Drumming up the First Annual “Art of the Heart”

 Social Services Agencies, Special Events  Comments Off on Drumming up the First Annual “Art of the Heart”
Oct 072010

We have been approached about participating in the First Annual “Art of the Heart” event for kids without housing and their families that the Lincoln County School District is putting on Sunday November 14 (1:00 to 4:00 PM) at the old Yaquina View School, in Newport. It is part of the new HELP Homeless Education & Literacy Project.

Sandy Post wrote: “It’s an art sale, open mic stage, bake sale, and tours of the HELP center…The art work for sale will be donated by artists and will be in a more affordable price range….we are looking for poets, musicians, etc. who would be interested in signing up for a time to perform…I’m sending you this info in hope that you or some of the drummers might like to perform at this event…”

I talked with Sandy about it today and suggested that we do an ongoing participatory drum circle (as opposed to a performance) somewhere at a distance from the stage so that it could run concurrently with the stage entertainment so folks (especially kids) could just drop in and out more or less whenever they feel like over the three hours of the event; pretty much the same as we did at the OCCC benefit during the summer.

I’ll try to get some more details tomorrow, but I would definitely like to do it if there is any interest. I will need at least two or three other drummers to help me. Please let me know right away if you are interested.


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Keeping track of homeless students in Lincoln County.

 Social Services Agencies, Toledo, Waldport  Comments Off on Keeping track of homeless students in Lincoln County.
Sep 232010

Tracking homeless school students in Lincoln County just got a bit more effective, according to Lincoln County School District Homeless Coordinator Katey Townsend. Townsend said Lincoln County’s homeless student count for the 2009-10 school year was 411 children, down slightly from the previous year, but adds she expects that count to quite possibly rise in the current year due to more homeless outreach workers in the schools. Last year there were three. This year there are five workers surveying school kids district-wide.

Townsend says the homeless outreach program is largely federal funded. Statewide figures on student homelessness were released this week, showing a wide range between districts. The highest rate, one in five, was tallied in a Medford area school district, the lowest was zero as indicated in select districts in a number of counties including Baker, Harney, Wheeler, Union and others. Taking averages among the larger metro areas, Beaverton was 4.2%, Medford 9.4%, Portland 2.3%, Salem-Keizer 2%, Bend-LePine 5.1%, Eugene 3.4%, Douglas 4.8% and Klamath Falls 12.9%.

A wide disparity among some districts, including Portland compared to its neighboring counties, has raised concern among school district administrators who are coming up with reasons why. They say some districts are not making the effort to accurately count the homeless children among them. Portland schools officials are quoted in the Portland Oregonian as saying “we need to do a better job. We know there is more homelessness among our students than a mere 2.3%.”

Here in Lincoln County, Katey Townsend says the district has strengthened their outreach to homeless students. Students qualify to be considered homeless if they “couch surf” night to night, live in a motel, car, friend’s house, abandoned building, the gamut. Lincoln County’s student homeless rate is estimated at around 8%, a slight drop from 2008-09. But again with a near doubling of homeless outreach workers, Townsend expects the 2010-11 year to bump up a bit.

Townsend says the district does more than count homeless children. She says the district has established three Family Literacy Resource Centers; one at Taft Elementary in south Lincoln City, another at Yaquina View School in Newport, and a third at Toledo’s Arcadia Elementary. A private, non-profit resource center in Waldport is located at the Seashore Family Resource Center on Bay Street near Waldport High School.
Townsend says the centers give families clothing, hygiene products, dinner plates, utensils, and books. Occasional “Read and Feed” sessions are also held at the centers in which children are read to as they enjoy a balanced hot meal. Families are also referred to community food banks which report they are keeping up (for now) thanks to the generosity of local residents. They say they are handing out food to more and more “average families” who have never been needy or homeless in their lives, until now.

Townsend says they always need more volunteers for their Family Literacy Resource Centers. Volunteers perform a variety of tasks from reading to children to helping parents access other resources in the community for health, housing, food, psychological counseling and family income and budgeting. She said baby-boomer retirees are prime candidates in that they have free time, for the most part, and are looking for ways to be more involved in their communities in a deeply meaningful way. Townsend says volunteers can help as much as they are comfortable with; from one hour a day on up. Those who would like more information on volunteering should call Katey Townsend at 541-265-4506.

Heard of 9-1-1? Well here comes 2-1-1, probably in December.

 Social Services Agencies  Comments Off on Heard of 9-1-1? Well here comes 2-1-1, probably in December.
Sep 012010

We all know what 9-1-1 is. It’s the number you call in an emergency. Well, 2-1-1 is sort of the same thing, except its to connect the caller with all manner of assistance of a minor-to-medium emergency, like medical help, referrals to psychological services, counseling, and other “human services.” It’s in partnership with United Way which is the funding arm for so many of those kinds of services.

The Lincoln County Commission was told Wednesday that the Lincoln County version of 2-1-1 is in the formative stages and may be ready for a “live” launch sometime in December. Continue reading »

Providing food for the hungry in Lincoln County

 Social Services Agencies, Special Events  Comments Off on Providing food for the hungry in Lincoln County
Aug 302010

Lincoln County Employee Food Drive starting September 1st

“It’s a call to action,” says Nancy Smith, Food Share Director. “The severity of food insecurity in Lincoln County is stunning. We need your help and there are a variety of ways for you to make a difference.”

On September 1, the Board of Commissioners will issue a Proclamation against Hunger and announce a two-week Lincoln County Employee Food Drive. Continue reading »