By Polly Keary, Editor
Editors Note: With these two stories, we wrap up our annual Featured Non-Profit series, in which each week through the holiday season we highlight the work of a local non-profit, including ways to help in this season of giving. We encourage support for these worthy charities.
While most non-profits ask for funds this time of year to do community services for various groups, YouthBuild is looking for things to do for you.
The work training and GED program offered at Monroe’s St. Vincent de Paul is fully funded. What it doesn’t have is enough projects to occupy the program’s young participants.
“It’s a three-part program,” explained Travis Green, director of YouthBuild in Monroe. “Each student takes GED class one day a week. Also, they take the construction industry training program at Edmonds Community College. And they earn wages 17 hours a week helping build houses with Housing Hope in Monroe.”
The program is designed to help young men and women, ages 18-24, who have not graduated from high school to enter the workforce at a living wage.
They begin by studying for the GED with the help of an Everett Community College instructor, who holds class at the St. Vincent de Paul. Then the young people earn 22 college credits studying the construction industry.
Finally, they get practical experience building real homes for low-income families through Housing Hope.
But that’s not all they do. They also do a lot of community service work.
Thursday, they were helping the owner of Napa complete an inventory. The owner had won the help of the workers at a Rotary Club fundraiser auction.
Recently they have also cleaned up and done chores around the Monroe Boys and Girls Club.
“We could use more volunteer opportunities,” said Green. “It’s tough because we are a big group, but we have an amazing group of students.”
It doesn’t have to just be construction projects.
“We like to help at the food bank, and we help at retirement homes. We can go weed for people, or do anything worthwhile,” said Travis Green, program coordinator.
If you have a large community service project with which you could use help, contact Travis Green at (425) 418-4540.
East County Senior Center
By Holly Glen Gearhart
In appreciation of the East County Senior Center, I want to point out a few facts about the value of community centers, especially senior centers.
The National Council on Aging, the National Institutes of Health, AARP and numerous national entities have spent hours determining the “real” value of senior centers.
They agree on at least three important facts; designated senior centers provide an important place for people 55 and older to get information on programs that can benefit their everyday lives; the centers provide an essential social element to aging well and they provide physical activities that can delay the onset of diseases of aging that may impede the ability to live independently.
In 2003, the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging reviewed the findings of Robert H. Aday, Director of Aging Studies at Middle Tennessee State University on the social impact of senior centers for the aging population. Aday found that designated centers benefited the elder population by providing activities and social environments which lead to fuller and more positive lifestyles than communities without senior centers.
Aday reported that, “Multipurpose senior centers have been identified as preferred, focal points for comprehensive and coordinated services delivery to elderly people.” and that, “It is imperative that they continue to evolve to meet the unique needs of the “Baby Boomer” generation.”
That was 2003. As the Boomer population ages, the role of the community senior center has broadened, as has our own East County Senior Center. More than a clearinghouse of information on healthy aging, ECSC involves the entire community, such as the “Senior to Senior” project in 2011.
The project brought together the Senior Center and Monroe High School students for two objectives; putting together 100 emergency preparedness kits for distribution to low-income seniors and disabled individuals with the help of the Sky Valley Food Bank, as well as getting both generations involved with each other to see what each can offer each other.
ECSC seeks to expand their services and activities to meet the needs and desires of the Monroe community and is open to suggestions from everyone. To contact the center phone, call (360) 794-6359.
The East County Senior Center runs on grants and donations. To support the many programs offered by ECSC, send donations to the East County Senior Center at 276 Sky River Pkwy, PO Box 602, Monroe, WA, 98272-0602.