By Polly Keary, Editor
After taking a couple of months to get her sea legs, Adele Hurst, the new director of the Sultan Family Resource Center and Volunteers of America, is soon to invite the community to an open house to see some of the recent changes in the organization.
Hurst stepped into a big job, previously held by Dave Wood, and after his death by Joanne Connor, who ultimately concluded that the job wasn’t a good fit. Hurst oversees the ECEAP program, the food bank, the temporary home of the Boys and Girls Club and the Boys and Girls Club daycare, the Safe Stop program for youth, the annual holiday Giving Tree, the emergency voucher program, and the large campus that contains the Senior Center, the ECEAP building, the administration building and before long, the new Boys and Girls Club.
As if that wasn’t enough, she is working on adding to the offerings at the VOA.
“My goal is to ultimately bring more of the needs of the Sky Valley community to mainstream Snohomish County, and bring county services back to the Sky Valley,” she said.
One of the ways she hopes to do that is to create a visitors’ office to which she could invite other agencies and non-profits such as WorkSource to come and meet people in Sultan, as opposed to having Sultan residents travel to Monroe or Everett.
Already a service provider from a Seattle agency called Building Changes is taking some office space a couple of times a week in order to help Sultan families.
“He is a families navigator,” said Hurst, who applied for the job from another position with the VOA because she grew up in a small town in New Mexico and likes small communities. “That is a case manager who is able to work with families to help them navigate the social services system, obtaining housing; DSHS benefits if they need help with that; assistance with transportation; a variety of things.”
Hurst would also like to create a new entrance to her second floor office that would come up the back stairs instead of the narrow front entry.
I’d like to have an entry up here where it’s inviting,” she said. “And I’d like to hook up a computer with internet for people who need to access the internet and can’t.”
She would also like to have a resource center there, and make it a welcoming place for the community to drop in.
Also, Sky Valley Safe Stop and Gold Bar Safe Stop, evening programs where teens can enjoy activities and sports, have recently grown enormously.
“Our Gold Bar attendance went from six youths at the first Wednesday of January to 24 the last Wednesday of January,” said Hurst. She credits the work of Mia Lucy, the new coordinator. Lucy is also a program support specialist who can work with walk-in clients between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, when the food bank is open. That way people can visit the food bank, then see her to learn what other assistance might be available to help them get on their feet.
And Safe Stop also has a new food program as of November, in which kids can get a meal in the first hour and a half of the program, and a snack in the last hour.
The Safe Stop program is growing so fast that new volunteers are needed, Hurst said.
And Hurst also plans to move the community garden from a spot far in the back of the property to a space right next to the senior center.
Friday morning, though, she was busy writing grants-four of them, to be precise-and dealing with a lot of other short-term tasks.
Soon, though, she wants to invite the community to visit.
“I’m hoping to have a grand reopening for the community to stop and visit to see the changes,” she said. She hopes to hold the event in early spring.