Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Youth Service Systems liaison visited yesterday

Our Transitional Living Program is a sub-contract with Youth Services System of Wheeling. Pam Jeffers, our liaison with YSS stopped down to visit Lisa, and go over program details yesterday. They took a "wild ride" out to our host home in Wirt County as part of the day's activities! Lisa felt the visit went well, and helped her focus some of her busy case work- and Pam is always a pleasant and supportive visitor! This program is really a hopping one for us; with lots of good support given to many young adults in the community.

Welcome to a new after school tutor

The Gustke Shelter students now have a new after school tutor who began this week; Laurie. We welcome her, and already she is putting a lot of positive energy into the students tutoring needs (even despite the great spring weather that makes it hard to work on homework!!)

School is winding down before Spring Break!

There is only one more day of school before spring break. The after school staff has remained very busy, creative and energetic at their work with the McKinley students. Saturday, there is an Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by several area, and neighborhood churches, that we are invited to- and they will be promoting our "pinwheel" campaign to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which starts tomorrow. Stay tuned for many more examples of activities and community awareness we are going to be engaged in during April.

Jim and Chris have begun some PRIDE training

PRIDE is the acronym for the foster parent training that our agency uses to prepare foster and adoptive parents. Jim and Chris, in our Runaway and Homeless Youth program (Basic Center) were trained in PRIDE a month or so ago, and have begun a PRIDE training process with a local family.

Hosting the Alliance for Children board meeting

The Gustke Shelter hosted the Alliance for Children board meeting today. Scott Boileau and the member agency exec's had a full agenda- but were graciously hosted by Denise and the Gustke Shelter staff, for a tour, a lunch and general fine hospitality. Several of the Board members also got a quick tour of the community based services offices, and seemed intrigued by the many programs and services and examples of community engagement they observed.

Advisory Council meeting recap

We had a great Advisory Council meeting yesterday here at the Parkersburg site of CHS. Kathy Johnson and Mary White visited to participate. We had one new member, and a good solid crew of the on-going members. The staff were also well represented. We covered a LOT of group, with the primary goal of taking the initial planning steps for our fall major fund raiser event. Stay tuned to hear updates on the next planning steps. All of the Council members made great contributions, and we appreciated Mary and Kathy's input also. The staff are always appreciated of the support shown by the Advisory Council, as we gear up for a great year of 2010 in our outreach and development, and community engagement.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parents "Good Beginnings" Retreat - first report

Lisa gave a quick, preliminary report that the retreat went excellently at North Bend State Park this weekend (when she returned to drop off some items to the office). I will be eager to hear a fuller report, and get some reactions and some sense of what this did for the parents in terms of leadership development! And, of course, will be eager to hear the "fun" stories, too!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Glasser" Group last night

LIsa did a great job leading the "glasser group" last night- we did a series of worksheets/ questions/ on the 5 basic needs. There was a great group of teens (and older) and a few "token" adults!!! These groups are always stimulating, and despite everyone's busy lives, we are very glad we "hang in there" and keep scheduling them! Next meeting is April 15th: Tax Day; Shelby's birthday! April's calendar for the Mid Town Family Resource Center is going to be VERY Packed!

Info as part of our Parent's Retreat this weekend

A goal of Children’s Home Society of WV has always been to strengthen families and nurture children. Researchers have identified the 5 key elements of family and community that work to protect and nurture children. These are called protective factors and include the following:

• Knowledge of parenting and child development: Accurate information about raising children and appropriate expectations for their behavior.
• Parental resilience: The ability to cope and bounce back from all types of challenges.
• Social connections: Friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of a community who provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents.
• Concrete support in times of need: Financial security to cover day-to-day expenses and unexpected costs that come up from time to time; access to formal supports like CHIP, and informal support from social network.
• Children’s social and emotional competence: A child’s ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions effectively.

One of the ways we hope to builder a stronger, safer community for our children is to teach and train the families living in the community how to strengthen other families in the neighborhood. As we talked about earlier this week, the goal of this weekend is to increase parent involvement with each other (building social connections) and to further develop parenting and leadership skills to help you feel comfortable to reach out to other parents, sharing with them information you’ve learned.

It is our hope that you’ll want to work together to plan future family/parent events that would benefit a larger population of the neighborhood. An immediate opportunity is an event scheduled in April; a community discussion to address WV’s Most Critical Question:
How Do We Keep Our Children Free from Abuse and Neglect?

DVD “Circles of Caring”

Preview Discussion Guide and Moderator’s Guide.

How Can You Help?

Who to Invite?

How / Where / When to Advertise/Invite?

Contact Newspaper/ Television for coverage?

Plan for Child Care?


Need a Recorder

One approach to the prevention of child abuse and neglect is to provide support and information to parents. Your responses to the following questions will help us learn how to better provide that support to parents in this community.

Where and how do parents learn parenting?

What programs are there in our community to help support parents?

Why are some parents reluctant to ask for help?

What is the appropriate role for neighbors and communities in supporting families?

What can we do to provide better support and information to parents in our community?

How can you personally act to support and strengthen families in your life?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Family Night Fun

We had about 35 people at our monthly family night last night for the Mid Town Family Resource Center. A good mix of children and parents, old and new. The food was good as always, chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, and apple crisp. The parents watched a video from Prevent Child Abuse, on ways to nurture, protect, and raise healthy children, not only in a family but in a community. The participants made observations about the video, and what we are trying to create here in the neighborhood with families. Two lucky winners won some gift cards, compliments of Urban Ministries. Another successful "social connecting" experience for the families and our staff.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

KIDS COUNT 20th birthday celebration luncheon

Two of us are attending the KIDS COUNT luncheon tomorrow, which is the 20th annivesary of the WV KIDS COUNT effort. It is also a celebration and acknowledgment of the Business on Board campaign, where local businesses who support quality early child care are being recognized for their advocacy. We have been the local lead agency for some of the KIDS COUNT public awareness campaign over the past two years regarding quality early child care.

Tonight is Family Night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

Tonight is the monthly Family Night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. These are critical parts of our purpose and mission in the neighborhood, where we create an opportunity for families to get together, share a meal, feel connected to others, and perhaps have a little program of value to strengthening families, or reducing family stressors. Tonight we are showing a video provided by Prevent Child Abuse WV on things communities can do to prevent child abuse. This is leading up to some exciting activities in April, which is Child Abuse Prevention month.

Our Good Beginnings "mom's retreat this coming weekend

We are having a parent's retreat for 4 of our moms in our neighborhood program this weekend at North Bend State Park. We have two cabins rented. This is being funded through the Prevent Child Abuse chapter in WV, as a Good Beginnings mini-grant; which supports innovative efforts to strengthen families and address the protective factors that prevent child abuse. The concept is that we are building leadership among some of the committed parents in our neighborhood work, so they can contribute to the "social connections" that parents have in the neighborhood. They will have some sessions on stress reduction, leadership, child discipline, and how they can assist our agency in child abuse prevention efforts. They will also have fun and get a break from their own busy lives!!! Stay tuned for a report after the weekend- we are hoping they have GREAT weather out there at the park!

local "PALS" screening last Friday

Wood County holds a very comprehensive screening for children in the community as they prepare to enter school. This has been an annual spring event for a number of years. Its held at WVU-P (during their spring break, because its a BIG effort that takes up a LOT of room out there at the college!) CHS-Parkersburg was represented with a display and some staff observing and supporting the effort.

Foster Caregivers Association meeting

I attended a state wide organizing meeting of the Foster Caregivers Association in Charleston last Saturday. This group is working hard to develop its structure and organization. It is trying to be practical in terms of being a statewide group, with the challenges of travel and meetings. There were about 20 people, mostly foster or adoptive parents. They passed some by laws, and did some strategic planning. There is a next meeting in April in Morgantown.

It is one of our local site strategic goals to have our foster parents become involved in leadership and support efforts for themselves, as well as marketing and development and advocacy efforts for the agency.

Our In Home Family Education project update

We had a good presentation last week from Diane Hughes, with a Parents as Teachers project in Kanawha County last week, with some good turnout and enthusiasm from local partners. This was a next step for our In Home Family Education planning grant project, to hear about one of the models endorsed in West Virginia. The presentation was solid, and the questions and observations by the participants showed good insight into our community (and the needs of young families). Stay tuned for more updates as this project proceeds.

Monday, March 15, 2010

cancellation of coffee house this Friday; stay tuned for what Lisa D-P has in store!

Unfortunately, we are having to cancel the previously announced coffee house for this Friday, Roger has a conflict. Lisa will be putting her creative thinking cap on and coming up with another youth drop in center activity for the night, possibly a movie. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

April Fools!

On April Fools Day, April 1st (a Thursday) we will be having a little song swap/ guitar pull here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center, starting at 7 pm. The theme will be songs with Lyrics that Make No Sense. I came on this idea while at Mountain Stage a few weeks ago, and listening to the Sweetback Sisters sing Roger Miller's "My Uncle used to love me but she died." This rendition was a very creative and funky version, which harkened me back to all the songs I love (but whose lyrics you just can't quite make any logical sense of). Certain Beatles tunes, (Come Together, I am the Walrus), Bob Dylan (Quinn the Eskimo, You Ain't Going Nowhere) and Roger Miller (You can't rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd) come to mind. Greg Brown's Rooty toot toot to the Moon.
So this is an open invitation to music lovers in the Parkersburg area to come out and bring their musical instruments, and play us a song. This will be real informal and trading songs is encouraged. Kazoos will be provided.

Coffee House returns at Mid Town Family Resource Center

Its been awhile since we have held a coffee house here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. This coming Friday night we are hosting Roger Adkins, a neighbor and blues guitarist. March 19th, at 7 pm in door # 3 of our offices, Roger (and possibly some friends) will be performing some songs in the blues style. Roger became aware of our "musical" nature during the Shine and Dine last fall, and then saw information about the Americana Music Tribute Series recently, and took the initiative to contact me. He came over to do a little "audition" a week or so ago, and we arranged to do a little coffee house. We hope this gets a little momentum built back up for live music events here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. It will serve as a youth drop-in night, too. Roger will be able to talk to any youth about how he got started playing the guitar, and the influences and styles he has discovered.

Friday, March 12, 2010

21st Century Community Learning Center grant application submitted

Kathrn Kandas and our site staff have been working on preparing a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant application for several months. These grants come down from the federal government to the state's Departments of Education, to support comprehensive after school (out of school time) programming at the community level. Kathrn worked very hard over several months to develop a very fine application proposing a Wood County collaborative after school program. Wood County schools, through their grant developer, Chris Whytsell, provided a lot of assistance in developing the grant. The Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA also collaborated, and should the grant be accepted, would provide after school care at several locations. Many other partners are outlined in the proposal, built up partners over many years for CHS-Parkersburg. A grant for Wood County has been submitted the last two years, by the school system, and we haven't been funded. We will hear in several months about this application, and the prospects for providing a wider impact after school program in Wood County next year.
CHS-Parkersburg would provide after school care at McKinley and Fairplains schools in Wood County, as well as develop some new after school programming at Vandevender. We would also provide the overall project coordination through a project leader; working with the two sites the YMCA would have at schools, and the Boys and Girls Club as a site. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Girl Scout cookie sale out front in the beautiful spring weather!

Mary Farnsworth, who is the troop leader for our Girl Scout troop, and several of our after school program helpers had a little impromptu Girl Scout cookie sale out in front of our offices yesterday afternoon. I don't know what the total sales were, but the girls enjoyed the spring weather very energetically right outside Brooke's office space!!!!

Mr. Apgar goes on a Ski Trip

We welcome Jerry Spencer back for a brief interlude spelling Mr. Apgar, who is our regular teacher/ tutor with the McKinney Vento homeless student program. Mr. Apgar is on a ski trip, and Jerry fills in admirably when John is gone. There are a good number of students right now, utilizing the services of this program we offer. The students often get quite a boost by this temporary educational opportunity; many of them returning later to express their appreciation for the guidance it provided in their future educational endeavors.

Charles working some longer days

We note that Charles, one of our two workers with the Senior Community Service Workers Program has been able to work some longer days for a stretch of time. Charles does a lot of helpful things around our offices, and always has a willingness to do something that is asked of him.

Off to Philadelphia to a Runaway and Homeless Youth Grantee meeting

I am off on a whirlwind trip to Philadelphia to meet with other Runaway and Homeless Youth program staff and the technical assistance people from the University of Oklahoma. We will visit a transitional living program in downtown Philadelphia as part of the meeting.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Denise's mother's passing

We are sorry to report that Denise Hughes' mother died last night. Our sympathies to her family as they grieve the passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Denise.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Case solved!

Thanks to Detective Stalnaker of the Parkersburg Police, we have some of the mystery solved as to our break in a few weeks ago. A 14 year old confessed to breaking the window, and two other youth (13 and 15) were identified as involved in the theft of the computers and gaming equipment. Two items were recovered at one youth's house (though they were damaged beyond repair). This helps us at least get "closure" on the sad event, and further commits us to trying to help the families in the neighborhood raise their children under the "5 Promises: of caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to help others.

Volunteers Help set up Music Area in "suite 4" of our offices

Jeanine, Heather and Jen helped us create a music celebration area in Suite 4 of our offices here; vinyl records on display, and memorabilia from the Americana Music Tribute Series!!! Thanks to this great volunteer crew!!!!!

One of "our" One Stop's received a top ten award for participation in the Little Red Stocking Campaign- the Kenna One Stop

KIDS COUNT Business on Board recognition presentation to Richard Adams of United Bank

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shelley's site report card- a perfect score!

At the directors meeting of the agency last week, all the site staff can be proud that the Parkersburg site's score was a perfect score on all 13 categories the sites are rated on for marketing and development. Shelley has done a great job of leading the site's marketing and development efforts during her year of leadership.

Our sympathies for Lisa Doyle Parsons loss of her brother

We just heard the sad news late yesterday that Lisa's brother died suddenly and unexpectedly. Lisa and her family are in our prayers today, as they deal with this difficult event.