Thursday, December 30, 2010
Staff are out collecting the Little Red Stocking donations from around town. It is hard to tell at this point how the campaign went; we will have to wait for the Go-Mart and One Stop totals to come in from our main office. We are gratified by the support shown in this campaign. We have also received several very generous individual gifts this holiday season from on-going major donors. The "in-kind" donations have also been very much appreciated and indicative of strong community support for our mission.
As 2010 winds down, we take a deep breath and acknowledge all the busy activity at the CHS-Parkersburg site throughout the year. The staff work very hard to fulfill the mission of CHS in their work with area children and families. Our services run a full spectrum of pre-natal to young people transitioning to adulthood. Throughout the year we serve hundreds of children and their families and provide countless hours of quality care to some of our community's neediest children, youth and families. 2011 promises to be an equally hard working year for CHS-Parkersburg, with much effort put into maintaining the quality programs and looking for new opportunities to serve. Thanks to all the staff and all the community supporters of our work for a fine year.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
A Johnny Cash Tribute on February 26 at 6 Pence Pub in Parkersburg will kick off the 2011 Americana Music Tribute Series for the CHS-Parkersburg site. Look for more details in the coming weeks. This is an annual event now, and brings out a lot of local music fans, as well as being a fund raiser for the Mid Town Family Resource Center and its work with neighborhood children and families.
Shelley and I met with Jennifer Davenport in our Ritchie County office Monday to do some strategic planning for 2011. This was a lively and energizing meeting, which will hopefully set some goals and direction for this "sub-site" of the CHS-Parkersburg site. Jennifer has done some great community engagement, and has realistic but ambitious goals for providing more services to children and families in Ritchie County for the agency. Look for information about these developments in early 2011.
Kathy Johnson, a consultant who works with the agency on our strategic planning, and Mark Drennan from the administrative office, came to CHS-Parkersburg yesterday to begin discussions about how the agency can increase our foster care placement numbers in conjunction with the agency's strategic goals. Carna was a helpful resource for Kathy and Mark, as we discussed our experiences here in Parkersburg getting foster care off the ground over the last few years. Further discussions at other foster care sites of the agency will occur, and then a united focus group sometime after the first of the year, will hopefully yield some strong results on this strategic goal.
Yesterday we were visited by Richard Adams, CEO of United Bankshares, Inc. and two of the young leaders within the local offices of the bank. Richard has met with us twice before to learn about CHS-Parkersburg, and the work we do. He shows keen insight into the role of CHS-Parkersburg in local services to children and families, and has been very deliberate in exploring the ways United Bank can support our work. Besides a contribution to our work, he brought the two young leaders, to see about ways the Bank employees could contribute to our mission and work in the community. This good start will continue into 2011, with some exciting potential.
A new partnership emerged this holiday season for our CHS-Parkersburg site. Cracker Barrel, the national chain of restaurants, from its Mineral Wells (Wood County) site, contacted us about helping at the holiday season. The new manager invited us out to talk about our work, and how they could help. They gathered toys and presents for children over a week or so, and promoted the Little Red Stocking campaign, in an innovative way, but displaying the stockings on a live tree decorated in the store. We look forward to future connections with the Cracker Barrel, as our site has so many opportunities for a business to be involved in our mission.
We thank Pam Brust from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel for three stories recently on the CHS-Parkersburg site. An article a few months ago about the shelter, has garnered much community support and interest. Just this week, an article about our Little Red Stocking campaign captures the holiday season very well. Pam also has done an article about adoption services, which should be published soon. Pam is a long time supporter through her reporting, and a very well informed journalist about the community and human and social services. She contributes much to community awareness and outreach.
Shelley Plauche and I recently went to New York City, along with Deb Barthlow from our Martinsburg site, to be introduced to the Carrera model that we will be replicating as we begin our Intensive after school programming in 2011 for neighborhood middle school students, in a pregnancy prevention, and holistic positive youth development model program. We met with staff from Children's Aid Society of New York, who have been providing services in this model for 25 years, and now are helping 9 programs around the country replicate the program in their communities. Look for information in early 2011 as we begin to develop the program here in Parkersburg, and at the agency's Martinsburg site.
We have been the recipient of much community support in this time leading up to the holidays. Many individuals, churches, and groups have thoughtfully included us in their Christmas generosity. Look for the summary of Christmas time support that Shelley, Denise and others will compile in early January. We are truly humbled and appreciative of this outpouring of community support for the children and families we serve.
The students and staff of the McKinley After School program had a change of routine yesterday, celebrating the last day of school before the Christmas Break. They came over to our Mid Town Family Resource Center and had some holiday treats and baking fun. They also did holiday crafts, and enjoyed the change of routine. Lisa and the staff had worked hard these last days before the holiday to help families in many different ways to assist with their holidays.
Lisa organized a baking party for youth involved in the transitional living program, to make some desserts for First Presbyterian Church's annual Christmas community dinner (on Christmas Day). This opportunity for fellowship (the baking party!) and also contributed to this larger community service effort is a good example of the outreach Lisa does with the youth. The CHS site staff were a little more than tempted to sample the yummy delights prepared for the dinner!!!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
We were happy to be the recipient of a grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation this week, to support the work of the after school programming. The PACF has moved to a new location near City Park (their own building now) and had an open house in conjunction with the awarding of the grants. This has been a long relationship of support from the PACF for the agency, and we are truly appreciative of all they have done to support our work with area children and families.
Many of the programs of the CHS-Parkersburg site have already begun meeting to commit to our strategic planning for 2011. Foster Care, the Mid Town Family Resource Center, the Early Childhood programs, and the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs have already held initial planning meetings. These efforts will be combined and coalesced for a site wide strategic plan in early 2011. Its exciting times and an important process for our site.
Dennis Sutton, agency CEO conducted a board orientation here Thursday for Keith Burdette, a new CHS board member. Keith also got a tour of our facilities. He was very quickly engaged in the work and mission and values of the agency, and we look forward to his involvement and support both locally and at the statewide agency level.
A small but enthusiastic group of planners got together this week to brainstorm and organize ideas for the 2011 Americana Music Tribute Series. Over chili, the group outlined the 2010 series and what we have to build on, and any changes. Stay tuned for more information forthcoming, as several people left the meeting with "to do" lists to follow up on planning. The full 2011 Series will be announced at least in January, with lots of opportunities for good music, and fund raising supports for the work of CHS-Parkersburg coming up!!!
3 members of our neighborhood 4-H club are in Morgantown today as part of a Wood County delegation of 4-H'ers taking part in a statewide Robotics competition. Vickie Taylor is very excited at the incorporation of this level of involvement by youth from our club, from its humble origins a few years ago. This is really providing a great opportunity for some youth from our Mid Town neighborhood. We eagerly await the story of their experience and plans for future robotics!!!
Please support our Little Red Stocking campaign going on now, with many local businesses helping by offering the stockings at their stores and businesses. 6 Pence Pub is covered with stockings; over 400 sold so far. This morning at breakfast with two members of the Greens at the Corner Cafe, we were pleased to see stockings as we entered the business. Carna is busily checking on Go-marts and taking pictures of their displays. Jennifer, in Ritchie County is doing the same with a number of new and enthusiastic business partners out there.
CHS-Parkersburg foster care program held a very successful Christmas party this past Thursday evening at Christ United Methodist Church, just down the street from our offices. A good turnout of our dedicated foster families and many happy children were there. The staff and helpers were well organized in putting on such a festive event, and had garnered much solid community support for the party; food, presents, Santa and Mrs. Clause, poinsetta's and decorations. Probably around 50 people all took part, building that much more comraderie and bonding among all those who work hard for our mission and services to WV foster children.