Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays From All of Us at Children's Home Society!...

The staff has been busy with the usual holiday hustle and bustle these last few days! A lot of Programs hosted various Christmas parties for their children and families, and an abundance of private donations have made those possible. Citizens and businesses in the community exhibited the true meaning of the season and have graciously donated toys, books, food, clothes, gift cards, and other cheer over the past few days. We are extremely grateful for all of these contributions and without them our childrens’ Christmases may not have been as extraordinary as they are certain to be now! It is this example that reminds us of the true holiday spirit!

From our family to yours we wish you a safe and happy holiday full of peace, hope, and happiness this year—and always…

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mid-Town Family Resource Center Awarded with $11,000 Grant!...

Long time local supporter The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has awarded the Mid-Town Family Resource Center of Children's Home Society, Parkesburg site with a substantial grant in the amount of $11,000. Only $10K was requested, however the Foundation generously surprised the MTFRC with news of the $11K donation to support renovations and improvements to the CHS Community Center.

The MTFRC serves dozens of youth and families throughout the year via: the After School Program at McKinley Elementary, Summer Youth Program, food pantry and clothing closets for struggling families in crisis situations, and various other community projects throughout the year. The MTFRC is truly the backbone of this site’s CHS and is used for multiple other purposes including: playing host to the local Girl Scout Troop and 4-H Club, a gathering and meeting area for staff, employees and guests, as well as being utilized for assorted trainings etc.

The money will be put to good use to make some major improvements that have been necessary for quite some time now, including: new flooring, an electric stove, upright freezer, shelving, cabinetry, folding tables, and various comforts such as multi-use furnishings and a new television.

For the complete list of awarded grants and funds through the PACF follow the link below…

Posted by: Ashley Way

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Americana Music Series meets $10K Goal!!...

When the 2011 Americana Series kicked off CHS staff had a goal in mind of $10,000 raised overall from the various concerts and coffeehouses throughout the year. We are pleased to announce that this goal has been met and exceeded with the entire series bringing in $10,005 in proceeds for the programming here at the Parkersburg site! The 2011 line-up included:

The Johnny Cash Bash
Bob Dylan Tribute
Hank Williams Cajun & Chili Cook-Off
2nd Annual Shindig
Women of Americana Concert
John Prine Tribute
Little Green Stocking Benefit
Tommy Womack
Troubadours of Divine Bliss
Stacey Earl & Mark Stuart
McKinley All-Stars Band
Will Kimbrough
And a Sugarland Raffle and Vinyl Record Sale

Our 2011 Series wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our sponsors and we’d like to thank them once again…

West Virginia Central Credit Union
Roberts Family Photography
McCarter Health Center
Discount Pool Supply
Quality Home Service
Shirt Tales
and Tuck’s Music Journal

Breakfast with Santa!...

The Foster Care Program will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa this Saturday at Saint Margaret Mary’s Parish—2500 Dudley Ave. Parkersburg from 7-9 am. This event is open to the public and information will be available for interested persons in becoming a foster/adoptive parent/s.

The breakfast will be followed by this season’s final Toy Drive at Sam’s Club, Vienna from 11am-3pm.

**Additionally, raffle tickets are still available for a chance to win your choice of:
A 42” LG 1080p 120hz Flat Panel TV-OR-$300 Cash

Drawing will be held during the Foster Care Christmas Party on 12-10-11

Posted by: Ashley Way

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Green Stocking Benefit Concert...

We will be hosting our 3rd annual “Little Green Stocking” benefit concert, to kick off its Little RED stocking campaign, on Friday November 25th at 9 pm at 6 Pence Pub in Parkersburg.

It will be a $5 donation at the door and there will be chances to win prizes and purchase Little Red Stockings as part of the festivities. The Greens--a favorite rock band in the Morgantown and Parkersburg areas--will be performing!! This is the final event in the Mid Ohio Valley Americana Music Series; closing in on $10,000 raised from the 2011 series for the Parkersburg site programs!

For information contact Brooke Chambers or Shelley Plauche at 304-485-0650.

2011 Little Red Stocking Campaign…

It’s that time of year again! As a long standing tradition with Children's Home Society we will once again be selling our Little Red Stockings across the State to raise funds for our statewide programming here at CHS. Stockings will be available to purchase for $1.00 at participating businesses and retailers across West Virginia.

While observing holiday traditions make the Little Red Stocking a part of yours by purchasing a stocking and making a contribution to vulnerable children across this State. We will not let the children in need be forgotten—and no gift is too small. Caring for others should be a tradition for us all during the holiday season…and always.

This year’s Little Red Stocking Campaign will run for 31 days from November 25—December 24. So please keep Children's Home Society, and the children who call us “home” during the holidays, in mind when you see a red stocking at a retailer near you.

For questions about the LRS Campaign please Carna Metheney-White 304-485-0650 or

Posted by: Ashley Way

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fifth Annual Halloween Portrait Party…

CHS Volunteer Andi Roberts of Roberts Family Photography will be hosting her fifth annual Halloween Portrait Party on October 27th from 6:30-9pm.

Anyone that shows up in costume has the opportunity to get their portrait taken in the custom-made Halloween set! Portraits are by donation only with all proceeds going to Children's Home Society of WV.

There will also be a costume contest awarding prizes for the most “likes” on Roberts Family Photography facebook page!

Last year the event raised $500 and this year’s goal is $700…so bring your family, invite your friends, and come celebrate Halloween in style at Roberts Family Photography—115 Elm Street, Belpre OH!

Any questions contact Andi Roberts at 740-423-1122

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Foster Care News and Happenings…

Toy Drives:
Four toy drives will be held to secure Christmas gifts for the children and youth currently in foster care. New and unwrapped gifts for boys and girls ages 1-18 are greatly appreciated.

November 5—Vienna K-Mart
November 11—Sam’s Club
December 3—Sam’s Club
December 10—Vienna K-Mart

The Foster Care Program is also selling raffle tickets to win your choice of a 42” LG 1080p 120hz LCD TV or $300 CASH. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. Tickets are on sale now and you can contact Greg Nicholson, Ken Storey, or Carna Metheney-White 304-485-0650 for more information.

Also, their Christmas party is scheduled for Friday December 16th from 6-8pm. The location is currently under planning.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

24/7 Dad—Fatherhood Support Sessions

Children's Home Society will be offering Fatherhood Support Sessions beginning on October 18th at 6:00pm in our Mid Town Family Resource Center—1739 St. Mary’s Ave.

Using the 24/7 Dad Curriculum participants will have the opportunity to: Learn ways to handle the stresses of life, how to better communicate with their children and their mother, learn how to discipline, teach and guide your child through different ages and stages, how to access support systems to receive needed services.

For more information or to enroll contact: Lisa Weaver or Jim Lopreste at 304-485-0650

Transitional Living Program Invites You to the Backyard Bash…

On Friday October 21 TLP will be presenting the backyard Bash: an evening of fun, fresh tunes, and great outdoor activities. Musical performance by ELEVATE. The evening is a combination Christian outreach and benefit. Uplift your spirit while uplifting our youth! Snacks, drinks, live music, games and a firepit….fun for the whole family!

The evening is hosted by Eileen Filozof, active Advisory Council Member of Children's Home Society.

When: Friday, October 21, 2011
Time: 6pm-10pm
Where: 1911 Washington Ave, Parkersburg

For more information contact: Lisa Doyle-Parsons 304-485-0650

Monday, October 10, 2011

Steve Tuck Honored with Prominent Award…

Former Regional Director and Parkersburg Site Manager Steve Tuck, who now serves as Children's Home Society’s C.O.O. was awarded the prestigious “Exemplar Award for Excellence in Social Work Management” on August 25th. The award was presented by the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers who annually honor a social worker who best exemplifies the values and practice of social work in management, administration and leadership.

The staff and family of Parkersburg’s Children's Home Society congratulate Steve!!

Posted by: Ashley Way

Bridge Academy to Present First Annual Talent Show!

Our Self Expression Specialist Aaron Whited is organizing the first annual talent show for our Bridge Academy. Aaron has been helping the students prepare for a couple of weeks now and they will be: singing, acting, performing stand-up comedy routines and playing musical instruments. Aaron is really putting on a show and the students will be accompanied by lighting and sound arrangements with a projection video adding flare to the performances!

*The talent show has been rescheduled for a later date so as to be an added element to their first Family Night! When the new date is announced we will post it and update our readers!

For more information on our Bridge Academy contact Frances Coyne-Davis at 304-916-1874

Posted by: Ashley Way

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September was an Active Month for CHS Volunteers!

September was a busy month around Children's Home Society with four major events on top of the daily hustle and bustle: Purse Bingo, 2nd Annual WE CAN Golf Tournament, Neighborhood Day, and the Women of Americana Tribute Concert. These events would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteers and community members! In September we had the honor and privilege of 69 active volunteers dedicating their time and service to the mission of Children's Home Society and we appreciate every minute of their time and involvement!

A big thank you goes out to our: mentors, interns, Advisory Council members, the agents of the Parkersburg Area Association of Realtors, the P.H.S. ROTC, the coaches of Parkersburg Catholic Baseball, and the lady musicians of the Women of Americana Tribute Concert! Thank you for all that you to do make Children's Home Society a vital presence in the community and help us to better serve the children and families we care for!

Collectively our volunteers recorded 522.5 hours for the month of September, and that is something our staff and volunteers alike should be very proud of!

Posted by: Ashley Way

New Website for Foster Care Support Group

Foster Care Aide Greg Nicholson has launched a new website for the Foster Care Support Groups! Greg keeps coming up with creative and innovative ways to keep the foster parents connected and involved, and we’re glad to have him back in our Foster Care Program where he originally started with us in fall of 2009.

The website is a 30 day trial so depending on what kind of traffic and response it gets will determine if he will continue it as a permanent fixture for the Program.

To visit the website go to:

Posted by: Ashley Way

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Trunk or Treat

No need to wait until Halloween to get your trick or treat on...TRUNK OR TREAT will be held in our community at the City Park on Saturday October 22nd from 2—4pm! Bring the family for fun, games, candy and informational resources on the various programs available to youth in our area! Costumes are encouraged so be creative and get twice the use out of your Halloween ensemble!

Children's Home Society will be one of the many organizations in attendance so stop by our booth and say hello! This year’s Trunk or Treat is sponsored by NYAP: The National Youth Advocate Program.

Posted by: Ashley Way

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

WE CAN Program Gears Up for Busy Month of Recruiting…

The WE CAN Mentoring Program is always busy seeking dedicated volunteers, and in October we’re gearing up for major recruiting efforts! In September WE CAN was present at two community service/civic engagement fairs at Marietta College and we have three major events planned for this month. On October 17th WE CAN will address the Student Government at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. Following that will be an informational booth and meet and greet with the employees of the Bureau of Public Debt for their annual Combined Federal Campaign. In 2009 our presence there secured one of our current mentors, so we’re hoping for some continued interest from this endeavor! Closing out the month on the 26th WE CAN will have a recruiting booth at Ohio Valley University to expose the students to the wonderful community service and volunteer opportunities available here at Children's Home Society!

For more information or if you are interested in becoming a mentor in the WE CAN Program contact Ashley Way: 304-485-0650 or

CHS Family expands...and it's a girl!!

Shauna Kelley and her husband John welcomed a new baby girl on Thursday September 29, 2011. Lillian Rose Kelley, 5 lbs 9 oz and 19” is welcomed into our CHS family and we cannot wait to meet the little bundle of joy! Baby and mommy are healthy and we extend the family our best wishes! Shauna started with us as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2006 before signing on as a Relief Youth Care Worker in the After School Program. Continuing to show her dedication to our community and the children and families we serve she then evolved into the Academic Coordinator for the Midtown Family Resource Center working with both the McKinley After School Program and the CHS Summer Program. Shauna recently graduated from WVU-P with her Bachelor’s degree in Education and obtained her teaching certificate to substitute teach in the Wood County School System.

Congratulations to Shauna and John!

Posted by: Ashley Way

Monday, October 3, 2011

Foster Care Hosts Support Group

Foster Care Case Aide Greg Nicholson hosted a Foster Care Support Group here at CHS on October 1st. These support groups are designed for the foster parents to collaborate on upcoming group events, discuss future training opportunities, and offer advice and guidance on a peer-to-peer basis. CHS is grateful to those who attended, especially on a Saturday and in addition to their busy lives with their families and children! The next group is scheduled to meet on November 17th from 6-8 pm in Suite 5 of Children's Home Society—1739 St. Mary’s Ave.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CHS Family to receive National Angel in Adoption Award

The Picciano Family—Nick and Jorun—have been loyally serving as foster parents with Children's Home Society since 2009. On October 5th in our nation’s capital they will be attending the Angels of Adoption Gala as West Virginia’s Angels in Adoption honorees. Angels in Adoption allows members of Congress to honor extraordinary individuals, couples, or organizations who provide to children in need of homes.

The Piccianos have been a dedicated and integral part of the Children's Home Society Family. Their first foster child placement almost immediately followed on the heels of their final approval process in 2009. Moments later three year old Joshua—who hailed from Wheeling and had already been shuffled through three foster homes—was placed with them and their four biological children: Jacob, Michaela, Jacynda, and Lucia.

In February of this year they adopted Joshua, providing him with a permanent and loving home—a family to call his own.

That is the mission of Children's Home Society and the Piccianos exemplify this by their continued commitment to their family and the children we serve in this area. Joshua is a very lucky boy; and we wish the Picciano Family our congratulations on this distinguished honor!

Posted by: Ashley Way

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Join Us for the Women of Americana Music Tribute!...

The 2011 Americana Music Series continues with our next event...The Women of Americana Music Tribute. On September 24 great local talent will take the stage for an all night concert featuring some of the greatest artists of the Americana genre! Smokestack Betty will be making a special appearance, followed by other great area female musicians! It's sure to be a great evening of fun and entertainment so don't miss out!

Saturday, September 24, 2011
9 pm
SixPence Pub & Eatery
1956 Seventh Street, Par

$5 Donation at the Door

One Week Left to Register for the Golf Tournament!

We're almost a week away from the second annual Children's Home Society and Parkersburg Catholic Baseball Golf Tournament Fundraiser! There's still room to form your team and compete for cash prizes and much more! Please contact Ashley Way at 304-485-0650 or for more information or to register your team today!

McKinley Students Receive Free Books

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Youth Program Wrap-Up

Now we’ve got to say goodbye for the summer…as another successful Summer Youth Program came to an end on Friday. The 5 week program, which ran from July 5th to August 5th, provided a safe place, caring adults, effective hands-on education and opportunities for community service to 40 area youth. With funding received from a WV’s 5 Promises grant, the program provided daily activities for youth ranging in age from 6-17. In addition to Family Resource Center staff members, Lisa Weaver and Shauna Kelley, partnerships with other agencies provided 4 more adult leaders. Angela Lilly and Aaron Lopreste both served as part of the Americorps VISTA Summer Associate project and Austi Reed and Kayla Brinker were employed through Workforce Investment Board’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

McKinley Elementary School provided use of their playground for daily recreation and Mary Farnsworth, Black Diamond Girl Scout Leader, provided an activity each Tuesday during the program. Some were science activities, others were group team-building games, and all were enjoyed by the youth participants. Through an ongoing partnership with Wood Co. Schools and the State Dept. of Education, free lunch and afternoon snack was provided free of charge each day to any child attending. Lunchtime conversations centered around a “Question of the Day”, from the Strong Families Eat Together curriculum.

Summer youth participated in a variety of service projects including a neighborhood clean-up, weeding of the area around CHS, sending cards to soldiers, recycling cans, paper, plastic and drink pouches, and rolling newspapers for the Humane Society. Youth were encouraged to read this summer and each received two or more new books from our First Book partnership. We also received many books from a book drive conducted by an Energy Express site and those books were shared with youth as well. Another donation received at the beginning of the summer provided craft supplies, games and a “Rock Band” video game, a favorite this summer among both kids and adults. Some of the educational groups provided for youth included Cultural Awareness, Health and Nutrition, and a Money Management activity led by employees of United Bank. Weekly field trips provided fun, learning opportunities. Trips included mini-golfing at City Park, tours of the Parkersburg Art Center and the City Recycling Center, an all-day trip to Mountwood Park and the final trip to Adventure Station for Laser Tag. Other highlights of the summer included Karoke Day hosted by Rob Goff, and Career Day, when 6 community members came to talk about their jobs.

The last day of the program ended with a celebration of adults and youth. Appreciation was extended to VISTA members, WIB young adult employees, parents and CHS co-workers for their contributions to the successful program. A pizza lunch was shared, followed by water games on the playground, then a dessert bar enjoyed while a slide show of pictures taken during the summer was shown. Although another year of the Summer Youth Program has come to a close, the friendships and connections made will extend into the future and several new relationships between CHS and neighborhood families have been built.

Posted By: Lisa Weaver

Parents as Teachers Gears Up for Next Phase!

Parents as Teachers first Group Connection for parents is being planned for sometime in August. Group connections are designed so that families build connections with each other, engage in parent-child interaction and increase their knowledge of ways to support children's development. Parents will be asked to suggest topics of interest for upcoming workshops to be presented during that time.

All developmental screening and health records for enrolled children need to be completed by the end of August so we will be working on gathering the required information for each family during our visits this month.

PAT educators would like to thank Partners in Prevention for their support and assistance with obtaining needed materials and supplies for our program.

Posted by: Roberta Lyons

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WE CAN Hosts its Second Annual Golf Tournament

Join us on Saturday, September 17, for another great year of golf, food and prizes at Worthington Golf Club for the second annual WE CAN and Parkersburg Catholic Baseball Golf Tournament! Last year was a great success and we hope to make it even bigger and better this year! If you’re interested in getting a team together please contact Ashley Way 304-485-0650.

*See attached flyer for more details!!

Purse Bingo to Benefit CHS

The Parkersburg Area Association of Realtors (P.A.A.R.) has graciously offered to organize a purse bingo fundraiser to support the work and programming of Children's Home Society, Parkersburg Site! See attached flyer for details!!

*Tickets available for purchase at Children's Home Society or All Local Real Estate Offices

WE CAN Celebrates Another Birthday!

Happy Birthday to WE CAN Mentee Jonathon! Jon has been matched up with his mentor Josh for a couple of months now and they’re really enjoying their summer together doing all kinds of fun and educational activities around the greater Parkersburg area! Jon is fascinated with History and all things related to the Military—as he hopes to join the Army some day. Josh is a perfect fit for him as he actively serves in the Naval Reserves. Together they have explored Blennerhassett Island and Museum, Fort Boreman Park and History Center, and they plan on touring the Mid Ohio Valley Veterans Museum in the near future. Together they also participated in our Service Project last month where we made care packages for servicemen and women serving overseas. Jon took the project very seriously, and was quite creative in making his own camouflage card (see photo)! Josh will be helping Jon celebrate his birthday this evening with his family and friends!

Posted by: Ashley Way

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Foster Care Toy Drive

CHS is sponsoring a toy drive to collect toys and gifts for children in foster care for Christmas. Bring any unwrapped toy for ages newborn to 18 years to the Big Sandy Superstore in Parkersburg on Saturday, August 13th between 10am and 4pm.

Every $10 donated toy earns you a chance to win 2 tickets to see the Oak Ridge Boys in concert in Huntington August 26th, 2011 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

A $10 cash donation can be made in lieu of a toy.

For questions contact Greg Nicholson 304-485-0650

TLP Youth Receive Awards

“Your achievement reinforces the importance of creating opportunity for our youth. On behalf of Youth Advantage, Your Leadership, Guidance, and Support…has not gone unnoticed.” These words, etched on the two plaques honoring the Children’s Home Society’s Parkersburg Site, and the Transitional Living Program, as Partner’s of Excellence at the 10th Annual Youth of Excellence Awards, symbolize what the TL Program aspires to do daily for those youth participating in transitional services.

Presented by Workforce West Virginia, in conjunction with Youth Advantage, the awards were humbly accepted by TL Case Manager Lisa Doyle- Parsons on June 23, 2011, at a luncheon. More notable than the agency recognition, was the recognition and honors received by two outstanding TL youth.

Aaron Pratt, a 21 year old youth who entered the program late February this year, received a $500 Scholarship to WVU-P for the fall term; A Youth of Excellence Rising Star Award; and was elected to serve on the “A Team,” a youth advisory board for Youth Advantage. Prior to joining the TLP, Aaron, then unemployed, had spent the last several months shelter surfing, often maxing out his time before moving on to another city with another homeless shelter. Currently Aaron is doing well living in his own apartment, is employed at Workforce WV, participates in life skills training and community service activities, and is on target to attend college at WVU-P in the fall.

Twenty year old Kim Reisinger, who completed the TL Program in April 2011, was the recipient of a $100 Saving Bond, a Mid-Ohio Valley Time to Shine Award, and the Youth of Excellence Award. Kim entered the program underemployed, and unable to afford housing or transportation on her own. During the six months spent in the program, Kim located and resided in her own apartment, obtained her driver’s license, purchased a used car, enrolled in and completed CNA training, participated in life skills training, and was active in community service activities. Kim successfully exited the program in April and is currently in the process of purchasing her own home; became involved in a positive healthy relationship; upgraded her car; and is working 3 jobs while seeking employment as a CNA. The Transitional Living Program proudly acknowledges and congratulates our “Youth of Excellence,” Aaron Pratt and Kimberley Reisinger.

Posted By: Lisa Doyle-Parsons

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to WE CAN Mentor Amber!

Happy Birthday to our mentor Amber Snyder—a loyal and dedicated volunteer to the WE CAN Program! Amber has been matched up with her mentee Stacy since May and they have spent their summer: miniature golfing (Stacy got FOUR holes in one!), going to the movies where they saw Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3-D and Monte Carlo, they decorated themselves with matching Justin Bieber tattoos, and even pampered themselves with manicures. Amber and Stacy also participated in our community service project last month by assembling care packages and making cards for servicemen and women stationed overseas in Iraq.

*If you would like to volunteer with the WE CAN Mentoring Program please contact: Ashley Way at Children's Home Society 304-485-0650.

Posted by: Ashley Way

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Family to Call Their Own

Children deserve a lifetime family—a family to call their own. With great thanks to Delmar and Barb McKown, Liam and Nikoli now have a family of their own and a permanent loving home. Liam and Nikoli’s adoption was finalized in Wood County on July 18, 2011. The McKowns have not only opened their home—but their hearts, and we here at Children’s Home Society are grateful for their commitment and wish them a lifetime of happiness!

If you would like to expand your family and provide a child in need with a loving and protective home please contact: Carna Metheney-White or Ken Storey at Children’s Home Society, Parkersburg, 304-485-0650.

Posted by: Ashley Way

The MTFRC Has Been a Bustling Hive of Activity!

The Summer Youth Program, operated out of our Mid Town Family Resource Center, has been abuzz with activity and laughter for its second week now! Attendance is always a surprise from one day to the next, but yesterday they served 20 youth and 14 today. Mary from the local Girl Scout Troop made a guest appearance yesterday and helped the kids with a special craft activity wherein they made their own garden stepping stones. I witnessed a lot of creativity in their projects, and it’s always a pleasure to see the final products lining the shelves throughout the room! Tomorrow they will be making a trip downtown to visit and tour the Parkersburg Arts Center!

Posted by: Ashley Way

Transitional Living Program Hosts Young Parents Class

The Transitional Living Program was pleased to host the second in a series of eight parenting classes, being held alternate Mondays at the Midtown Family Resource Center. The series of classes are stand alone, and will be taught in cycles so that new participants can join at any point. Open to males and females, the classes targets young parents, and is being instructed by Parent Educator Tisha Lambert, of Westbrook Health Services. The classes are free of charge and open to any young parent in the community. The first two classes have been well attended, and staff are excited by the feedback and participation of the youth attending. In a discussion about discipline vs punishment, new parent Samantha Young , stated “ I am so confused, I don’t want my daughter to grow up the way I did (neglected), but I don’t want her to be a spoiled brat either. The classes are intended to assist such parents in clearing up some of the confusion experienced by the young parents, and make them aware and put into practice active parenting techniques. The next class will be held August 1, at 5pm.

Posted by: Lisa Doyle-Parsons

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bridge Academy Kicks Off Their Summer Program:

An ice cream social was held Friday July 8 to kick off the Summer Pilot Program of the new Bridge Academy. Staff and volunteers were on hand to welcome parents and future students to their new facility at St. Margaret Mary Parish Hall. Sundaes and milkshakes were served to celebrate the event, and aid recruitment efforts for new students.

Bridge Academy’s Director Frances Coyne-Davis was pleased to announce that as of now they are at 2/3 of their goal for summer enrollment with 19 participants! The Program commenced yesterday and I look forward to catching a few minutes of face time with one of my new co-workers to see how it turned out! Everyone here at the Parkersburg campus is anxious to welcome this new Program aboard and be a part of the efforts to keep “at-promise” youth educated and empowered to prevent teenage pregnancy.

Posted by: Ashley Way

The Show Must Go On...

As Steve mentioned in his last post, he has signed off to take on a new role in the agency. Anyone who knows Steve personally knows that he is humble and modest; so I will boast on his behalf…Mr. Steve Tuck was recently promoted to Children's Home Society’s C.E.O.! We will certainly miss him very much here at the Parkersburg site, but we are proud of his successes and everything he has done to assist the children and families in this area throughout his many years of dedicated and loyal direct service. Now it is time for him to help children and families everywhere in WV as he takes on a more state-wide role. We are guaranteed to still see him in and around this community, as his roots still lay here in the Parkersburg area! Congratulations to Steve!

As to not disappoint his followers and fans the staff here at CHS are happy to continue to deliver you news and updates from the Parkersburg site! This will be a group effort so look forward to reading lots of diverse posts from our many devoted employees and our wide array of programming!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Changing Things Up

This will be my last post as the editor of this CHS-Parkersburg blog. Ashley will be taking over the task, as I take a statewide administrative job within CHS. I'll still maintain some "signs of life" on here, and support the on-going efforts to engage the community in our important work with area children and families. More later!

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Foster Home Recruitment Banner is up!

We have had a banner on the street side of our offices, recruiting people to be foster parents for several years, and have always had remarks that it was a good way to put the idea out there to the community. About a half year or so, the one we had up had weathered to the point we ordered a new one. Some volunteers from the Power Company hung it up on the front of the building, but within one week, a strong wind storm had brought it down again! Well, we have finally taken care of it again, thanks to our loyal handymen, Nick and Mike. I hope somebody snaps a picture of it! Anyway, we can expect some inquiry calls to come in, now that the sign is back in business!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shindig was a big success!

CHS-Parkersburg's 2nd annual shindig was a big success! We had fantastic weather this year; not too hot, no chance of rain, a very pleasant day. We had great music all day, and lots of activities for children and a good mix of vendors for food. We had some great volunteers and community support. We are still counting but it looks like we will have raised over $3000 from the event. We thank the Ohio Valley Rowing Club for the use of the facility, and have many others to thank as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pictures from Mid Town Family Resource Center

Final Details being worked out for the Shindig (Music Festival) this Saturday

Lots of busy volunteers and supporters are busy finalizing details for our 2nd Annual Shindig, outdoor music festival/ fund raiser this Saturday, down at the Ohio Valley Rowing Club (Boat House) down by the Ohio River in Parkersburg. 8-9 hours of music is in store, with several other entertainment diversions for families, and some food/ beverage vendors, and a chance to support the agency in several ways around our Americana Music Series (t-shirts, raffles, etc.) We are looking toward great weather, and lots of folks pitching in to make it a fun and enjoyable event.

Foster Care (Etc.!!) Pool Party

Our foster care team has organized a pool party for the foster families this evening at Jackson Pool/ Park in Vienna. Several other site programs are participating (WE CAN, the Shelter, etc.) A picnic meal is also in store. Missy, our VISTA also helped with the organizing of the event. We have had intermittent thunderstorms all week, but look to have a good evening of weather for the fun.

TL staff and youth help with Food Distribution

First Lutheran Church in Parkersburg has an active food pantry, and they held a major community food distribution yesterday with the Mountaineer Food Bank. Lisa and Vicki (MSW field placement) and Marina Wells, volunteer, as well as several youth in the Transitional Living program, volunteered and helped at the event. Over 1000 people were assisted with food. The Parkersburg News covered the event, and Vicki was among those quoted about the success of the event.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Institute

Several staff attending sessions at the Prevent Child Abuse WV and DHHR hosted conference in Charleston this past week. Several of our programs receive support from these organizations, and this conference was a great opportunity to participate with others from all over the state who focus on prevention efforts. There were very good national presenters and the state leadership is very strong in this area. We came away bolstered in our local efforts to help families prevent problems, and feel supported and strengthened.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

OM&GA campaign- Mother's Day Flowers

The agency received a check for over $61,000 Friday from the OM&GA (Oil Marketing and Grocers Association) from the campaign around Mother's Day. They have already announced they will have our agency as the charity next year, too!!! This is exciting and a tribute to the work of Mary and the staff at making the OM&GA members feel supported in the campaign. The event at Davis in Charleston was very positive and affirming of the good connections made between the agency and the folks from OM&GA.

Book, Vinyl Record, Parking Lot Sale yesterday

We made $462 yesterday at the combined sale. Austi, Angela, Lisa and Lisa worked hard setting up an inviting sale, and I puttered around the records. In the "battle" of supremacy for most sales, the BOOKS (and parking lot sale) beat out the records this time around. I enjoy the community spirit among the music loving record hunters, and a number of people ask questions about the agency's work when they are browsing the books. The weather was nice, the turnout a little disappointing, and LOTS of stuff to pack back up at the end. We hope to have those items available for a parking lot sale Barb and Mary are having next weekend for breast cancer research fund raising.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Parents As Teachers start up

Beverly and Roberta visited another existing Parents As Teachers program this week. They came back very appreciative of the time spent by the staff at that program, and eager to get things started with their version of the program here at CHS-Parkersburg.

Frances and Tamara's adventures in Memphis

Frances and Tamara, two staff in the new Carrera teen pregnancy prevention program, traveled to Memphis for a national training with the Office of Adolescent Health. They had a good conference, but were delayed in their return, due to the flight cancellations across the midwest related to all the storms. They are intrepid travelers and come back ready to keep the momentum going on the program start up in this exciting new program for the site.

Two Nights in a Row- nice family meals

Two nights in a row we have had very nice family meals here at CHS-Parkersburg. Wednesday night the foster care staff provided a nice home cooked meal for our site's foster parents (in honor of Foster Care Month) and some fun activities for the children, while the parents socialized. Lots of good comraderie and support.
The following night, the regular monthly Mid Town Family Resource Center family night for parents of children in the McKinley After School program (and various families connected to the MTFRC over the years!) had a meal of Subway sandwiches, and lots of games! Both these events were well attended, and further emphasized the value of just getting people together around a meal and fellowship. Lots of strong ties being developed by our staff with the families we serve!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mid Town Family Resource Center receives FRC grant from DHHR

We received the announcement last week, that our Mid Town Family Resource Center is receiving a grant from the state DHHR of $75,000, to support the work of the Center. This will begin July 1st. We are very honored and excited about this acknowledgement of our efforts to develop this comprehensive family support.

welcoming new staff

Recently we have added several staff members who we want to welcome to CHS-Parkersburg. Tamara Heys has been brought into the team for the Carrera Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program as the community organizer. She is already off to Memphis with program coordinator, Frances Coyne-Davis, for a national training with the Office of Adolescent Health. Donna Dodd joins us to provide Right From the Start services in Ritchie County.

Another Book and Vinyl Record sale coming up!

Saturday, June 4th we are holding another book and record sale, from 10 am to 2 pm here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. We end up with a "friendly rivalry" as to whether Lisa can sell more books, or I sell more records!!! The donations have been flowing in; so we hope everyone will help spread the word!!

Staff attend Alliance for Children annual conference

Shelley, Denise and I attended the Alliance for Children conference in Wheeling this past week. This annual events always features powerful sessions on issues related to child welfare and the current dynamics. This year was no exception; the participants gain much from the presenters. This is a good opportunity to get to know some of our peers at the member agencies, and to "compare notes" about best practice and the system of care for children.

Ken Storey' graduates with an MSW

CHS-Parkersburg's Ken Storey graduated from WVU (Charleston branch) MSW program this past weekend. Contratulations to Ken for this significant accomplishment. Ken really worked hard, and took advantage of the opportunity to gain in social work practice and knowledge.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

The Gustke Shelter staff organized a fund raiser, using the students of Parkersburg South drama department, to have a murder mystery dinner theater. It was held this past Saturday night at the First Christian Church here in Parkersburg. There seemed to be about 120 people there, for the play, some great food, and good fellowship. A student from Parkersburg South wrote the play, and the drama teacher provided strong leadership to her students, to have a very strong performance for the evening's entertainment. She also played a part! She is the mother of Katie Whitlow, who works at the Shelter. Katie sang some 1930's vintage songs during the breaks in the acts. Audience members had to guess who committed a murder in the plot of the play. There were also silent auction items for the audience to bid on. Staff of the Shelter (and many of their family members!) as well as the students, set the room up all day Saturday; decorating and setting up the dinner settings. All the hard work paid off with a very enjoyable evening. The event raised over $2000 in cash, and a significant amount of in-kind donations. It was deemed a success by one and all, and already, plans are underway for another such event next year.

Bob Dylan Tribute

The Bob Dylan Tribute, part of the Mid Ohio Valley Americana Music Tribute Series of live music fund raising events for the CHS-Parkersburg site, was held this past Friday evening at 6 Pence Pub, Parkersburg. We had a great line up of musicians, seven acts in all, and an enthusiastic crowd. We had a couple of Bob Dylan Trivia contests throughout the evening, celebrating the music of Bob Dylan and his 50 years of performing. The event raised $850; bringing the total so far this year for the Americana Music Series to $4954. Our CHS-Parkersburg site's own Aaron Whited performed a set of spirited song selections to rave reviews. Several other long time participants also had sets, while local music "legends" Jimmy Clinton and Todd Burge performed an exquisite set. Jeremy Mayle, another local musician of note, performed a set of his favorite songwriter's work. We thank Kim at 6 Pence once again, for hosting our series events there.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

McKinley All Star Band benefit concert

Fred Shreve, and the McKinley All Star Band (made up of faculty at McKinley and other Wood County Schools employees) performed a concert last night at Jefferson Auditorium in Parkersburg, as a benefit for the After School program we operate at McKinley as part of our Mid Town Family Resource Center. Fred spoke from the heart to say we are deep partners in our work with students in the neighborhood. The music was very entertaining; including songs written by Greg Syner and Fred, throughout the first part of the show, and then some "crowd favorite" cover tunes in the second half. Fred and Greg are both excellent song writers, incorporating some funny stories and some poignant songs. The band is a solid group of musicians, all masters at their instruments. Mike Fling on drums and vocals is obviously a crowd favorite also. There were about 100 people in attendance, and we raised $730 for the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Many Wood County educators were in the audience, bringing a different sort of audience/ demographic to one of our music events, spreading the reach of our community engagement. The Jefferson Auditorium is a nice venue for such a show, with plenty of "grow room" to even bring more people in to experience such a great night of music. Thanks to Fred and his bandmates for a fun evening of music!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Children's Memorial Flag Day

Every year, on the last Friday of April, different communities around the country fly the CWLA Children's Memorial Flag to remember child abuse prevention month, and the work of communities to protect children from abuse. For the last several years, Wood County WV has had a ceremony down at the flag pole in the Government Square in Parkersburg to recognize some community members who have worked hard to protect children, and to tie in with the national flag events. The events have been going on since 1998 around the country, and within a few years, the flag was flown in every county in West Virginia. We have been having events since the early 2000's, including events on Quincy Hill Park, in front of PHS, and in our parking lot on St. Mary's Avenue. Our CHS-Parkersburg efforts during Child Abuse Prevention month have focused the past several years on the Making a Difference/ the Pinwheels for Prevention theme, of helping communities strengthen families and create protective factors around children and families, but we participate in these Flag events as a partner with the DHHR, law enforcement, government officials, the prosecutor's office to remember the partnerships necessary to take care of children.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Neighborhood Clean Up on Earth Day!

CHS-Parkersburg, led by Missy Storey's organizing efforts, combined with the Volunteer Action Center of Parkersburg to stage a neighborhood clean up on Friday, April 22 in our area of St. Mary's Ave (19th St. to 13th St.) Teams of youth and adults cleaned up trash along the way. Around 50 people participated, and there was an article in the paper with a picture the next day. This was deemed a successful volunteer/ community service project, and hopefully contributes to some neighborhood awareness and spirit. Participants received a t-shirt compliments of the Volunteer Action Center.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Walkathon for Transitional Living Program youth - SHOES!

Lisa Doyle-Parsons organized a very successful walkathon Sunday April 17th at Parkersburg City Park. It was covered by a Parkersburg News reporter who had a great story Monday. Over 70 people attended and the event raised over $500. We have also received several inquiries specifically about helping with shoes directly from the publicity. Many of our old and new community partners participated.

OM&GA's "Taking It Home for Mother's Day" campaign

Between now and May 8th, Mother's Day, stores in the Oil Marketers and Grocers Association will be selling (cardboard) Flower's in honor of Mother's Day, with the proceeds coming to Children's Home Society across the state. 375 stores are participating, including about 30 in the Parkersburg region. Staff have been out to connect with our stores and show our appreciation and encouragement; and we have positive hopes of a big campaign. Please support the work of the agency in this additional way when you are out and about!!!

WV Promise / VISTA event

April 12th, Missy Storey spearheaded a successful training and recognition event for statewide VISTA's under the WV Promise "umbrella." Also Promise Places were recognized (many of the same organizations!) and a training was held, attended by many others from the community and across the state. Missy did a great job organizing the event; with meals, displays, and good fellowship. The evening was topped off by a short set of music by Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart, in advance of a coffee house held later in the evening back at our Mid Town Family Resource Center. Thanks to Christ United Methodist Church for the use of the church, and for a number of supporters rallied to help with the event.

Wood County Community Baby Shower

Barb Lott was the lead organizer of this wide community collaboration held last Friday, April 15th. It was held at Good Shepherd Church and was well attended by both vendors and young parents. Many resources were shared, and many good gifts and prizes were given out.

Tree Planting

On April 9th, the WE CAN program, led by Ashley Way, held a very successful community outreach event; a neighborhood tree planting. The cooperation Ashley was able to gather made this a great project. A wide array of people participated: mentors, mentees, families, staff, volunteers from other programs, Master Gardeners, were all involved. Ashley got involved with the City planners and Tree Commission members. There are some good pictures commemorating the event!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

McKinley All Stars benefit concert

May 6th, at 7 pm at Jefferson School auditorium, the McKinley All Stars will be performing a second annual benefit concert to support the work of the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Fred Shreve and his talented group of educators will entertain the audience with original songs (of his and Greg Syner's) and well chosen cover tunes to delight the audience. This is a highly talented group, and we hope for lots of community members to come out and see their musicianship, and support our work with neighborhood children and families.

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Our Wood County Partners in Prevention team is busily conducting Child Abuse Prevention Month activities, led by program coordinator, Lisa Weaver. We had an article in the paper this weekend about the Month, and a number of activities going on, including Pin Wheel gardens, public awareness efforts, participation in a community Easter Egg Hunt among many. Lisa is doing a great job of conveying the message about prevention, by supporting families, creating protective factors around children, and de-emphasizing the negative, discouraging focus that traditional may have been present in Child Abuse Prevention efforts.

OM&GA's "Taking It Home For Mother's Day" campaign off to a great start!

CHS in conjunction with the Oil Marketers and Grocers Association (OM&GA) has kicked off the Taking It Home For Mothers Day campaign, a fund raiser going on across the state at all the OMEGA members convenience and grocer stores (around 370 stores statewide), where the stores are selling a flower card for $1 to support the work of CHS across its sites. Our kick off event in Parkersburg was held at a Par Mar Store in south Parkersburg, with newspaper coverage (and a fine article the next day) and later, TV news coverage on the 5 o'clock news. We have around 30 stores in our part of the state, and we hope CHS-Parkersburg supporters will participate in the campaign when they stop in the stores, and thank the OMEGA members for their support of the agency with this major campaign.

Lots of good activity going on these last few days

I just got back from the Transitional Living Program Walkathon at Parkersburg City Park. Lisa Doyle Parsons, and her many avid supporters put together a fine walk despite a howling wind. We had over 70 people and have raised around $500 from the event. Good diversity of participation from some continuum of care partners, United Bank supporters, and others from the community. We got newspaper reporter coverage, which we'll look for tomorrow, and good participation from the youth in the program. A cheery time was had by all; look for some pictures to emerge for this event!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wirt County Community Baby Shower

The Wirt County Community Baby Shower was held on Friday April 1 (really it was !) Mary Christian and Vickie Taylor represented CHS showing the RFTS and B23 programs. Participants were given the opportunity to hear about the variety of community resources available for pregnant women, and families with infants under 1 year in Wirt County. They were able to enjoy typical baby shower cake and food. There were many , many donations of baby care equipment that were awarded to several of the participants as prizes. Vickie took advantage of the event to meet face to face some recent referrals and made plans with them to complete intakes to enroll them in RFTS.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

McKinley All Stars benefit concert

May 6th at 7 pm, at Jefferson School Auditorium, the McKinley All Stars will perform a second benefit concert to support the after school program. This group of talented musicians, made up of McKinley faculty and some other Wood County educators, will be guaranteed enjoyable entertainment. Greg Syner and Fred Shreve write many of their own songs, and they intersperse these with fan favorite cover tunes, and a friendly, funny banter between songs. Please mark your calendars for this entertaining evening of live local music, and support the neighborhood work we do with students and their families.

welcome to two new staff members!

We welcome Francis Coyne-Davis and Marina Kelley as our newest staff members at the CHS-Parkersburg site. Francis is the new program coordinator for our Carrera model teen pregnancy prevention program (an intensive after school program for neighborhood youth) and Marina is the mental health specialist in the same program. This federally funded grant program is starting up this year, and will provide a very comprehensive program for middle school students (initially) that wraps around the youth with powerful components that will lead them to success in school, careers, healthy relationships, and a healthy future. Stay tuned for more information as it unfolds! And be sure to welcome Francis and Marina on board!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mr. Apgar makes a return!

John Apgar is again working with some youth from the Gustke Shelter in the role of a homebound instructor. We were very excited to have Mr. Apgar, once again, "working his magic" with some students who have very challenging situations and educational needs. This homebound teacher role is temporary, and individualized to the student's situation, but John has such a talent and way with helping youth in whatever way is valuable, to have a meaningful and impacting presence. This all came up very quickly this week, but already one can see the powerful impact he has on youth.

continued support of the McDonough Foundation

We received notification this week that the McDonough Foundation, here in Parkersburg, is supporting our neighborhood work with another significant grant. This will solidify our VISTA project, our First Book campaign, and the Mid Town Family Resource Center's overall mission. Lisa sent some pictures of activities of the Mid Town FRC to Bob Stephens at the McDonough Foundation, and he was pleased to see the impact their support gives.

Two of our early childhood staff venture off to North Carolina

Beverly and Roberta head out this weekend for a week of training on the Parents As Teachers model of home visiting. Their interest and commitment to adding this exciting program component to our site's early childhood mix is exciting to us. They will become trained in the PAT model, and thus be able to incorporate it into their work in the community with young families to strengthen those families, alleviate risk factors for abuse and neglect, and assist with positive, healthy starts for the children.

Big Thank You to our friends at Parkersburg Bike Shop

Long time agency friends, Ashlie and Jonny Nutter, work at Parkersburg Bike Shop. They are in the process of providing some donated bikes to the agency, and our various youth programs, that come in as trade-ins, or are bikes that Jonny (the repair mechanic!) puts some loving care into. Already he has brought several bikes over, and one has gone out with a youth in the TLP program, as a very appreciated and critical mode of transportation! These great loyal supporters of CHS-Parkersburg are truly appreciated, and a good example of our deep community engagement.

welcome to Aaron Whited

We welcome Aaron Whited as a new clerk in the Right From the Start Lead Agency program at our CHS-Parkersburg site. Aaron is "learning the ropes" from Brooke, and getting to know all the staff and programs at the site. We hope everyone will make him feel welcome and part of all the exciting things that go on at CHS-Parkersburg. Aaron has been a frequent contributor to our Americana Music Tribute Series with his excellent musical performance skills!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Winner of the NEW Chili category at this year's Cajun Cookoff and Hank Williams Tribute

Terry Beardsley is the proud winner of the chili category!!!

we have a winner : at the Cajun cookoff!!!!

Joe Peyton walked away with the prize for the best Cajun dish for the third year in a row.

Monday, March 21, 2011

PALS screening report

CHS employees participated at the annual PALS screening held at WVUP on 3/18. The CHS display landed prime real estate off to the left of the front entrance and beside the hall way where exiting families would walk right beside the display. We gave away many pencils, footballs, and frisbees with the CHS logo but more important it gave us a chance to provide vital info to families. Mary Christian ,Regional Care Coordinator for Right From The Start was there to promote the RFTS program ; Barb Lott was there to register families for CHIPS and let families know that they can utilize CHS for their financial DHHR reviews, many were very interested in this service . Vickie Taylor worked in the Developmental Screening room for 0 - 35 months along with other Birth to Three staff, which B23 took about 8 referrrals.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cajun Cookoff and Hank Williams Tribute

The foster care program of the CHS-Parkersburg site is hosting a fund raising event at 6 Pence Pub this coming Saturday night. We have been holding a Hank Williams Tribute for several years, and 2 years ago, we decided (in honor of Hank's song Jambalaya) to add a Cajun Cookoff to the festivities. This year we added chili to the cookoff, for those who might be intimidated by Cajun cuisine. We have up to 14 participants this year, so those who attend can expect a great mix of foods for their palates. See Missy Storey or folks in the foster care unit for details. The eating starts at 6 pm on 7th St. in Parkersburg. At 9 pm Lisa and Jerry Queen and their Neon Moon band will kick us off with some Hank Williams songs.

Partners in Prevention team meeting

Monday will be a meeting of the local Partners in Prevention team which supports our local project of Child Abuse Prevention. April being Child Abuse Prevention month, Lisa has several activities planned, and its a good vantage point for the team to hear updates and offer input into our PIP work in the Wood County community.

Advisory Council "retreat" this coming week

Barbara Fish and Sue Moore have initiated a "getting acquainted" and orientation session for the Advisory Council of the CHS-Parkersburg site for this coming Wednesday at "Our Community's Foundation" new offices near City Park. Barbara is spearheading this session, and we are excited to see the ground work being laid for a solid and impacting Advisory Council with the agency's new governance model, and emphasis on the importance of a strong Advisory Council.

we welcome a new staff member

Aaron Whited began work this week as a new clerk/ administrative assistant in the RFTS Lead Agency this week. He joins Brooke Chambers in her duties of clerk in the Right From the Start program. Please make him welcome as he "learns the ropes" of our bustling and busy site!!! You can expect that he might be the one answering the phones sometimes, and learning about all the different programs and services offered at the site.

Henry Logan Children's Home Board meets at our offices

We were very proud to host the Board of the Henry Logan Children's Home for their monthly board meeting here on Wednesday. They try to get out to some of the on-going grantees in the community's locations for their meetings. They were presented with a thorough presentation on the work and mission of CHS-Parkersburg, and the particular links with the legacy of the Henry Logan Home. They seemed very satisfied and impressed with the work of CHS-Parkersburg, and we could expect strong consideration of future grant applications from them, as we further our work, and local community engagement and support.

PALS screening

A community wide comprehensive health screening process here in Wood County for pre-k and young children was held Friday at WVU-P. A number of our early childhood staff were participating in this important effort.

Family Night

This month's family night brought a very powerful example of the work we try to do to help families in the neighborhood, alleviate stressors, and strengthen families with natural help from their neighbors. A single parent mom with three school age children, was lamenting the stress she feels, having to go to work before the kids get off for school, and how sometimes this leads to them being late for school. She was feeling so stressed about this, she considered quitting work. Another neighborhood parent, who she was just meeting this night at Family Night, but whose kids know each other, offered to pick up the kids for school, as she regularly takes her daughter to school and it wouldn't be an inconvenience to pick them up. The look of relief and appreciation on the mother's face, was enough to make us feel we can make an impact on the lives of the neighborhood family, simply by the act of bringing them together for a meal and family night. A survey questionnaire that Lisa had prepared, was the catalyst for this great connection.

Troubadours of Divine Bliss coffee house

We had a very nice coffee house last night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. A folk female duo from Kentucky performed for us, the Troubadours of Divine Bliss. They were very personable performers and could quickly connect to our work and mission here in the neighborhood and with area children and families. Their original songs were poignant and rich lyrically, and their harmonies and music were stunning. The audience was entranced and very appreciated of the quality of music they experienced. We raised over $300 for the VISTA projects in the evening. And a lucky winner of two tickets to see John Prine in Ashland Kentucky was announced during the evening. These coffee houses are getting rave reviews from community folks. The next one coming up is April 12th, Mark Stuart and Stacey Earle return for their 4th visit to Parkersburg. More details forthcoming.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

efforts to sustain the Mid Town Family Resource Center's work and vision and mission

We have submitted a number of grant applications and letters of inquiry lately to sustain the on-going support of the Mid Town Family Resource Center. One, a state Department of Health and Human Resources (Bureau of Children and Families) grant, seems particularly tailored to support the vision of the MTFRC. We are very hopeful of this grant. A number of others are national corporate or foundations, which we hope will gain notice because of our "track record" and vision, and the need to diversify funding sources for our comprehensive family support work.

a very successful coffee house at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

50 people "packed" into the MTFRC for a coffee house last night featuring Will Kimbrough, an accomplished singer songwriter, instrumentalist, producer, from Nashville Tennessee. The audience was mesmerized by his guitar playing and story telling, for a very enjoyable evening of music. He played two long sets, seeming to really enjoy the setting and audience, going far beyond what would be expected. Several of the audience members were new to our coffee house setting, and several indicated enthusiasm for supporting the work of CHS-Parkersburg, beyond enjoying and appreciating that we bring such good music to town.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Coffee House this Saturday at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

Will Kimbrough's coffee house at the MTFRC is this Saturday. Will is an excellent musician, songwriter and showman, who will put on a very entertaining evening of music. These coffee houses are a way to promote our agency among live music fans, and provide a continuity to the other live music events throughout the year. We will be raffling some tickets to see John Prine on April 2, and selling the new 2011 Series t-shirt ($10) as additional funding efforts.

Johnny Cash Tribute

Saturday night saw our 6th annual Johnny Cash Tribute benefit here at CHS-Parkersburg. The event was held at 6 Pence Pub in Parkersburg. Kim, the owner, is a real gracious host to our events, and shows many acts of kind, thoughtfulness to us. We thank Woody Hupp for doing sound for the show. Woody is a local musician who does some open mikes around town, and is always supportive of live local music. The musicians who performed included: Randolph Ramsey, Steve Peck, Jeff Fox and Jimmy Clinton, Jonny Nutter and Aaron Whited and MaryMary. Then we had some "after hours" impromptu performances, including a "cutting edge" rendition of I Walk the Line accompanied by I-Phone, by Greg Oxley. We had a good turnout of fans, and lots of enthusiasm and support. We had good participation in some trivia contests and lots of good door prizes were won. We raised $930 for the Mid Town Family Resource Center from the event. As always, a great time was had, and it leaves us eagerly looking forward to the next event in the Americana Music Tribute Series, our Cajun/Chili cookoff, and Hank Williams Tribute, March 26th, also at 6 Pence Pub.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Troubadours of Divine Bliss coffee house March 18

Yet another coffee house is going to be held at our store front, Friday March 18th. The Troubadours of Divine Bliss, an acoustic duo from Kentucky, two women, with great creativity and intriguing backgrounds will perform for us. 8 Pm will be show time this night. $15 tickets will get you a highly entertaining evening of music; a truly unique opportunity in Parkersburg to see such talent.

Will Kimbrough Coffee House

A second coffee house of the year will be held, March 5th at our store front (converted!!) coffee house (a k a the Mid Town Family Resource Center!!) at 7 pm. Will Kimbrough, a national touring singer songwriter will be coming to town from his base in Nashville Tennessee. $15 for tickets, to see this talented and versatile musician and performer. Will has won instrumentalist of the year through the Americana Music Association. He has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, songwriting, producing albums, and performing. He is a keen writer and observer of the human condition; has a wit and sensitivity, and can mesmerize an audience with his musicianship.

Johnny Cash Tribute February 26th

We will be holding the 6th annual Johnny Cash Tribute on February 26th at 6 Pence Pub in Parkersburg. The music begins at 9 pm, for a $5 donation. Local musicians play sets of songs celebrating the music of Johnny Cash. There will be prizes and contests that evening, too. This benefit, part of our year long Americana Music Tribute Series, is hosted by the Mid Town Family Resource Center, and the McKinley After School program. They will be running a 50-50 drawing up to the night of the event. We will have our 2011 Tribute t-shirts available, and have a few other fund raising opportunities going on connected to this kick off event.

Youth Expo

CHS-Parkersburg will participate again this year in Wood County (Family Resource Network's) Youth Expo, this year, moved from the Mall to the Elite Sports Center, but still held on President's Day, February 21st. There will be lots of youth-oriented organizations with displays and informational tables, and lots of door prizes and handouts and activities. We are proud of our staff's involvement in the leadership and planning of all sorts of FRN activities and events. Missy Storey has solicited a lot of prizes for this event, and will "staff" our display and table.

Valentine's Sweets fund raiser and community awareness raising

Two teams of CHS-Parkersburg folks braved the elements on Friday February 11 and Saturday February 12th to have a table in front of the Foodland on Emerson Ave. selling home made Valentine's Treats, and recruiting volunteers, mentors and foster homes. These were both cold days to be outside, so those involved definitely showed their dedication to the mission and work of CHS-Parkersburg.

Youth Coffee House

Randi Marshall spearheaded a youth coffee house that was held at the Mid Town Family Resource Center on Saturday, February 12th. About 35 people attended this music event. Young musicians performed sets of songs for the audience; which was a mix of familiar and new faces. Randi has been inspired by the "adult" live music events we put on at the Mid Town FRC, and wanted to showcase local youth talent. Everything went off well, and so we look for additional shows to be set up.

Family Night

A monthly Family Night was held last Thursday at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Home made soups were the main course, and folks really enjoyed them, due to the cold weather, as winter drags on. A good mix of "tried and true" neighborhood families and some of the newer folks created a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. For the parent activity, we had Jodi Smith of WVU Extension lead a discussion on bullying. There was good interaction around this topic of high interest. The children made Valentine's goodies, for the families, and for a couple of events coming up around the holidays.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's candy and treats

The two Lisa's and their respective programs, are having a Valentine's candy (and other sweets) sale tomorrow and Saturday in front of the Foodland on Emerson mid day (10- 2 ish). For LDP this is a second annual; they will be creating the goodies today (and probably tomorrow!) and raising a little money and awarenss for our work. This engages the youth participants in our programs in outreach, too.

Life Skills Session on Domestic Violence; staying safe

LDP hosted Ann Pifer, from the Family Crisis Intervention Center Monday for a life skills session with young people associated with our Transitional Living Program, and others connected to the Mid Town Family Resource Center. These on going sessions helping with life skills, have had a focus on healthy relationships lately, and this session was well received by the youth. We very much appreciate Ann coming to do this with us.

Civic Dialogue on Youth and Violence

LDP and I took 5 youth from our neighborhood and Transitional Living program out to Pressley Ridge School for a deliberative discussion on the topic of Youth and Violence, facilitated by Jean Ambrose a long time friend of mine, who I greatly admire for her work with "issues forums." 5-6 youth from Pressley Ridge, several staff members and our crew held a conversation on the topic for about 2 hours. Everyone's voice was heard; everyone practiced listening to another's point of view, and some areas of concensus were found, and some new ideas were taken in. Thanks to Tim Bauman for hosting us, and for Jean's facilitation, and thanks mostly to the youth who took the time to practice and participate in their civic life!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book and Record Sale held today

Lisa and I pronounced the Book and Record Sale held today at the Mid Town Family Resource Center a success; both based on raising over $750, and the good conversations and engagement we made with community members about what we do here. We had a little "friendly competition" between the vinyl record sales and the book sales, but both benefit the Mid Town Family Resource Center. I'll let Lisa say which side won!!! Thanks to all the people who donated books, got the word out, came to the sale, and helped with the organizing and collecting/ sorting books and such.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

CHS-Parkersburg lost a good friend

Marv Davis, who was a strong supporter and encourager of the CHS-Parkersburg site, died this past week. Marv, who was 84, had grown up in Wirt and Wood County but had moved away for a long and distinguished career in accounting, and moved back, in the mid-2000's with his wife Roberta, to the Parkersburg area. As he was returning to the area, he had done some research and wanted to support a youth serving agency, and chose us. He supported the neighborhood work, the shelter, and had a particular interest in our plans to provide transitional living services for older youth. Marv and Roberta had been married over 60 years. We were saddened by the loss, but feel blessed to have known Marv and received his support these past few years.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

First Music Event of the 2011 Americana series

Saturday, January 22, between 35-40 people attended a coffee house here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center to see Tommy Womack perform two sets of original music in his unique and entertaining style. Accompanied by Dan Seymour on acoustic bass, Tommy put on a great show for the audience. The sound and setting received accolades (thanks to the work of Missy Storey for the setting, and Steve Peck for the sound). Several people were new to the agency and the coffee house setting, so this helps get the word out about what we do; and how we tie enjoying live local music with fund raising and community awareness. Tommy is a touring musician based in Nashville.

Little Kanawha Collaborative meeting here

Friday, January 28th we hosted the monthly meeting of the Little Kanawha Collaborative here at our offices. This group which has been meeting for over 10 years is an interagency coalition which assesses the needs and dynamics in the community regarding children, youth, and families services. We have been the primary host of the group throughout its history, with recent changes to move the meetings around the 7 county region.

United Bank employees visit and offer to help CHS-Parkersburg

Shelley and Ashley met with some young leaders from United Bank here in Parkersburg on January 20th to discuss ways they could become involved in our work here at CHS-Parkersburg. We look for great things to come of this partnership!

Hats Off to Mentoring event

January is National Mentoring Month. Several staff were actively involved in planning a first time mentoring recognition event here in Parkersburg. Most notably, Ashley Way spearheaded the effort, with Missy Storey, Lisa Weaver, Lisa Doyle Parsons, and Shauna Kelly also participating in the recognition event. Several of our WE CAN mentors, and volunteers in several programs were honored. Organizers and participants all agreed this was a successful first time event.

Site Wide Staff Meeting

Tuesday, January 25th we held a site wide staff meeting. There were many helpful updates and introductions, and several items of news of general site interest. We also review the site strategic plan for 2011-2012, and the calendar of events for 2011. Barbara Fish, a CHS board member and local liaison for the board with the local advisory council and site, attended and participated very positively in the meeting. Barbara is really getting involved in the site and the agency. She also did a site visit on January 20th with Shelley. She also had a board orientation with Dennis Sutton that day.

Visitor from the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program

Shelia Reich visited us last week. Shelia is the program link for us with the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program, which we are replicating for our Teen Pregnancy Prevention grant program starting this summer. Shelia is very encouraging and experienced, both valuable traits in helping us get the program established.

Lots of Winter Weather to contend with!

January has seen lots of winter weather to contend with, for staff at CHS-Parkersburg. There have been many snow days and 2 hour delays; effecting the after school program, and staff with their own families. Meetings have been re-scheduled and traveling often "an adventure." As we turn the corner to February, we hope the Groundhog heartens us with news of an early spring!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January is National Mentoring Recognition Month

January is National Mentoring Month. Locally Ashley and Missy are actively leading efforts to have a local Mentoring awareness and recognition event. It will be at the Parkersburg city building, Thursday January 27th at 6:30 pm. Lots of advance information is available, so see Ashley at the CHS-Parkersburg office for information.

Site Wide Staff Meeting - January 25th

With the bustling hive that is our CHS-Parkersburg site, its a mammoth undertaking to get (most) of the staff together for a site wide staff meeting, which we try to do quarterly. These opportunities to share cross-program updates and information, to talk about whole-site communication issues and projects; review the yearlong calendar of events, and promote the site strategic plan, are very important. This month the meeting is Tuesday, January 25th at 10 am in Suite 3. The meeting will be followed by a potluck lunch for anyone available and interested.

VISTA project holding MLK Day event

Missy Storey has been working hard on a Martin Luther King Day community service event. Missy has taken our First Book project and gotten it revved up. This project, which is a national effort, gets books into the hands of children who otherwise might not have the opportunity to own books. Our local project will work with area Head Start's and some of our own programs to get the project promoted in the local community, and get some books out to children, youth and families.

Local Advisory Council kicks off 2011

Last Friday the Parkersburg Advisory Council kicked off its year with an organizing meeting. 2010 was reviewed and highlighted what all agreed was a successful year for the site in terms of services to children and families and community engagement. 2011 promises to be an equally exciting year for the site and advisory council. The advisory council is looking at holding a more deliberate retreat or planning session coming up in early 2011.

CHS-Parkersburg hosts first music coffee house of the year

Saturday, January 22nd, at 7 pm, the Mid Town Family Resource Center hosts Tommy Womack for a coffee house. Tommy is a Nashville based singer songwriter with a wildly entertaining body of music. He is funny; and provides keen observation of the human condition, and the culture and society of America. He has written books, been involved in a number of bands and collaborations with some of the most creative and inspired musicians in the Nashville scene. Tickets are $15; come out and enjoy a great evening of entertainment.

Numerous Staff attend local Public Policy Forum

CHS-Parkersburg was well represented at a recent public policy forum in Wood County. Is it Good for Children? was the theme. Promoted by Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia, these forums held around the state just prior to the legislative session intended communities to engage their legislators in awareness efforts around children's issues. The local forum focused on the multi-year "service array" community needs assessment process, and the findings locally. Many of the services provided by CHS-Parkersburg were among those highlighted as benefiting local children and families and worthy of additional support.

1800 volunteer hours in 2010 for CHS-Parkersburg

Ashley Way, who is our WE CAN volunteer coordinator, is also our comprehensive coordinator of all-things volunteering, here at the CHS-Parkersburg site. She reports a total of 1800 volunteer hours in 2010 at our site. This represents an impressive array of efforts by community supporters in a wide variety of capacities. We thank all those who contributed to this total, and their individual efforts to further the mission of the agency, and help many area children and families.