Dennis Carlson, Volunteer of the Year

Dennis Carlson-Volunteer of the Year

The Next Door is pleased to honor Dennis Carlson as our 2012 Volunteer of the Year.  As a master gardener, Dennis has been instrumental in starting both the Klahre House School Garden and the Raices/Roots Community Garden.  These vegetable gardens have benefited Klahre House students and community members.  Dennis has put in hundreds of hours teaching gardening skills and working in the gardens.

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.

Bowl For Kids’ Sake 2012

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia GorgeHood River, OR – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge (BBBS) holds its largest annual community-based fundraiser this Saturday, March 10 at Orchard Lanes in Hood River. This year’s event features title sponsors NW Natural and Hood River Garbage Service, and more than 250 community members, businesses and agencies in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the children they serve in our communities!

 “The bowling is a bonus for the hard work teams put in to raising funds for the program,” according to Tim Sweeney, of Hood River Construction and BBBS’s Advisory Board. “It’s a lot of fun and a great way to support a program that makes a real difference for local kids!”

BBBS matches children with a caring, screened and trained volunteer who acts as a role model, providing friendship, guidance and support. Currently, the program supports more than 80 matches in Hood River, Wasco and Klickitat counties. It’s not too late to contribute. You can make a difference by going to and clicking DONATE NOW.

 BBBS is powered by the financial support of numerous individuals and businesses in our Columbia Gorge communities. For more information about donating to Bowl for Kids’ Sake or to get involved in the program, please contact Kristin Reese at 541-436-0305 or at