Turn for Better Helping community is an ageless thing

Hood River News Editorial

July 16, 2005

Every society needs to sustain itself by feeding the young.

Feeding as in nutritious food and nurturing spirit.

Communities should acknowledge the people who care for their children — from natural parents who give their love and energy to their own children to foster parents who support children who are not “their own” except in the broader sense that we all can benefit from the health, happiness and safety of all the children in our midst. The State of Oregon and the non-profit Next Door, Inc., are constantly in need of qualified, caring adults to give temporary foster shelter and guidance to young people from the Gorge.

For those who choose to make a smaller commitment, programs such as (to name but a few) Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Court Appointed Special Advocate program and SMART reading (Start Making A Reader Today) are always seeking volunteers for one to a few hours each week.

Age is not an impediment, in most cases, for helping those community organizations that help our young people. A case in point is that of Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor Emily Bounds, profiled on page A1 of this issue.

Emily, 18, was named on July 7 as Volunteer of the Year from Hood River United Way. The organization funds numerous organizations serving children, the elderly, and other segments of the community in need of programs to help them get through life.

“Ms. Bounds spends an hour each week throughout the school year with Kyle (not the boy’s real name),” wrote the program’s Jennifer Swanson in nominating Bounds. “She has been committed to Kyle and their weekly meetings for a year and a half.”

“It is evident through the relationship she shares with Kyle, and Kyle’s growing positive attitude towards school, that Ms. Bounds is making a positive difference in his life. Ms. Bounds is customarily the first mentor to arrive, and the last one to leave.”

Emily is an example of the young feeding the young. She is by no means the youngest volunteer in the county, and people who take time out to help range widely in age and station. We echo the words of Hood River United Way president Paul Blackburn, who added board’s thanks to the agency representatives present at the July 7 meeting.

“You are all carrying a lot of the load in this community,” he said. “We are proud to be connected to you and what you are doing.”

To that end, the Hood River News reminds all non-profit organizations in the county looking for volunteers to submit information on their needs to our on-going “Getting Involved” column, a resource for people in the community to know where to turn to take their turn.

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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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