Save the date for this much anticipated event! More details to come.
United Way of Clatsop County and the Nonprofit Partners with whom we work want to thank Radiothon interviewees, 94.9 The Bridge, Hits 94.3 KRKZ and all the donors who got online and text to give for a spectacular Radiothon event held 11/11/21!
Just as valuable to the effort, UWCC also wants to thank auction package donors and bidders for supporting of the only portion of Iron Chef Goes Coastal that UWCC was able to hold this year. Combined, the two events raised over $22,500 last Thursday!
The entire amount raised will help improve health, safety and education in Clatsop County.
Iron Chef Goes Coastal is UWCC’s signature event, beloved by foodies, craft beer aficionados, wine connoisseurs, auction bidders and socialites in the community. In 2019, the last year the event was held, it raised over $100,000.
COVID has kept the organization from holding the event in its entirety the last two years, but with the support from the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation, US Bank, NW Natural and Columbia Memorial Hospital, the online auction component went live for just under a week selling 25 of 27 packages ranging from kitchenware to Golf Excursions in Scotland.
Radiothon was a new venture for UWCC, where health care advocates, law enforcement, public officials and educators talked about the health, safety and education challenges Clatsop County faces. UWCC Nonprofit partners shared the ways they are addressing these challenges and helping struggling individuals get back on their feet to become self-sustaining members of our community.
Didn’t get to participate but still want to give? Click here to donate!
Thank you Radiothon interviewees: Bruce Jones, City of Astoria ; Rebecca Coplin, Providence Seaside Hospital ; Mark Kujala, Columbia Memorial Hospital ; Jarrod Karnofski, Columbia Memorial Hospital ; Brian Taylor, Camp Kiwanilong board member ; Taylor Davis, Camp Kiwanilong camper & counselor ; Chelsea Harper, Clatsop CASA ; Raven Walsh, Helping Hands Reentry and Outreach ; Alan Evans, Helping Hands Reentry and Outreach ; Vann Lovett, Clatsop Community Action board president ; Esther Moberg, Libraries Reading Outreach in Clatsop County (ROCC) ; Sharon Benson, SMART Reading ; Jason Plamondon, Providence Seaside Hospital ; Terri Steenbergen, The Harbor ; Liz Bartell, The Lighthouse for Kids ; Katrina Gasser, United Way of Clatsop County board president ; Pat Milliman, Columbia Senior Diners board member ; Allison Whisenhunt, Columbia Memorial Hospital ; Jessica Jacobsen, Libraries ROCC ; Rachel Rollins, Astoria Middle School Counselor, Shey Lionheart, The Healing Circle/VOCA ; Sheryl Redburn, Hope House ; Margaret Frimoth, Lives in Transition
Thank you sponsors!
Samuel S Johnson Foundation
Thank You Auction Experience Donors!
|Cathy Jo Kirkpatrick, Independent Arbonne Consultant|
Thank you Auction Donors!
One of the great pleasures of serving on the board of The United Way of Clatsop County is getting to know our non-profit partners and the excellent work they do. An organization that I have been able to learn about is Helping Hands Outreach and Reentry . The mission of Helping Hands is to provide a helping hand to a sustainable life through trauma-informed, data-driven resources, recovery and reentry. Homelessness is a problem that is increasing in Clatsop County due to COVID-19 and the shortage of affordable housing.
On September 30th I got to speak to Raven Walsh, Director of Data and Major Projects, and Mike Davis, Development Director at Helping Hands. They were kind enough to walk me through how their program works, who benefits from their program, what their current needs are, and what has been challenging for them over the last year or so.
Who is Helping Hands?
Helping Hands Outreach and Reentry was started in 2002 in Seaside, Oregon as an 8 bed facility for the homeless. The founder, Alan Evans, has personal experience with homelessness and addiction. They now serve five counties and have 11 facilities. In October 2020 they opened the Bybee Lakes Hope Center in a former correctional center at the Port of Portland. They’ve been able to operate this facility at one-third capacity and at the end of 2021, will be providing services for over 600 individuals.
Eighty percent of staff at Helping Hands have lived experience of homelessness or addiction. This experience helps the staff relate to the folks who are there looking for help and creates a sense of trust within the program.
What does help look like at Helping Hands?
Help begins with a referral to the agency by a community partner. Community partners include the fire department, local businesses, churches and mental health professionals. When referred to Helping Hands, the first step is a 4 night stay in an emergency shelter. While in the emergency shelter, individuals decompress, shower, get to know the agency and the people and organizations with which the agency partners. After the initial four days there is an option to become a member into a high-barrier, long-term reentry program.
Reentry program participants agree to the following rules and restrictions:
- Pay $250 toward bed space every month (scholarships are available)
- 10 hours/week required volunteer work
- In-depth, personalized and trauma-informed intake process that assesses needs and determines the best path best toward reentry, employment and housing.
- Sobriety on campus at all times.
Some of the help that a program participant might receive include:
- Vocational programs for job training for skills to work
- Coaching on basic life skills
- Mental health care
- Transitional classes that help them access higher education at Clatsop Community College
Participants needs are each different. Often they learn skills like how to become personally accountable, how to schedule their day, and the importance of addressing the trauma of being homeless.
What does this look like in Clatsop County?
Helping Hands is data-driven and as a result the success of their program is easily seen in the numbers:
- 65% of folks who go into emergency shelter go into the long term reentry program
- 90% of those folks go into sustainable housing.
- After 3 years, 85% of the women and 75% of the men who have gone through the program are still in sustainable housing and employed.
How can you help?
One of the ways you can help is with a financial contribution to United Way of Clatsop County (UWCC). Often grants from UWCC to agencies like Helping Hands are able to be doubled through state and federal matching grants, so your dollars go further in supporting self-sustainability for homeless.
Helping Hands also lists current items that are needed. Holidays can be an especially hard time for participants in the reentry program. Donations of multi-denominational gifts and decorations are always welcome. If in doubt, a quick call to their office is a great way to hear how you can get involved with holiday meals or donations. Helping Hands office number is 503-738-4321.
Cheryl Paul and Jodi Anderson are connecting unsheltered individuals with social services in Clatsop County to help get them off the streets and become self-sustaining.
The liaisons, overseen by Clatsop Community Action (CCA), underwent months of training on local social service opportunities for the unhoused and have been meeting with them one-on-one to encourage the use of local resources.
“They connect people on the streets to assistance, ” states CCA Social Services Manager, Susan Prettyman. “Sometimes it’s a pair of socks, sometimes it’s helping a survivor who had to leave their home due to domestic abuse. The Liaisons are often the initial contact for agencies and social workers to help with transitions from the street to housing.”
Introducing unhoused individuals to things like shower passes, mental health resources, bus passes to the methadone clinic, food resources, housing options, energy assistance or just encouraging them to move to better locations, all fall under the Homeless Liaisons’ job description. CCA Case Managers and Community Resource Specialists then continue the process of getting unhoused individuals off the streets and keeping them out of overcrowded emergency rooms.
The liaisons also respond to calls from the public and local businesses for non-criminal situations regarding homeless individuals, providing an alternative to police intervention.
As long as the individual isn’t aggressive or brandishing a weapon, CCA can be contacted at 503-325-1400 and the police can conserve their time and phone lines for more dangerous matters.
Shipwrecked Music Festival was a new event for Clatsop County, and an exciting opportunity for sponsors to show community support. When the event was cancelled just two days prior to showtime we hoped that some of the sponsors would convert their sponsorship into a donation.
What we didn’t expect was for every single cash sponsor to convert their sponsorship. Which is exactly what happened. This show of support during hard times reminds us that we’re all in this together. We’re lucky to live in a county where so many businesses care about community.
These generous donations will go to support local nonprofits working to make life a little bit better for people who are struggling.
We’ve listed these donors below, keep them in mind when you’re looking for a local business. Not only are they working hard to provide products and services, behind the scenes, their hearts are in the right place too.
Kristina’s ex-boyfriend broke into her apartment wielding a knife with which he threatened to kill her, then himself. When she shared details about the attack, she talked about the fear, the panic, the rage…but the theme she kept coming back to, was gratitude.
First she described the appreciation she had for the Coast Guard men upstairs who locked the door and stood guard while she shakily called the police. Then, with enthusiasm, she talked about the advocates from The Harbor who walked her through the next steps.
“They helped me get my belongings, offered to make phone calls to my family, put me up in a hotel and made sure I had safe transportation so my ex couldn’t recognize my car. ”
The Harbor, a United Way of Clatsop County Nonprofit Partner, provides advocacy, prevention and support while promoting self-determination and hope for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Kristina felt more vulnerable than she ever had after the attack, but she felt the competence of the advocates allowed her to relax into their care after the incident.
“I appreciated that the advocate who came to my house the night I was attacked also came to every court hearing. She was with me when I was scared, when I was nervous about testifying, when I had to recount the story in front of the court. Her support, all the way through the final court hearing, put me at ease and made me feel comfortable.” Kristina smiled and dreamily looked off in the distance. ” I don’t know where the advocate is now, but I wish I could see her, tell her I survived, that I’m ok and l am telling my story so others can know about resources are available to keep them safe too.”
The Harbor provides its services completely free and confidentially. Their staff believe individuals are the experts of their own needs, and are ready to listen and help survivors navigate to a place of safety. This was Kristina’s experience, for which she is immensely grateful.
For more information about The Harbor, visit theharbor.org/home
As published in The Astorian, by Jen Munson
Earlier this month, the United Way of Clatsop County Board took an emergency vote which ultimately culminated in a devastating decision.
Due to new COVID-related information from the local medical community, the Shipwrecked Music Festival, a fundraising event for our local nonprofit agencies, was canceled. In making this decision, our board chose to embrace a culture that is pro-science, as well as one of active engagement in all facets of community wellness — even when we stood to lose $15,000 in event operations costs.
Our hearts ached for the nonprofits we’d hoped to assist.
Even in outdoor venues where physical distancing is possible, such as the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, the United Way was advised that the delta variant is remarkably successful in transmission. Further, the event was slated to involve alcohol, which may impair even the most genuine commitment to distancing.
Therefore, we chose to stand with our friends in public health and avoid putting any attendees at risk.
Accordingly, a full-throated show of support for the medical community must include a well-considered appreciation of the pressures these health care workers face on our behalf. Secondly, it requires a personal inventory of the ways in which each of us can better support them in this enduring crisis.
One thing is certain. We are putting these front-line workers at risk of moral injury.
Moral injury is the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses or fails to prevent acts that violate one’s own moral beliefs, values or ethical codes of conduct. What’s worse, moral injury can be a precursor to trauma-based diagnoses.
In my professional practice, I have become familiar with how symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder manifest in employment settings. Indeed, we typically associate the concept of moral injury and PTSD with returning military service members.
Colloquially, we may term this “survivor’s guilt.” In fact, guilt has been identified as the most salient experience of PTSD. Additional symptoms include anxiety, hopelessness, flashbacks, social isolation and even suicidal thoughts.
As we learned this month, the county’s hospitals have been inundated by new virus cases, including some tied to the Clatsop County Fair. Complicating matters is another wave of medical equipment and testing supply shortages and the difficulty in transferring patients to other hospitals for specialized care.
Given this situation, it is only a matter of time until our health care workers face some ghastly decisions around who receives life-saving care and who will not. To be regularly charged with such decisions is inconceivable to most of us. We do not train medical workers for this sort of triage either. How could we?
Such high-stakes emotional reckoning is compounded in an epidemic where workers face long shifts punctuated by insufficient rest — only to get up and do it all again the next day. Crucially, where the potency of a traumatic episode is concerned, the effect of repetitive injury leaves little if any time to process an incident. When left unaddressed, these “thousand cuts” often lead to longer term mental health consequences.
It has been said that the ultimate injustice then, on top of all this moral injury, is for health care workers to leave the hospital only to see that outside those walls the rest of us still blunder on, gleefully mocking mask mandates and other precautions as though they are nothing more than political theater.
Is this a failure of education? Or is it a failure of leadership? Regardless, in making those choices, we put our health care workers in harm’s way, and, by extension, their families, too. Almost comically, we then expect them to risk their own lives to save us, should we contract the virus. It’s a calculus suggesting we deem these workers valuable only when we benefit personally.
An alternative to that seeming indifference is to cultivate an ethic known as “health citizenship.” It means that as the beneficiaries of patient care, we hold up our end of the bargain.
We contact our elected representatives and implore them to follow public health science when they set policy. It also means that if they choose not to, we vote them out. Health citizenship requires that we advocate for our hospitals and other medical care providers to protect the well-being of staff. This includes providing adequate trauma-informed support in the form of counseling, peer mentorship, employee resource groups and appropriate staffing to promote recovery time between shifts.
Finally, it means ensuring that we do not further contribute to the problem during this pandemic.
Canceling the Shipwrecked Music Festival was a decision we felt bereaved by. But, ultimately, we knew local health care workers needed our support.
United Way of Clatsop County believes this is the time to shine a light on the importance of standing with our health care workers and beyond. We ask you to join us in supporting these community members with your own efforts towards health citizenship.
Without such heroes, we have little hope for surviving this calamity, nor any other crisis the future may bring.
Jen Munson is a disability rights advocate and social worker who serves on the board of the United Way of Clatsop County.
Red velvet beet cake, hibiscus lemonade, strawberry cornbread cobbler. These culinary delights are associated with Juneteenth due to their auspicious vibrancy.
Also referred to as Freedom Day, Juneteenth has been a holiday celebrated by many Black Americans on June 19th to commemorate the emancipation of all enslaved people in the United States. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, after the Civil War ended, slaves were declared free.
Many forget that, although we celebrate July 4th as our American Independence Day, many black people remained enslaved long after 1776. It wasn’t until 90 years later, when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in January of 1863, that slavery was ended by law – and another two years for that law to be communicated to (with purposeful enforcement) in the Confederate states further south.
There are numerous ways to pay homage to this remarkable event in American history. My own ritual induction has seen a series of fits and starts. After conducting historical research and a number of nerdy focus group dialogues among obliging friends, I decided upon an event that invokes the traditional Texan one. It will feature a modest gathering and a tasting of wondrous red fare! We shall dazzle our loved ones with a flight of my wife’s homemade summer berry wines. We will muddle our way through a reading of the emancipation proclamation. With chagrin, we will lament Astoria’s rather memorable tango with the KKK in the 1920s and marvel over what it must have been like to see the cross burning on Coxcomb hill. We will marinate over what a historical ‘civil rights walking tour’ of our city might look like in anticipation of future Juneteenth gatherings.
But all of these intellectual exchanges must be paired with a purposeful offering too – one of action, one of service.
In honor of Juneteenth, I donate my time to an agency that shares my values. United Way of Clatsop County is my chosen beneficiary – it’s where I concentrate my local attention to help understand and correct inequities that lead to racial injustice, oppression and violence against people of color in my community.
Locally, nationally and world-wide United Ways are taking steps to forge more equitable communities. We affirm that power lies within individuals. Individuals must act in order for structures to change, and once structures change, culture may begin to recognize every human for exactly that: their humanity.
Wondering how to learn more about Juneteenth? Democracy advocacy group NextGen America has an excellent short video, “History of Juneteenth,” available free online that can start you on your journey and bring modern relevance to your engagement with equity. Another brief video, Vox’s “Why all Americans Should Celebrate Juneteenth” is similarly edifying.
Gov. Kat Brown signed a bill into law this month making Juneteenth a state holiday.
This year, armed with both curiosity and humility, join me in founding your own Juneteenth ritual. For buried in these rituals, these offerings is a scarlet red recipe for change.
–Jen Munson, United Way of Clatsop County board member, Disability Rights advocate and Social Worker
If you would like to thank Congress for recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday and encourage further action, click here.
What would it be like to grow up without a biological family? To not have albums filled with generational portraits of similar-featured faces, no Grandma with stories of “your mom when she was in high school”, no favorite Aunt with tales of your dad blowing up frogs as a boy.
For many children in the foster system, this is reality. They don’t have the connection to their genealogical pasts, they don’t have stories of family members with the same outlook on life, they don’t have pictures of siblings with similar features.
Now imagine if, as a teenager, a blood relative was found who wanted to know you, share stories with you and show you pictures of your family. This was the case for Calvin*, who grew up in foster care. Click here to find out how the Hope House’s Family Find program helped connect Calvin to his past…and also his future.
Hope House is a United Way of Clatsop County Partner Agency. Their counselors offer services on a sliding scale for behavioral health, family and community support, refugee and immigrant services, child welfare, aging and independent living and crime victim services.