Keeping it together: Celebration of families

August 2010 Posted in Community

By Linda WhitmoreCelebration of Families

Despite its board having to make some “tough decisions,” Silverton Together continues to fill community needs – by pulling together with others in Silverton.

Some of Silverton Together’s programs have had to be “put on the back shelf,” said Doreen Kelly, program coordinator,  but those that fit the core goals “will return should we get funding again.”

The economic downturn and sunset of federal grants hit the organization hard. But through necessity came innovation and restructuring.

“We’re still here,” said Kelly. “There are so many things we’re still doing, it’s amazing.”

She said Silverton Together had been extremely fortunate to have had two five-year federal grants, which paid for staff members and expenses related to several programs, especially Community Connection and the Mentor Program. As these funds dried up, Silverton Together adjusted and reevaluated its position in the community.

The staff and board looked at its services and asked if there were other organizations also filling these needs. Now they help people in find help through these agencies.

Though some programs were whittled down, some are continuing full strength. “Our Parent Education program is completely intact,” Kelly said.

Community picnic
Friday, Aug. 27, 5 – 8 p.m.
Coolidge & McClaine Park
and Silverton Swimming Pool
Free picnic dinner, provided by
Silverton Kiwanis Club; Bingo,
provided by Silverton Senior Center;
family photos, provided by Silverton Together;
live music provided by Silverton Senior
Center from 5 – 6:30 p.m.;
free open swim from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
and activities provided by Silver Falls
Family YMCA; rock climbing wall
provided by Silverton Together and
Jumpy House courtesy of Mike
and Dawn Kohl. All activities are free.

Other coming events:
The Children and Families Commission
is putting on a two-day conference in
Keizer in October. Parents and teachers
are welcome to sign up for the free event.
The county’s health department is scheduling
a suicide prevention workshop, helping people
to recognize signs and know how to
respond. Open to the public.

Information, Doreen Kelly,
Silverton Together, 503-873-0405.

When financial support for the Mentor Program staff ended, the team felt it had been such a success it should continue. “We absorbed it through volunteers and help from school counselors.”

Collaboration is key with Silverton Together. “More and more we look at partnership with other organizations,” Kelly said.

For example, the upcoming 18th annual Community Picnic, which always has been a cooperative effort, this year it is jointly sponsored with Silverton Kiwanis Club, Somos Hispanas Unidas, Silver Falls Family YNCA and Silverton Senior Center.

Kelly said Silverton Together has always taken the lead in the event’s planning, but the picnic “is meant to be a collaboration – bringing people together and coming up with solutions.”

The loss of Apple Tree, a program of children and teens who each summer gathered school supplies for disadvantaged students, was keenly felt. But churches and Parent-Teacher Clubs are rising to help.

“We did not want to drop it. It’s a huge need and getting tougher and tougher (on families during the recession). If people want to donate, we’ll help.” Some of the former Apple Tree kids are volunteering to make boxes, and Silverton Together will deliver donated items to the schools.

If people from another organization want to take over the Apple Tree program, they should call her, Kelly said.

Kelly credits the many groups, businesses and individuals who have worked in conjunction with Silverton Together on its many events. She listed Free Fish Day, Celebration of Cultures and the holiday festival as activities that have been partnerships.

Kelly, who chuckles frequently when she speaks, explained her view of Silverton residents and service groups as being a mosaic made up of beautiful tiles – with Silverton Together as the grout.

And they could always use more help, she said.

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