Kevin Montgomery is a singer songwriter who has taken on an exciting and intriguing project. He is performing 50 shows in 50 states in 50 days across America; and his purpose is to raise awareness of the plight of young people aging out of foster care. He is doing it in conjunction with a project called The Orange Duffle Bag Foundation. Its based on a book of the same name by Sam Bracken, a "veteran" of the foster care system. Kevin was in Parkersburg last night for his WV stop, doing a house concert at a musician friend of mine. He interviewed me as he is doing in every state; someone connected with foster care; some youth, some adults. If you go to his website, within a few days, my interview may be posted as a you tube video.
You can check out the two websites: the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation, or the 50 states in 50 days tour.........
Kevin is a very inspiring fellow; very personable and a talented musician and songwriter, too!!!!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday night we had a very fun and successful kick off event to our CHS-Parkersburg site's Little Red Stocking campaign. Our second Little GREEN stocking benefit concert by the Greens here in Parkersburg raised over $1270 to get the pumped primed for our campaign. We thank 6 Pence Pub for hosting the event, and getting the Stockings flowing over the Thanksgiving weekend holiday; to the tune of over $300 in stockings so far. The crowd for the music was one of the biggest draws for music at the Pub this year. Lots of loyal Greens fans were back in town for the holidays, and many of their local loyal fans use this as a holiday celebration, after family dinners and such. The Greens let me get up and sing a few songs in the set break, where Andy and I get to harmonize on some old favorites. We hope this momentum early in the Little Red Stocking season will carry forward with the many other businesses we have distributed stockings to in the lead up.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
We had a fantastic event yesterday for the Transitional Living Program for the CHS-Parkersburg site. Lisa Doyle Parsons and her helpers, and several other program staff, joined forces to create a very welcoming meal and event. We had our new agency Board Member (who is also an Advisory Council member here) Barbara Fish join us, and Delegate Tom Azinger. We also had Shannon Morgan of the Wood County FRN, and some representatives of Youth Advantage. We had guests / helpers from WVU-P, and family and friends, too. The youth in the program made brief presentations of their situations and how they have been involved in the the program; and Lisa had put together a most excellent power point of some of the activities and young people involved in the program. An excellent tradition meal was prepared lovingly and served to great fellowship and appreciation by all. There were probably 30 people present, and it furthered the connection of many people to our work here at CHS-Parkersburg.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Parkersburg site of CHS has participated in a flurry of events recently. For National Hunger and Homelessness week; our staff were involved in a number of awareness raising and support events in the community. These included the second annual "Reality Walk" where 150 community members went on a symbolic walk in downtown Parkersburg and heard stories of real life experiences with homelessness and the circumstances they face, and the agencies that are tasked with providing support and assistance. Friday, we hosted a community resource fair in our parking lot; where organizations had tables of information set up. Saturday, our own adoption/ foster care social worker, Carna Metheney-White was honored with an award for her work with adoption at the National Adoption Awareness event at the Clay Center in Charleston. 66 people attended our Mid Town Family Resource Center family night (monthly) Holiday meal this past Thursday. This really strained the welcoming family resource center, but thanks to Homeland Community Church for providing the food and lots of support to our MTFRC.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We had our fund raiser event at the Parkersburg Art Center Saturday night, and everyone is pleased with the overall outcome. We have now calculated the total revenue for the event to be over $6000! We have estimated over 100 people in attendance; many new folks to a Children's Home Society event. Ideas for next year and improvements in the planning are already churning around in people's heads. The Advisory Council and staff will begin soon to process the event and do the initial planning for another event next year.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Lisa, with our Transitional Living Program, is off to the national, annual Runaway and Homeless Youth conference, organized by the technical assistance contractor, the University of Oklahoma, in Orlando Florida. She will attend workshops relevant to runaway and homeless youth staff, and hear speakers and perspectives on our challenging work with youth. She is looking forward to the conference, as she has attended several conferences and always benefits greatly from the experience. I am sorry not to be able to also attend, but our own agency's annual meeting and conference supersedes this event.
Brooke and Carna are spearheading our Little Red Stocking from our site this year. Lots of businesses are being contacted and stockings distributed. This statewide campaign for the agency, is a major effort. Locally raised funds stay in the local community to support our work here. I took some stockings to a local live music establishment (that hosts our Americana Music events) and the owner was excited to challenge her wait staff to raise over $500. This place, the 6 Pence Pub, on 7th Street in Parkersburg is hosting our "kick off" event for the Little Red Stocking campaign, a concert featuring The Greens, a popular WV band, in what we are referring to as "The Little Green Stocking" benefit. The proceeds of that event will come to the Little Red Stocking campaign for the Parkersburg site. Its Friday, November 26th starting at 9 pm; for a $5 cover. Come out after a family celebration, or a shopping frenzy on Black Friday, and see an exuberant band play their hearts out for an adoring audience. Many young people who live elsewhere, but grew up in Parkersburg came back for this homecoming get-together.
A coalition that raises awareness about issues of homelessness in our community is having a second Reality Walk on Saturday November 20th in downtown Parkersburg. A number of our staff are active participants in this coalition, and many community members commented last year about the powerful impact of this "hands on" event. We feel good about our contribution, and the engagement in the community this represents, as well as generating referrals for our services, and support of our work.
Tomorrow night is the 2nd fund raiser event we have held this time of year in conjunction with the Parkersburg Art Center. Ashley Way and a number of members of our local advisory council have been spearheading this effort this year. The name is an indication of the connection to the art center, and the handmade Christmas stockings that will abound at the auction. Both silent and live auction items have been gathered from a wide range of supporters in the community. Attendees will bid on items, and support our work, as well as the Parkersburg Art Center. It starts at 5:30 pm tomorrow night. Please come and help make this a successful fund raiser to support our work with area children and families.
Friday, NOvember 19th, from 10 am to 2 pm, there will be a resource fair in our parking lot to let the homeless and the community members have a face to the agencies. There will be a food drive to local agency food pantries. Agencies that serve the homeless will have displays with information and resources. Missy Storey will be our representative hosting this event, as many of the local CHS staff will be at the agency annual meeting and conference that day in Charleston.
Tuesday, November 30th we will be having an event acknowledging National Adoption Month at 6:30, in our foster care/ adoption suite here at 1739 St. Mary's Ave. Adoptions finalized this year will be recognized, and appreciation for all our families will be part of the event. Contact Carna, Ken, or Sara for information.
Homeland Community Church is once again supporting our Mid Town Family Resource Center's family night dinner this year. Thursday, November 18. We have really appreciated this (relatively) new partner for our work with neighborhood families.
Lisa Doyle Parsons and her crew of volunteers, youth, and all, have organized a celebration dinner and public awareness session about our Runaway and Homeless Youth programs, and the youth they serve. It will be November 23, Tuesday, at 2 pm. A dinner supported by a student group at WVU-P will be served. We have invited legislators and other community members to hear about the programs, and hear first hand some of the challenges and successes. It will be at our offfices, and specifically the Mid Town Family Resource Center at 1739 St. Mary's Ave (3rd suite) For information someone could contact Lisa Doyle Parsons at 304-485-0650.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
We are within one week of the Stocking Auction at the Parkersburg Art Center; next Friday evening will be the big night. The HeART for the Holidays fund raiser in cooperation with the Art Center will raise funds for our site's programs. Handmade stockings, and stockings filled with gifts and prizes for auction are being gathered. Invitations and donations are busily flowing. Thanks to all who have been helping, and those who are supporting our work with their contributions.
Andi Roberts had a great event which benefited CHS-Parkersburg; something like 55 Halloween costume sittings were held, raising over $500 !! There was a lot of enthusiasm and celebrating the holiday; and lots of very impressed families at the great pictures taken. Plans are already underway for another event next year! Thanks to Andi for all the support of our agency's work throughout the year.