Tuesday, August 31, 2010

(unfortunately) a not uncommon occurrence.....

Late yesterday afternoon (6:30 pm) I am looking out my window at work, down the alley that runs off our parking lot. I see a grade school age boy, with a few even YOUNGER children looking on; nervously shaking a spray paint can, and peering around the edge of a brick building down the alley. Then he begins adding to an existing bit of graffiti on the wall. Austi, our new worker in the After School program (who is younger and has fresher running legs) offers to run down the alley and interrupt and confront the youngster. She shoos him off, gets the offending spray paint can, and comes back to the office. She has endeared herself to me, with her quick action and firm confronting of the child. All up the alley is graffiti, and signs of the "broken window" phenomenon of sociology. In broad daylight! Its what we want to impact in our work in the neighborhood.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spoke at First United Methodist Church in Parkersburg

The Fifth Sunday is a Sunday where First United Methodist Church calls a Mission Sunday, and they take up a collection for a service organization to support. They invite someone from that group to speak during the service, and then have a salad lunch afterward to welcome the guest and offer time for parishoners to talk to that organization's representative. Yesterday, Children's Home Society of WV-Parkersburg was the invited organization, and I spoke to the congregation and shared the lunch meal with them afterward. It was an opportunity to take about our mission and our services in the community, and ways the church community could be involved with us, through giving, mentoring, foster parenting and supporting the individual programs through collections of needed items. I was warmly welcomed, and saw several familiar faces from town, and acknowledged the church's past support of our agency, particulary the Gustke Shelter. Mr. Edwin Dils is a long time member of the church, and a long time supporter of the Shelter. Mr. Dils is in poor health, and prayers were asked for him during the service.

Lewisburg's Make It Right For Kids night benefit

I traveled to Lewisburg to attend the annual major fund raising event for the Lewisburg site of our agency. This auction is in its 5th year. There is a lot of great community support for the agency in that community, which is apparent when attending this event. Great food and donations of items for the auction; some obviously committed donors and sponsors and supporters were out in full force. Lots of good community engagement going on at the Lewisburg site!

TLP program works at the Honey Festival

Lisa and some of her volunteers, manned the ticket booths at the Honey Festival in Parkersburg this weekend, to receive $100 to benefit the Transitional Living Program here at the Parkersburg site. Lisa works hard to promote the program and the site's work and mission every opportunity she can. This Wednesday, they are working at CiCi's Pizza in Vienna to receive 10% of the evening's proceeds.

Off the Wall Art Benefit

Ashley organized a first time event to benefit the WE CAN program here at the site that was held this past Saturday at Full Circle Yoga in Vienna. This was an event where 12 local artists display their art work at the Yoga Studio, and supporters and art patrons came to enjoy the art, some refreshments, and some classy surroundings and company! The patrons could buy art work, and the artists tended to contribute some part of their proceeds back to the benefit. There was a cover charge/ ticket for attending. There were door prizes given through the evening. The artists seemed especially pleased with the opportunity to display their art, and "network" with other artists. Many of the artists will now donate a piece of their work to our site's November HeART for the Holidays benefit at the Art Center. Ashley did a great job of organizing the event, and Lori Tafaute, of the Full Circle Yoga studio, who "dreamed up" the idea, are to be congratulated for this very nice "first time" event. Ashley can provide the names of the artists who participated, and any additional follow up information anyone is interested in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Make It Right For Kids night

Tomorrow I am going down to the Lewisburg site of our agency to attend their annual fund raising auction, the Make It Right For Kids night. We hope to pick up some ideas of how they run their very successful community fund raising event. I'll give a report next week!
Meanwhile, Ashley has organized an art auction of our own this Saturday (which I'll come back for!) called the "off the wall" benefit. Local artists work will be on display and auctioned in this first time event at the Full Circle Yoga studio in Vienna.

This week saw two grant applications submitted

We submitted grants to the Sisters of Saint Joseph Charitable Fund and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation this week. The Sisters grant would allow us to start up a Parents As Teachers program here from our site. This early childhood home visit program is an evidence based model that already has been functioning in a number of WV counties. It would work in conjunction with Right From the Start to serve families beyond the infant's first birthday.
The PACF grant would help support the work of the Mid Town Family Resource Center and the after school program.

Start of the School Year

The Mid Town Family Resource Center and its after school program for students from McKinley Elementary School are off to a busy start; the enrollment is already up to the numbers of previous years. The staff are getting to know the students and parents, and organizing their activities and structure. We will operate many of the same great opportunities for neighborhood kids: 4-H, Girl Scouts, Neighborhood Day, Family Nights, and the like.

Site Wide Staff meeting yesterday

23 site staff attended a quarterly staff meeting yesterday, covering a wide range of topics, and allowing lots of opportunity to share updates and inter-program communication. New staff were introduced, and oriented to the vast array of programs and complex communication challenges at the site. Lots of upcoming events were promoted, and issues such as the facility, training, strategic planning, were discussed. Christina took minutes and is working them up for staff who were unable to attend. Three lucky winners won restaurant gift certificates at the end of the meeting; and staff were provided the opportunity to pick books from Steve's work related library!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Site Wide Staff Meeting this Wednesday

School starts back up tomorrow for Wood County students. Wednesday, we will have a site wide staff meeting at 10 am for all local site staff. We have lots going on; lots to communicate; lots of ideas to bandy about. Stay tuned for a report!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh, some busy days; lots to post but not disciplined with my blogging!

There is lots to post on the blog about the CHS-Parkersburg site; but I have gotten sloppy about my blogging discipline. I'll try to do better, maybe even this weekend!
School is starting back up Monday here in Wood County; and the after school crew is geared up. We had a fantastic family night here last night for the Mid Town Family Resource Center. We had a good life skills/ Glasser Group Tuesday night. The shelter had a back to school fun night last night. Busy, busy, busy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 24; Appreciation Lunch for DHHR workers

Tuesday, August 24th, the foster care staff are having an informational session and appreciation lunch for DHHR workers from the area, to show them about our foster care program, and acknowledge their work with children in foster care.

This coming Wednesday we welcome the new site manager from Morgantown to visit our site

Kurt Schmidt will visit our CHS-Parkersburg site Wednesday, to spend some time with key program staff in foster care, adoption and Right From the Start. He will also get a look at how another site is organized and operates in general. We welcome Kurt, and both Shelley and I feel he is off to a great start in Morgantown!

a Respite from the busy goings-on at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

This week brought an almost eerie quiet to the Mid Town Family Resource Center, as the summer program had ended, and its still over a week till school starts. Lisa took a well deserved break, and Shauna is still on her honeymoon!

Advisory Council meeting yesterday

We had a very good Advisory Council meeting yesterday here at CHS-Parkersburg. There was lots of valuable input and opportunity to share ideas and connect with people. The main task at hand is the November auction at the Art center, but the council shows lots of commitment and interest in all the things going on at the site.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tomorrow Night is the next event in the Americana Music Tribute Series- Neil Young tribute

Saturday, August 14th has arrived; and tomorrow night we will hold the next event in our year-long Americana Music Tribute Series. This month we are celebrating the music of Neil Young. 9 Pm at 6 Pence Pub for a $5 donation, you can help support the WE CAN program at the Parkersburg site of CHS. There will be local musicians who contribute their time and talent, and we will have some contests and prizes throughout the evening. Come out and support CHS and enjoy a good evening of music honoring Neil Young's contribution to the American music world.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Career Day at the Summer Program of the Mid Town Family Resource Center

The second Career Day was held on Friday, July 30th, as part of the Mid Town Family Resource Center’s Summer Youth Program. The program was attended by 18 youth, four from the Gustke Shelter and 14 from the Summer Youth Program. Guest speakers included Jodi Smith, WVU Extension Agent; Sgt. Anthony Spence, U.S. Army; Stacy O’Dell, DHHR Child Protective Service Worker; Eileen Filozof, PhD, Health and Wellness Instructor; Laurie Andell, Teacher; and David Danner, a former Tow Boat worker. Two firemen from the local station also came to speak and show the students the fire truck. Within the first five minutes of their presentation, they were required to answer a call and had to leave. The kids were disappointed to miss the tour of the truck but were thrilled to see the firemen leave with, lights flashing and sirens wailing! Refreshments were served to those attending and the afternoon was enjoyed by all.

Back to School Family Night and Shelter Back to School Night

August 19th will bring TWO back to school events to our site; the monthly Family Night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center and a special back to school event for the Gustke Shelter residents.

Site Wide Staff Meeting August 25th

We will be having a site wide staff meeting August 25th. These quarterly gatherings are important because of all the programs and work we do, and keeping communication strong. We review our strategic plan and things that are important for all staff to know about each other's programs and overall site details.

saying good bye to Patty Ralston, VISTA

Patty Ralston left her VISTA assignment with us at the beginning of August after two years. VISTA's may only serve 3 years, and Patty had a previous assignment at WVU-P, so her term was up. Patty really promoted the WV Promise message, and worked with many of the other VISTA projects around the state over her two years. We wish Patty well with future endeavors, and appreciate her spirit and spunk with helping our agency and our mission.

we welcome a new site manager at Morgantown

Shelley is actively involved in helping orient the agency's new site manager in Morgantown, Kurt Schmidt, as part of her regional duties. Kurt will come here to get some additional orientation in foster care and Right From the Start at some point, as well as to see how we do the community engagement and development and marketing work at our site for the agency. Welcome to Kurt!

Advisory Council meeting upcoming

August 13th is our next Advisory Council meeting here at the Parkersburg site of CHS. Its at 10 am and in our 5th suite. All staff and supporters are welcome to attend; we maintain a pretty ambitious and lively agenda and planning process! We have continued to work with Jodie Boylen, as a new member, and prospective full board member of the agency, representing our area. Jodie will be unable to attend this meeting, but she stopped by for a site visit last week, and is very insightful and versed on our services and child welfare in general.

Life Skills Session last night

Participants will be talking for weeks about Lisa D-P's performance last night as a job interviewee and how NOT to dress, and act during a job interview! The young people were being helped to understand the job interview and application process by Travis Smith from Youth Advantage (a long time friend of the agency's, and long time Truancy Diversion worker), and our own Missy Storey and Lisa. Lisa did all the wrong things to show what NOT to do in an interview. Travis then conducted himself very well in how TO handle yourself in an interview. The youth got a lot out of this session. Missy and Lisa do these sessions on a regular basis.

Woody Guthrie Tribute

We had a big crowd for the Woody Guthrie tribute last week; this was the first coffee house setting event of the year, and all sorts of people came out. Our three musicians didn't quite know what to expect in terms of an audience, and they adapted well to the wide mix of ages and musical attention spans!!! Our next scheduled coffee house is September 16th when Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart return for a third visit.

Congratulations to Shauna!

Shauna Davis and John Kelley got married this past Saturday here in Parkersburg. Shauna has been in our Mid Town Family Resource Center for several years working with the children in the after school program, and the families in the neighborhood. Shauna has been instrumental in development of our 4-H club here and providing the opportunity for many neighborhood children to attend camps, and other leadership and new experiences through 4-H. Shauna has been working hard on her teaching degree, and has utilized her skills to be the academic coordinator of our after school program for several years. She mentors and role models for many of our volunteers, interns, and young workers in the program, and she has deep roots and commitment to the children and families of the neighborhood, and the agency. John and Shauna are on a honeymoon to Hawaii!!! Shauna begins her student teaching with the school year starting up later in the month. She will continue to work in the after school program, when she gets off for the day from student teaching!!