Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An acknowledgement of our (last summer's!) summer program at the Neighborhood Center!

Hi Lisa and Steve,

A very belated but BIG THANK YOU to you, Shauna Davis, Mary Farnsworth, other CHS WV staff and volunteers, students, and everyone connected with the 2009 Summer Youth Enrichment Program for all your advance preparations and time in discussion during the Explorations grant site visit on July 30, 2009! I really enjoyed talking with everyone and appreciated the diverse perspectives on your project.

It's clear that you have an in-depth understanding of the needs of children and youth in your area and are building on many years of work and numerous connections to help Wood County kids today. I'm hopeful that the valuable services of the Children's Home Society of WV will be continued for years to come. Thank you for submitting the final narrative and financial reports (received October 27, 2009) and for providing numerous examples of recruiting, scheduling, and event information during and following the project. Progress of the Summer Youth Enrichment Program will be reported in WVSAN's report to the Benedum Foundation, providers of funding that made possible the Explorations grant program. If you would like to have photos included from your project, please send them (as e-mail attachments, if possible).

Thank you for all you do for children and youth in the out-of-school hours.

Jane Hange, Director
WV Statewide Afterschool Network

Monday, June 28, 2010

TLP program supporters helping with a Riverfront Roar food service as a fund raiser

Lisa D-P and myself, and several of our youth participants, will be helping a food service vendor sell food at Marietta's Riverfront Roar the weekend of the 10th of July as a fund raiser. It will be hot and sweltering no doubt, but the music, and fun of a summer riverfront festival will be exciting.

Chamber of Commerce Radio Spot

Next Wednesday, July 7th at 2 pm we have a radio spot with the Chamber of Commerce, where we can promote "anything we want" about our agency and programs. This is with Results Radio here in Parkersburg.

CHS Board member visit next Monday

Even though to many folks next Monday is a holiday (the delayed 4th of July holiday) we will be hosting a CHS Board member for a site visit. Dale Geiger, from the southern part of the state, will be stopping by. Dale is a staunch supporter of the agency, and the sites, and heads up the Social Service committee. He has been eager to visit our site. We always appreciate the opportunity to talk about all our work here to agency Board Members.

Glasser Group tomorrow night

Tomorrow, Lisa D-P and I will lead a monthly Glasser Group, our opportunity to get people from all ages, all programs together to have a support group on how to improve their lives and relationships and make healthy choices in their lives. 6 Pm is the time; the middle room, the Mid Town Family Resource Center is the place!

Our Summer Program starts today

Our Neighborhood Summer Program starts today. We will be serving a lunch provided by Wood County schools (and a snack) to any students that come. Figuring numbers is always a challenge! There will be enrichment academic opportunities (often in the guise of something fun!) and positive social skill building, craft and creative outlets, community service and youth leadership opportunities! Eileen Filozof, a member of our advisory council, and enthusiastic supporter of our After School program and neighborhood work, is helping majorly with the summer program, and is helping line up some volunteers and helpers. Today, Joyce Mather from the MOV United Way Alliance is coming to take some pictures of our agency and some volunteers and employees for their promotional material.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Foster Care Appreciation Picnic last evening

The CHS-Parkersburg site had a very successful Foster Care Appreciation Picnic last night, thanks to the hard work of not only the foster care staff, but many other staff at the site. The foster parents seemed to really appreciate the gifts and recognition of their work, and the foster kids and families enjoyed a very pleasant evening at Jackson Park in Vienna. The food was perfect for a picnic, and the staff hustled and bustled to not only set it up, hold the picnic, and clean up with a solid team effort. We really enjoyed the staff turnout, seeing the young kids and relaxing in a summer evening together.

Roane County Community Baby Shower

Barb and Mary are off to Roane County today to participate in a community baby shower. They will promote our programs, the CHIP enrollment process, and link with other service providers for early childhood care. They have many intriguing educational resources to share when they attend these community engagement events.

Parenting Session with Right From the Start families

Roberta held a parenting session last night at our offices for 6 parents in the Right from the Start program; including child care. The topic was discipline, and it was a well received effort, as parents were asking "when is the next one!!!" Congrats to Roberta for this innovative offering, in the spirit of helping families get together and learn together!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mid Town Family Resource Center's summer program

We will begin a 6 week summer program next Monday here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Noon to 4 pm, children and youth from the neighborhood will be able to come to the Center for a lunch, a snack, and some fun activities. There is a remedial school work aspect, exposure to some new positive activities, and many other things planned. Eileen Filozof has been a major contributor to helping organize the summer programming, and we greatly appreciate her support. She is a member of our Advisory Council, and has been actively involved in many Mid Town Family Resource Center events, and is a WE CAN volunteer mentor. We are patiently waiting to hear about the Summer Work Program through the local Workforce Investment Board, where perhaps 3 young people will be assigned to our site for their summer work experience, being paid through WIB funds. We will be reporting on how the summer program is going over the next few weeks.

Adoption Meeting

Carna and Shelley attending a statewide meeting yesterday in Flatwoods, where private providers were oriented to some of the aspects of handling adoption cases that previously the Department of Health and Human Resources adoption workers did. This has been a transition long in coming, where we can provide more cohesive continuity for adoptions for both the children and the adoptive families.

Tonight's Foster Care Appreciation Picnic

Its a sweltering stretch of days here as summer has begun; and we will have a picnic tonight in Vienna to honor our foster families. Greg has been organizing lots of food donations and some prizes for foster parents. We hope we don't get one of our traditional late afternoon thunderstorms, but we will have a fun picnic no matter what the weather!

Ann Griffith's projects

Ann Griffith, who has been with us since January, is winding down the projects she has been working on for us. The research and community engagement work she has done on the "In Home Family Education" community planning grant has been very effective, and will bear fruit for us for a long while, in our developing community engagement for our early childhood component of our mission. She has also worked on the "InRoads"/ CHIP enrollment project with Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. Ann ends her "official" time with us June 30th, but I am sure she will stay involved in some of our projects in a community capacity.

Life Skills Group

Missy and Lisa held a life skills session the other night, teaching about food purchases, preparing a simple, economical meal. The youth who participated have created a lot of informal support and comraderie through these sessions.

We received a second 5 Promises grant

Yesterday we received word we received a second 5 Promises grant, this time for $2500 to support the after school (and summer) program of the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Earlier (their first round) we had received a grant of $1200 to support the WE CAN program here at the site.

Federal Monitoring Review of our Runaway and Homeless Youth program

We had a federal monitoring review the past two days for our Basic Center Program of our Runaway and Homeless Youth grant. The monitors were encouraging and supportive of our work, and complimented the staff on our record keeping/ organization, and interviewed a number of people connected to the program, all of whom helped them see the commitment we have to the program and the youth served.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Advisory Council

The CHS-Parkersburg Advisory Council met today to further the planning of our November Stocking Auction event. There was a good group of people to share good ideas about how to make the event work. We will be putting out a summary of the discussion and "next steps" very soon. We welcomed back a member who hadn't been able to attend the last few meetings, and introduced a new member. A good representation of the staff were present also.

Summer Routines

Things shift around the CHS-Parkersburg site during the summer; we miss Mr. Apgar coming around with the students; the bustle of the after school program; some staff taking slightly different schedules in the summer. 4-H camps have already begun, and foster families are shifting to summer routines, too. Stay tuned for updates about some of our summer activities!

Shelley's father

We are saddened by the death of Shelley's father recently. Mick Plauche was very proud of his daughter and her accomplishments with the agency over these past 10 years or so; the development of the new Gustke Shelter, and her leadership role at the site. Shelley has been taking care of details of his memorial service, since this was a sudden unexpected death.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Well, we made it through the exhausting, exhilerating Shindig! This outdoor music festival was a benefit fund raiser for our CHS-Parkersburg site. We had rain throughout most of the event, so that obviously created some problems and distractions, but we kept going! The staff of the agency, and some loyal supporters worked incredibly hard to set up this event, and all their work paid off with a well run, enjoyable day of music, and raising awareness about CHS-Parkersburg, and gathering some donations and contributions. The music was excellent throughout the day, and we got lots of accolades for the music and sound. The food wagon from the North End Tavern and Brewery was a nice touch for the event. We thank Dennis Sutton and Mary White for coming up to support our event, and we think they enjoyed it. Mark Spangler, from our Alliance Partner, Davis Stuart, and his "family band" did a great set of music, and stayed around to enjoy the fellowship. By the evening, the rain had subsided, so those who came out later, or persevered, got to enjoy a pleasant (if still somewhat muggy!) evening of music. This was declared a "success" and adds to our Americana Music Tribute Series greatly- it was fun to see so many children there, and up there leading the dancing to the music!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shindig Three Days AWAY!

Its Wednesday night; a 12 hour trip to Morgantown is safely finished. Stopping in the office to catch up on messages. Can't help but put in yet another plug for our fund raiser music festival this Saturday. We decided on the name "Shindig" to show that it was a "festive party" - probably came from a "kick in the shins"- which means people up and dancing. A big exuberant party, often involving dancing. A bash, a blast, a blowout. That should pretty much sum it up. Now remember, this is our first attempt at such a shindig. We are getting to be old hats at the Americana Tribute Shows; this will be our eighth year for a John Prine Tribute, and Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan have all had several tributes. But an outdoor festival, with great West Virginia musicians singing their own original songs, and entertaining a wide audience of music lovers and agency supporters is a new and unknown thing. Please spread the word, get people intrigued and excited to come out and see what the Shindig is all about. 3 Pm this Saturday, the music begins! Thanks to all the staff and supporters in the community who are making this a reality!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Agency Founder's Day yesterday in Charleston

It was a sweltering steamer yesterday in Charleston (it only sprinkled though, as opposed to Parkersburg that had waves of thunderstorms, but still stayed very muggy and humid!) The agency Founders Day was a nice event at the Davis Shelter site (and Adoption Resource Center). There were many "alumni" of the Davis Shelter, or the agency's adoption services. And many long time supporters, board members, and current staff and shelter residents. I assume there were also adoptive parents and foster parents among those present. There was picnic food, and carnival type games, and lots of give aways! The presenters did a great job of putting into context the agency and its great legacy and historic depth. The tug of war was won by Dennis' team this year, with Keith Spears unable to participate, so now Dennis will have the bragging rights.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1st Annual MId Ohio Valley Shindig- one week away!

Many staff are working hard on the details of the fund raising musical outdoor festival we are calling "The Shindig." Its next Saturday, June 12 starting at 3 pm and running through 6 acts of music until around 11 pm. Donation of $10 gets you a full day of fine West Virginia music. My son Andy will be kicking the music off with a short set, since he will be back later to perform the closing act, with his band, The Greens. Andy has some great song writing skills and is a very personable performer. He has lots of long time fans in the Parkersburg area, that don't get to see him as much lately, as he is centered in Morgantown. Kathleen Coffee comes on next. Kathleen is someone I met a few years back as she came to a show we were sponsoring here in Parkersburg of a mutually admired singer songwriter, Anais Mitchell. She has done two coffee houses for us at our store front, to great audience acclaim. She also participated in a song writer contest in Marietta a few years back, and came away as the winner! She performed at the Mid Ohio Valley Players Theater, as part of that event. She will charm and wow the audience at our Shindig. She has a my space site, and a facebook site that you can check out her songs and bio. Coming up next will be Mark Spangler, and one of his "offshoot" projects, some accompanists called The Minor Prophets. Mark is the director of Davis-Stuart group homes, an Alliance for Children Partner to CHS. Mark is a great performer, stage presence, and talented songwriter and musician. We are honored to have him venture up from the southern part of the state to participate in this first event. Liecus, a local band will perform next. Eric Seevers, who has worked at the Shelter is a mainstay of Liecus, a popular band in the area, with a loyal and enthusiastic following. Nick Barry will perform next. Nick, who has been doing much work for CHS-Parkersburg in the painting, repairs, "handyman" line for a number of years, is a veteran of the local music scene, with a lot of popularity over the years for his songs and performances. And finally, closing the show will be the Greens, a band with Mid OHio Valley roots, who enjoy a strong following across the state of West Virginia, and have performed many holiday shows, and steady gigs across the state, keeping music lovers happy with good dance-able songs, wildly diverse and free-ranging styles, and inspired creative bursts. We hope you'll spread the word, and help us make this debut event a success.

Hosting a meeting on our Promise Neighborhood grant application

We hosted a productive meeting yesterday of some key community folks as we prepare an ambitious grant application for a "promise neighborhood" project. This would be a "cradle to college" comprehensive neighborhood approach to helping children and families at all stages of children's key times to prepare them for school, and during school, and to successfully transition to adulthood. This grant will be going in over the next few weeks.

Senator Jay Rockefeller's visit to our site

Wednesday, we were honored to have Senator Jay Rockefeller visit our site. He had initiated the idea of having a round table discussion among VISTA workers in our area, as part of a celebration and acknowledgement of the 45th anniversary of VISTA. Jay had come to WV in the mid-1960's to work under VISTA in Boone County. This was a formative experience for him, and led to his career long commitment to the people of West Virginia. He really spent the time to listen to the current VISTA's in Wood County talk about what motivates them to volunteer and serve, and what their hopes and dreams were. He listened closely to some of the successes and challenges of the projects the VISTA's work on. We came away very impressed with his commitment and dedication to service and people in need. There was coverage by the local TV and newspaper that you can track down through WTAP and Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Senator Jay Rockefeller visits our office tomorrow!

We are very proud to host Senator Jay Rockefeller tomorrow at our office. He asked us to host a round table discussion he is having in Wood County with area VISTA volunteers. Our two VISTA's will be among the participants. We'll tell you more how it goes after tomorrow! We are excited to have such an honored guest at our humble little site of CHS.