Olympics!)
We had all the agency site managers in town this week for a directors meeting down at the Blennerhassett Hotel- and they toured our facilities on Thursday afternoon. The staff had done a good job of getting the offices ready for a large number of visitors. The other site folks, and agency administrators got a good thorough tour of all the many things that we do here in Parkersburg with area children and families.
We had our site wide staff meeting on Wednesday, a good turnout, and good covering of news and communication exchange. We began work on our site strategic plan for 2010 (and perhaps beyond) This is a dedicated staff here at CHS-Parkersburg, and many good things going on.
Shelley won a prize for her presentation at the Directors Meeting, for relating a compelling story of our work, presenting an overview of highlights of 2009, and needs we could use help on from donors in 2010. This was quite a mark of distinction as all the other sites also had very powerful presentations; its just that Shelley's was the best!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We are excited to be hosting all the agency Site Managers this week

We will be hosting all the agency site managers this week here in Parkersburg, including a visit to our offices on Thursday, February 25 around 4:30 pm. We are proud of our bustling site, and will be interested to see the reactions to all the varied programs and work here. We hope we can convey the community engagement this site represents in a brief visit. The two day meeting will be mostly at the Blennerhassett Hotel in downtown Parkersburg, with a dinner at River City Grill in there, too.

Johnny Cash Tribute this Saturday!

We have come around to the 5th annual Johnny Cash Tribute this Saturday at 9 pm at 6 Pence Pub on 7th Street in Parkersburg. This year again, the benefit proceeds will go to the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Lisa has organized a 50-50 drawing beginning now, through the event, so see her for some chances to win. We are selling tickets for the single event, and a season pass, and now the 2010 Americana Music Series t-shirts are in, so those are also available, for $10. The music line up is pretty set, and the venue is rarin' to go, and is proving to be an enthusiastic partner and host for the series this year. We have some door prizes and I'm always "tweaking" the contests to give the audience some fun. We hope you'll spread the word about the event, and come on out to support CHS-Parkersburg. You can visit a facebook fan site: mid ohio valley americana music series, should get you there. We are posting a lot of little updates and Americana music tidbits there, and hope to keep growing that site as the year progresses. Give us some feedback, and tell your "friends."

a second act of vandalism/ breaking a window at our offices!!!

I came in Saturday morning to work a bit, and discovered that the exact same window of our offices (Suite 4) had been broken into again, for the second time this week! This time there did not appear to be anything stolen, or even signs of entry into the offices. But the cold winter weather was sure "entering." This time, the glass company (Imperial) was not open, being a Saturday, so agency site "handyman" Nick Barry helped me put up a piece of plywood over the hole, till it could be fixed. This experience this week has left me (us) disheartened, thinking its some young people in the neighborhood doing these senseless acts. There is much concern and rumbling among the staff about security measures, you can imagine!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Candy

Lisa reports that her loyal crew of 4 sold out quickly the lollipops on Saturday, in pretty challenging weather, in front of FoodLand on Emerson. So this little fund raiser was a success; Lisa DID put a lot of care into the candy, and the youth did their part to promote the agency, and particularly our Transitional Living program, and positive youth development efforts.

Wood County's Youth Expo

Many CHS staff participated in the Wood County Youth Expo Monday (President's Day) at the Grand Central Mall. This has become an annual event, where the basic premise is that students (who are off from school) and their parents can circulate around at the mall and learn about youth opportunities in the community. Our staff "manned" tables and circulated themselves among the booths and displays. We had a strong contingent there, and our involvement in the organizing was appreciated by Shannon Morgan, of the Wood County Family Resource Network, the event sponsor.

Foster Parent's Night Out was a big success!

Friday several of us helped watch some children so that some of our foster parents could have a night out. They really appreciated it, and the kids seemed to have a great time- there was pizza and then painting, and some games and just general relaxing and having a good time. There was quite an age span, and lots of good "helping each other out" going on. This was deemed a success by one and all, and lots of good "community building" came out of it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

sigh - when I should be posting about some good things.....

I have several good things to post about; Lisa D-P's recent pictures submitted to me, about recent events, BUT- I've got to stick a post in here about our office being broken into last night! Chris H came to work in the snow this morning to find a huge gaping hole in the plate glass window of suite 4!! Two computers stolen, and some video game stuff, and some weird signs of someone's intrusion into our office. Very disheartening to our work and commitment here in the neighborhood. Spent the better part of the day just sort of numbly dealing with the disappointment and shock of the "intrusion" into our work and mission here!!! Maybe I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Foster Parents night out tonight!

Greg has masterfully organized a great event for giving our foster parents a night out (for Valentine's Day) by a crew of our staff taking care of their foster children here at our Mid Town Family Resource Center this evening. He has presents for the parents, and food and games, and an art project for the kids.

We had a great Advisory Committee meeting this morning

We had an advisory committee meeting for the Parkersburg site this morning. Using it as a first "kick off" meeting for 2010. We reviewed highlights of 2009 (as it might relate to the advisory committee) and looked ahead to 2010. We review purposes and goals of the advisory committee, and introduced some new members. It was very powerful how each and everyone of the members is deeply committed to helping children and supporting the mission of CHS. Chris Freeman, from the administrative unit of CHS came to the meeting, and got a picture of those advisory committee members present. We will be following up this meeting probably within a month, to begin the actual "hands on" planning of events for 2010, and further developing our community engagement strategies.

Valentine Suckers tomorrow at Foodland on Emerson Ave.

Lisa and some of her crew will be selling their handmade chocolate and decorated Valentine's suckers Saturday, from noon to 3 pm in front of Foodland on Emerson Ave. in Parkersburg. This is a "mini-fund raiser" for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Transitional Living program. Lisa has crafted these delicious items with great love and care!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coming Soon! a 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series t-shirt!

Missy Storey has been working with a local t-shirt shop to come up with the "commemorative" 2010 Americana Music Tribute Series t-shirt. They should be ready to sell and distribute to promote the series in a week or so. For three years we had a t-shirt for the series, but took last year off. You will still see the shirts from previous years, proudly worn by staff and volunteers and supporters of CHS around the community. I'll keep the suspense a little longer about what they look like! If you would like to support the agency's work in the community, you could put in an order with Missy or I. We will recap the generous community sponsors of the shirts that made the printing of them possible, so that all the proceeds of the sales of the shirts could be to benefit the Society. Of course, we will be giving some to the sponsors, and volunteers at the various events throughout the year, as tokens of our appreciation.

Summary Report of the generous "shoe" donation we received

Children’s Home Society of West Virginia-Parkersburg site received a special grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, from the Robert E. Fouss Memorial Fund to provide shoes for low-income children served in our programs. The employees of the Suddenlink Contact Center helped make this support possible with a generous employee fund raising effort. This generous gift made for a VERY well received and appreciated help to many families that we serve across several of our programs. 82 pairs of shoes were able to be given to children across a wide age range. Children involved in Children’s Home Society’s after school program at McKinley Elementary school (grades K-5, as well as some older siblings) received shoes in the largest numbers. Children and their parents alike, showed both genuine appreciation and excitement at this gift around the holidays. Children in our foster care program, totaling 19 children, ages ranging from toddlers to early teens, also received shoes through this kind gift. The shoes (and boots!) for the foster children were distributed at a very festive and warm Christmas party in December, with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus present, and a great spread of food donated from area businesses and individuals. Children in our school based programs (a homeless student liaison works with any children county-wide who are identified as homeless throughout the year) (and a worker from Children’s Home Society who works at VanDevender Middle School with students who have truancy or attendance problems) both were able to identify some particular children in families that very desperately benefited from the gift of new shoes as winter approached. These children ranged from early elementary school age, to middle school age students. Several youth at our Arthur N. Gustke Shelter for Youth also received shoes through this grant. These teens are in crisis temporary situations and often in transition from one placement to another, and the knowledge that community members are aware of their plight and thinking of them with such a gift is very meaningful to them. And finally, our recently initiated runaway and homeless youth programs also had young people who benefited from the shoes. These youth are older youth who are experiencing homelessness, often at a key point of their own transition to adulthood, but still benefit from the support of adults and our programming. Accompanying this report are several pictures portraying the excitement of “new shoes” in keeping with the intent and spirit of the Robert E. Fouss Memorial Fund, in furthering the caring and love that he gave children in the community, through his life, and carried on by his family.

Our CEO receives a national social work award

Dennis Sutton, our CEO, received an award from the National Association of Social Workers, as a social work hero, in the lead up to National Social Work Month in March. The NASW is highlighting 100 "community action heroes," social workers who have inspired community wide change. "By highlighting 100 community leaders, we aim to demonstrate how social workers are integral parts of all communities,: said NASW Communications Director Gail Woods Waller.
When I notified Dennis that he was announced as a winner in the monthly NASW News, it seems he was surprised, and didn't know of the award! I quickly tried to get the word around to some others in the agency, so that our humble leader could be recognized for the award!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We distribute cribs to families in our early childhood program

The Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health arranged to distribute a large number of cribs throughout the state, to families in the Right From the Start program. Here in Parkersburg, through our RFTS program, we have had a bustling time delivery some cribs to our mothers and families. Vickie Taylor took this picture of a crib proudly set up in a family's home, after she "wrestled it up a mountain" or some other equally intriguing story!!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Advisory Council this Friday

We are excited to hold our first Advisory Council meeting of the new year this Friday, the 12th. It will be at 10 am. We have invited some new folks to join us, and we have high hopes for the work of the Advisory Council this year, in keeping with the agency's vision and expectations for local sites. We are proud of our site's work, and will review 2009 accomplishments, and look ahead to 2010 plans, and seek participation and involvement as we continue to engage the community in the work and mission of the agency in the Parkersburg area.

Valentine's Day mini- fund raiser- Transitional Living Program

Lisa tells me she is organizing a "mini' fund raiser for Valentine's Day; selling chocolate lollipop's. I will have to get the details, as this is a quickly organized effort. Of course, you can get the most direct information by asking Lisa Doyle Parsons herself, when you can catch her.

The National Network for Youth symposium

I guess I haven't reported on Lisa and Katrina, and Randi and Shelby's trip to Washington DC yet. I hope I can figure out how to attach some pictures, too!! They had a great time; they visited Senator Byrd's office, saw some of the landmark's of Washington by night, rode the Metro (subway) and visited the National Zoo. They also took part in workshop sessions, met young people from Guam, Hawaii, the west coast, and many other places! They are excited by the experience, and intend to share some of their experiences, and use the opportunity to expand their youth leadership and voice here in the Parkersburg area, and are already looking to do some fund raising to pay for a return trip next January.

Foster Care licensing visit

Lewis Wolfe was here this week on two days to conduct the Parkersburg site's part of the statewide agency foster care licensing review, which is done every two years. Lewis has been involved in licensing of site programs (in two stints) for many years, and has a solid perspective about child welfare services in the state.

Parkersburg site's Little Red Stocking gets a wrap up

Brooke, Shelley and I met Wednesday, to put the finishing touches on the Little Red Stocking campaign for the Parkersburg site. We reviewed the way we kept track of the businesses contacted and followed up on, and the donations received and the distribution among the programs. We set some recommendations for the next year's campaign, and prepared to present information to the local advisory council, which meets next week (The 12th of February). Thanks to all the staff, the businesses and the community for your support of this campaign, which helps further the work we do with area children and families.

Truancy Diversion still on the statewide radar!

I attended a meeting that Scott Boileau of the Alliance for Children had arranged with the WV Education Associaion on Thursday in Charleston. Scott and I made a presentation about the Truancy Diversion program, as it had been in its "hey day" and as it is now, supported by the Wood Co. Board of Education. It is always intriguing to spread the word about this program, that has been shown to be quite effective in dealing with truancy and school attendance issues, and ultimately, impacting of drop out rates. We were well received among this "peer" cohort of folks, who want to improve the lives of students in our state.

Baby Shower at CHS-Parkersburg office

Thursday the staff of the Parkersburg site of CHS surprised Carna with a baby shower! She really was surprised, despite a lot of hustle and bustle planning involving a huge amount of people! There was some great food, organized by a wide range of the site staff, and some very nice baby shower presents. A rocking chair, hand made by a relative of Mary Metz, and some very "pink" beautiful (and many practical!) gifts were also shared. Carna was deeply touched, and the staff rallied around for a nice reason to celebrate over lunch.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jim, Ken, Chris are in Charleston at PRIDE training

Three of our local staff are in Charleston this week, at PRIDE training. This is the training that we give to foster parents (and in our case, Host Home parents) before they are brought on board. It is a nationally recognized training curriculum, and those who will provide the training must undergo a thorough training themselves. We are excited to have these three staff dedicating themselves to this training, and we hope it will create a strong recruitment, training, and home study "team" for the Parkersburg site. Despite their individual "nervousness" about presenting in front of others, I'm sure they will be doing a great job!!! They have to conduct a sample training session for the group.