Gorge’s Center For Living receives two major grants

To help serve youth and families and other clientele, and to better connect existing services, the Mid-Columbia Center for Living has received two grants for use in the next three to six years.

The grants are from the Department of Health and Human services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The first grant is for $6.6 million over six years to integrate and improve services to youth who have severe emotional disorders and their families.

Community partners including the schools, public health, juvenile services, early childhood services, child and family commissions, La Clinica del Carino and several other members of the community provided guidance in the planning and pledged matching funds for the grant.

Governor Ted Kulongoski, State Senators Rick Metsger and Ted Ferrioli and State Representatives John Mabrey and Patti Smith all wrote supporting letters. The service area encompasses Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties and will serve an estimated 175 families each year.

Individualized Care Teams will provide wrap-around services to the children and families using a Family Decision Support model which builds on the strengths of children and families and their natural support system. This model emphasizes the family role as decision-maker and primary care provider.

Expanded mental health services include outreach, early identification and intervention, school and home based services, crisis respite, intensive day treatment and services to children with co-occurring disorders (mental health/addictions.)

Transition services include vocational, housing and independent living. Family coordinators will provide care management services.

A national evaluation study and local research will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of the services. The grant will provide new employment opportunities for approximately 15 people. Recruitment is scheduled to begin this month. Sharon Guidera, executive director of MCCFL, is the principal investigator and Ramona Ropek is the project director.

The Mid-Columbia Child and Family Partnership is a consortium of family, youth, community leaders and agencies that will design and provide guidance for the project.

The second grant, the Strengthening Treatment Access and Retention (STAR) program, provides $200,000 each year for three years.

The grant will utilize evidence-based practices to redesign the initial contact, screening and treatment procedures to enhance retention of people seeking treatment at MCCFL. No-show and cancellation rates are the highest at the earliest phases of contact with the agency.

People seeking behavioral health services often are hesitant due to the lingering stigma of seeking mental health and/or addictions treatment or may feel their problems cannot be helped. Their initial experiences with the agency are crucial in determining retention.

The grant will support an extensive training and retooling of the agency’s procedures and will also include a national and local evaluation to ensure that the design is effective. Guidera is principal investigator and David Mason is the project director.

Any questions regarding the grants may be directed to Ramona Ropek at 386-2620 in Hood River or David Mason 541-296-5452 in The Dalles.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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