She’s All Ears

Julie_RyanOur March newsletter: We try to make it so short you can read it in 60 seconds. How’d we do?

Early Childhood Attitudes Change

Joella Dethman, Director of the Hood River County Commission on Children and Families, says, “Over the past 20 years public awareness about the critical importance of the early childhood years of life has grown dramatically.”  Read the rest of her article to see how our attitudes about early childhood have changed.

Preventing Child Abuse

To the editor:
April 4, 2012
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month.  Even though the topic may make us uncomfortable, we need to be aware that child abuse and neglect exist in our community.  Hood River County’s rate is slightly below the state average; however, 49 of our children were victims in 2010.  Because none of us want children to suffer, let’s turn our thoughts and energy to prevention.

Yes, we can prevent child abuse.  How?  There are many different ways to choose from, and they all involve being supportive…of children, of their parents, and of the important role that parenting plays in our society.  We can:  offer to watch a neighbor’s children before the challenges of single parenting become overwhelming;  mentor a young mom or dad who never had the good fortune of experiencing positive parenting in their own lives;  invite a classmate’s parents to go to a parenting class with us;  report suspicions of abuse or neglect to the authorities; advocate for pro-child and pro-family legislation;  work toward educational achievement and poverty reduction;  and financially support prevention programs that do this good work on your behalf.

Our experience at Families First and New Parent Services is that all parents love their children, want to be good parents and are doing the best they know how to with the limited tools they have.  Those of us who won the childhood lottery of having nurturing parents are in a position to pay it forward – preventing child abuse and neglect through supporting, mentoring, advocating and giving.

 Karen Enns, Program Director, The Next Door

Good news about child abuse

The good news is that child abuse is preventable. The hard truth is that preventing child abuse requires an investment of both time and money. More in Janet’s newsletter, Good Things Happen Every Day.

Families First “Table of Friends” Event a Success


Contact:          Karen Enns, Program Director, 541-308-2238 

Families First “Table of Friends” Event a Success

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Dalles, Oregon(May 26) There wouldn’t be enough desserts for everyone. That’s what Auctioneer David Griffith told the hungry crowd at The Riverenza before beginning a lively dessert auction. Mark Linebarger of the Baldwin Saloon created and donated 12 masterpieces which were auctioned to the highest bidding table as their evening’s dessert. Griffith added humor and flair to inspire bids as high as $180 for a white chocolate peanut butter pie. One table bought three desserts. One hesitated and was left without.

“Table of Friends:  A Benefit for Families First” was held on Saturday night, May 15, at The Riverenza in The Dalles.  Nearly 100 people attended and generated $6,500, making this a very successful first-time fundraiser for Families First, a program of The Next Door. 

Janet Hamada, Executive Director of The Next Door, took the podium to honor Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC) for their nearly $300,000 of support to Families First since the program began. MCMC has funded a Home Visitor for the past five years, doubling the number of vulnerable families that Families First serves.
Tables filled with friends enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Romul’s, listened to live music by Victor Johnson, enjoyed local wines, and participated in both a silent and live auction. 

Generous donations from lead sponsors, the Mathisen family and Columbia River Women’s Clinic, made the event possible. Ten local wineries donated wine.  A team of volunteer “Hosts” filled the venue with guests and hosted their tables with enthusiasm. Every aspect of the event was possible only through generous business and community donations of auction items, sponsorships, discounts, and the giving spirit of many individuals. 
“What a wonderful showing of support for the important work of Families First,” commented Julie Ryan, Program Supervisor.  “We cannot thank the community enough for giving so generously so that we can continue our work of supporting the babies and children who struggle the most in our county.”

Families First, a program of The Next Door, has been a source of support to hundreds of families in Wasco County over the past 13 years.  As more and more families face joblessness and financial hardship, single parenting, isolation, depression, and other major life stress, Families First provides relief, education and support, keeping babies safe and families strong. 

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