Next Door celebrates 40th with 8K boost

August 7, 2011

Rotary of Hood River presented The Next Door with a check for $8,333 at Thursday's 40th anniversary celebration at NDI's new headquarters.

Rotary's Bob Francis gave NDI Director Janet Hamada the first of three payments toward its $25,000 pledge for the social agency's capital campaign.

Thursday's event, attended by about 100 people, was the second celebration in three months at the headquarters on the Heights. NDI moved into the remodeled building at 825 Tucker Road in April.

"It's just a miracle we've been doing it for 40 years; we would not be able to do it without you, without the community our partners, our business partners, and our donors," Hamada said. (Thursday's event doubled as the Chamber of Commerce monthly Business After Hours event.)

"It's gratifying to be part of something that continues over a 40-year time, and each evolution of the program has built on the past," said Michael Mehling, NDI director from 1987-2000, who now lives in New Mexico.

"It always gets better; never slides back. It changes, and the program is lucky enough to have staff who are ready to take it to that next level," Mehling said.

"One of the things that's cool about that is, if you're in the business of change, which is what you do with kids, you can't be involved in that without changing yourself," he said.

Hamada said NDI has 57 employees, including nine in its The Dalles office, a total of 210 volunteers, serving 2.088 people in 25 programs serving children, families and the underprivileged.

Hamada said a plaque honoring Rotary will be placed in the youth dining room.

"That is exactly what Rotary is all about; taking care of the kids in our community," Hamada said. NDI programs include Klahre House, a school and day treatment for youth in foster care.

The new NDI facility is a welcome change, said one man who's been a big part of Klahre House for 22 years.

"It's all right here in the same place," said Ralph Kupersmith, who trains foster families. "It opens up our kids to have parent training, or talk about family issues in different ways with different people besides just Klahre House people.

"Occasionally we get kids that may be parents soon, so it opens them up to an immediate source for parent training."

Anyone wishing to see the NDI headquarters for themselves is invited to attend the weekly Thursday welcome tours, at 10 a.m.

Call 541-386-6665 for details.

"We don't ask you for money at this tour," Hamada said.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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