Thursday, August 26, 2010
“During my tenure as Chair, I hope to encourage the network as a whole toward statewide solutions to food security problems while remaining focused on our respective local efforts,” said McCambridge. “We can accomplish a great deal as a network. For instance, the OFB network, working together at the state capitol, was able to increase state funding to increase capacity at food banks throughout the state. The General Food & Fund program has had a dramatic impact on providing food to Oregonians seeking emergency assistance.”
CSC’s Linn Benton Food Share distributes nearly 5 million pounds of food in Linn and Benton counties to its 75 member agencies which include emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, day care centers, and many other non-profits serving people with low and moderate incomes.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tifani Erpelding, Project Coordinator, with the departing 2009 ‘Building Bridges’ AmeriCorps*VISTA team: From the left, Rachel Karasick, Megan Davis, Melissa Clark, Kaija Daniel, Megan Hutchinson (sitting on floor), Miao Zhao (hidden), Tifani, Hilary McAlister, Jen Crist (front and center) April Pritchard, and Matt Walker.
By Hilary McAlister, who served at CSC's Santiam Wilderness Academy in Lebanon
My most memorable experience this year was a presentation the Santiam Wilderness Academy youth gave to the Lebanon Genealogical Society. We received a grant to do restoration work on a pioneer cemetery and the students presented their work. I showed the pictures on the projector and the students spoke about their experiences.
The community members were excited to hear about this cemetery, which due to terrain, is out of reach for most of them. They were thrilled to hear the youth caring and connecting to the past and to local history. As for the students, they blossomed under the interest and gratitude of the Genealogical Society members. They excitedly recounted the work they did in the field, the grave marker assessment activity, the hike up the hill, the importance of the work, and most importantly, how it made them feel.
They were able to share their own thoughts and feelings for people who were interested. A couple of students remarked afterwards how nice it was to share their hard work with people who cared. Although this did not earn money, in-kind donations, volunteers, or partnerships (all of our “measurable outcomes” as VISTAs), it was a positive community connection for everyone involved. For me, those spontaneous connections between people are the reason I serve.
In spite of the serious budget crisis in our state, and the cuts that CSC Head Start received (9.5%), we are still in business. While we reduced the number of children served by six in the coming year, we have retained all our classes and will begin September 14th with optimism, joy and good will.
Head Start is more than a pre-school. We care for the well being of the children and their families, making sure that health needs, nutrition as well as education are addressed throughout the year. We have family meetings, monthly, and our teacher/advocates visit our families each month in their homes or at our school sites.
With all the services that CSC provides, many referrals for support are made to our parents for connections throughout the county. Parents have received job training, help with a first home purchase, energy assistance and more. Even with the absence of our transportation service, our families are committed to giving their children the best Head Start on their lives and will work together to bring their children to school.
Our friends at DHS Self-Sufficiency program will assist parents in their Jobs program with transportation costs. Our “Friends” group is planning the second “Dinner Down the Bay” this year in October to help raise money for Head Start; many of the restaurants in the historic Bayfront in Newport are contributing to the “progressive dinner” that will include a boat ride on the bay.
We welcome volunteers in any and all aspects of our program operations and hope many people will call us to step up for our children and the future! You can count on us to be there, welcoming children and families on September 14th to begin a wonderful year of education, fun, and support.
Suzanne Miller, Director
CSC Lincoln County Head Start
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