Well, there is a lot happening around here and if you get the chance, please join us! Next week we are hosting meetings to see if the community believes we need greater access to health care, especially for people without health insurance. We are partnering with Pathways Behavioral Healthcare, the Phelps County Health Department, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, and the Missouri Primary Care Association (MPCA) to determine the need and feasibility of a Community Health Center.
I hope you can join us for one of two public meetings - one on Tuesday, March 27th at The Depot in St. James, and the other on Wednesday, March 28th at the Phelps County Courthouse - both meetings are at 6:30 p.m. If you would like to learn more about Community Health Centers, you might want to check out MPCA's website.
Cooking Healthful (and Yummy) Food!
The Young Parent's Program has been very busy. Last night we had our semi-annual Baby Bucks Party with a great turnout! Last Thursday, Dr. Mary Graham held a cooking class for members of our Young Parent's program. Wonderful Greentree Christian Church not only hosts our monthly meetings and our Baby Bucks party, but they also allowed us to use their beautiful kitchen for this cooking class. Their generosity gave Mary a great space for young people to cook away!
Mary introduced many participants to their first taste of roasted broccoli - and they loved it! Not only did participants get to learn about healthy, inexpensive cooking they also received beautiful aprons - donated by many community members. When Susie puts out a call for volunteers - people step in and this call did not go unanswered. We had beautiful aprons arrive daily (thank you!) and were able to give one to every participant.
Mary you are so generous - thank you for giving our participants this great opportunity! Special thanks also to Community Builder Theresa McCarthy-Brow who scrubbed dishes all night!
This was just another wonderful example of all of the great things we get to do everyday because of the generous community we live in. Thank you for helping create a community where people get the chance to learn, grow, and share!
Adoption and Mentoring!
This section will be a little longer than I usually write but Martha did such an amazing job putting this story together I decided to give you her version, which is beautiful!
When most people think about adoption, they imagine a tiny baby and a big welcome home party with the new bundle of joy. When an older child is adopted, it is cause for great celebration, as well, because finding a forever home for an older child can be a challenge. The truth, though, is that joy can come in any size and any age.
Recently, The Community Partnership's Independent Living Program celebrated the adoption of a 17 year-old named Montana.
"Montana was placed with a foster family a couple of years ago, and he really felt good about the placement," said ILP coordinator, Amy DeLuca. "Not long after he was placed, he struck up a friendship with a neighboring farmer, and that's when Montana's life begin to change."
Neighbor and longtime friend of Montana's foster family, Don Wools soon had the young man busy driving a tractor, checking on the farm animals, and helping in the garden.
"Before long, Don and Montana had a strong bond," explained DeLuca. "Montana was enjoying learning new things, and Don felt honored to be able to share his farming knowledge with Montana. They forged a friendship, and Don became a wonderful mentor."
"Since I have known Montana, I have seen big changes for the good," said Wools. "Montana loves to work hard. He enjoys coming to my farm and working with the cattle. He loves to hunt and fish in the farm ponds. He also loves horseback riding. He's a young man with a big heart."
After being in his foster family's care for a while, Montana approached the family and wanted to talk about adoption. They discussed it as a family, and really gave it some thought, and finally they started the adoption process.
"I wanted to be a member of the family for good," said Montana. "I knew that being in the family, and having someone like Don to guide me would be the best thing for me."
Since his adoption, Montana has been concentrating on short-term goals "for now."
"I am saving money to buy a truck," he said, "and I am finishing my high school education."
Wools continues to see positive changes in Montana every day.
"He helped deliver a calf two weeks ago," said Wools. "He also has a 10 month-old filly that he works with, and he enjoys showing her off every chance he gets. He has been a rich blessing to me in so many ways. Montana is a member of Macedonia Baptist Church, and he is eager to get to church every Sunday. One thing that especially impresses me is his kindness to his elderly friends at church. He's always got a hug and a smile for them."
"There are many children who need foster and adoptive parents in our area," added DeLuca. "We love to see success stories like Montana's, and we would love to see many, many more. We'd like to challenge members of the community to explore foster parenting. You can be married, divorced, single, retired - there is no one profile of foster and adoptive parents. The primary factor is a willingness to care about helping a young person have a stable, healthy and happy life."
I hope you are enjoying this very un-March like weather. This weekend we got to plant trees and play in the creek with our beautiful grand-nieces and nephew. There is nothing like water and kids (with a couple of dogs added in) to remind me how very lucky I am to live in the beautiful Ozarks! Please let me know if you would like to hear about a particular program or happening here. I love hearing from you!