Community Services Consortium

Serving Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties in Oregon. Helping people. Changing lives.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Volunteer Conference in NYC

Beth Fox, Director of Linn-Benton RSVP, a program of Community Services Consortium, recently returned from the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in New York City.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Points of Light Institute hosted the conference, supported by corporate sponsorships. Each conference workshop offered opportunities to network with colleagues in volunteer management from across the nation, with a few attendees from around the world, including the Deputy Minister of Sports and Youth Activities from the country of Liberia.

One of the network opportunities was held in Chinatown. This immersion session focused on the literacy work of four local nonprofits supported by AmeriCorps members. A second opportunity to network sponsored by Target was called “Party With a Purpose”, where one evening 2,000 attendees gave their time to build enough food boxes to provide 150,000 meals.

Dr. Erwin Tan, the new director of Senior Corps was introduced to Beth's group. He shared that his wife is from Corvallis! Amy Dailey, the Oregon CNCS Director, invited him to Oregon to see the best and brightest Senior Corps projects the country has to offer and specifically to see the impact the program has in Benton County.

Congratulations to the 81 CSC graduates

Community Services Consortium (CSC) graduated 81 students this year in Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties. The students graduated with either a high school diploma or a GED. The graduates came from CSC’s 3 alternative schools, in Corvallis, Albany or Lebanon, CSC’s charter school, Career Tech, in Lincoln City and from CSC’s partner, Angell Jobs Corp campus in Yachats.

Following are excerpts from remarks made by Clay Martin, Director of the CSC Workforce & Education program while addressing the class of 2010 in Corvallis. Martin spoke at several CSC graduations this June.

“Events like graduation that mark a significant achievement and a significant transition in life are special – a significant achievement for each of you.

“Many people talk about the value of a high school diploma in terms of real dollars. According to the US Census Bureau a high school graduate was expected to earn $1,216,000 over a 40 year career. That is $300,000 more than a person who did not graduate from high school. A college degree will add another $250,000-a higher degree even more. So, don’t ever stop learning. It almost always pays in real dollars over the course of your career.

“But, I think the value of a high school diploma is more than the real dollars. It demonstrates that you can stick with something difficult and challenging and persevere until it is complete. It is what most people call a good work ethic.

“Thank you to the teachers and staff who helped you. Thank you especially to the families who supported you. And congratulations class of 2010!”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More appliances now eligible for rebates

If you’ve got an appliance that leaks energy, the state’s newly expanded rebate program can help.

The program, which started in January to replace low-efficiency furnaces and heat pumps, now includes water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes washers. The funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The program is open only to homeowners whose annual household income is 60 percent or less of the statewide median. Rebates will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. And new appliances must be Energy Star, which certifies superior energy efficiency. Vouchers can be redeemed for up to 70 percent of the price, to a specified maximum. Old appliances must be legally recycled to receive a rebate.

For details or to apply:
Call Oregon Housing and Community Services: 1-800-453-5511 (option 2, selection 4)

Source: The Oregonian 7/9/2010

For information about energy assistance or weatherization, call Community Services Consortium at (541) 752-1010.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AC*VISTA Off-Site Training Day

Editor's Note: this story is a compilation of stories written by AC*VISTA Leader Jeannie Ramsey and AC*VISTA member Megan Tolley and originally published in CSC's 'Building Bridges' AmeriCorps*VISTA newsletter.

From Jeannie:
On Wednesday, April 21, I joined ten 'Building Bridges' VISTA members and Tifani Erpelding, Project Coordinator, at the OSU Challenge Course for a day of team-building exercises. I had not even been in Oregon for a week and I was going to be climbing a telephone pole! It was only my third day in the new Leader position, so I was a little nervous about meeting everyone, especially during something I thought would require so much athletic ability.

One of the challenge exercises involved ten of us being blindfolded and coached by the two remaining VISTAs. Our task was to place a rope around a small can and move it to another location about 15 feet away. The two coaches had to describe the tools to us, and guide our steps to the goal. “Being blindfolded in order to move the bucket was difficult for me because I work best when I am able to see what needs to be done and what tools are available,” stated Tifani Erpelding. That information will be helpful for me as I work with Tifani through my service year.

Another exercise required all of us to move across three platforms, using three pieces of 2x4 wood of different lengths, none of which were long enough to fit between the platforms. Neither people nor wood were allowed to touch the ground. The team would be successful when all members were standing on the last platform, which measured less than three feet square. Clear communication and excellent balancing skills contributed to successful completion of this challenge.

The most challenging exercise was climbing and belaying. Each person was outfitted with helmets and climbing harnesses so they could climb a telephone pole to belay down to waiting team members. Constant communication between climber and primary belay person, and careful watching of the primary belay person by other team members brings the climber down safely. Fear of heights did not stop anyone from attempting this exercise.

From Megan:
I didn't realize how scared I was until my feet left the ground. My hands didn't want to move as I climbed up the pole. I felt paralyzed. My heart started racing and my mouth went dry. I wanted to get down and quit. After watching everyone else gracefully cross the line and finish, it didn't seem to be like such a big deal. But now it was my turn. I had a team of 5 belaying me; with encouraging glances and persuading chants I couldn‟t bare the chance that I would be the one person who couldn't complete the challenge. I like to finish what I started, so especially now with everyone watching, I just had to do it.

As I stared at the other side, an easy task turned into new perspective on becoming focused to overcoming this challenge. Stepping away from the comfort of safety and onto the line, I expected to fall, but I didn't. I took a deep breath and one baby step at a time I finally made it to the other side. Needless to say I was relieved to get back on solid ground, but more importantly I was proud of myself for letting go and moving forward to attain my end goal.

‘Building Bridges’VISTA Members 2009-2010:

Linn County
Miao Zhao
Albany InReach Services

Hilary McAlister
CSC-Santiam Wilderness Academy

Melissa Clark
Linn County Sheriff‟s Department

Benton County
Rachel Karasick
CSC-Youth Garden Project

April Pritchard
CDDC-Project Action

Megan Czerny
CSC-Fund Development

Megan Tolley
Corvallis Environmental Center

Lincoln County
Kaija Daniel
Lincoln Commission on Children & Families

Linn & Benton Counties
Jenn Crist
Jackson Street Youth Shelter

Matt Walker
Linn Benton Housing Authority

Please check out the website for more information on CSC's Building Bridges AmeriCorps*VISTA program.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Linn Benton Food Share Has New T-Shirts For Sale

Mike Gibson, Director of Linn Benton Food Share displays the new t-shirts.

CSC's Linn Benton Food Share program has a new line of
t-shirts for sale. The short and long sleeved 100% cotton shirts come in a range of new colors. You can choose from a large food share logo or small pocket sized logo. The t-shirts are priced at $8 for short sleeved and $12 for long sleeved.

The shirts are available at Linn Benton Food Share office located at 545 SW 2nd Street in Corvallis. All proceeds go to the Linn Benton Food Share program to help achieve its goals.

Food Share’s goal this year is to distribute 5 million pounds of food to its 74 member agencies this year—an increase of nearly 200,000 pounds. Food Share can achieve this by expanding their Fresh Alliance pickups to new supermarkets, by purchasing more bulk products such as rice, beans, and cereal, and by taking steps to increase our storage and repackaging areas so they can accept large donations and accommodate the many volunteers who bag up this food into family-size packages.

Welcome to CSC's blog and e-newsletter!

These communications tools can be used to make announcements, acknowledge donors and volunteers, post videos and slideshows–whatever we want to share with our online community.

There are 3 ways to deliver info to stakeholders:

  1. The blog itself, which can be linked to our current website
  2. Email news blasts (blog articles sent via email as eNewsletters)
  3. RSS Feed (subscribers read in Google Reader or other feed reader, can also send posts to Facebook and Twitter)
We're excited about these communication tools and look forward to both your input and feedback for continuing improvement and positive information-sharing.

If you have agency/program information you'd like posted on this blog, please send full text and/or photos and videos, ideas, or suggestions to Janet Hessel and she will take the next steps.