It’s the 21st week for the gardeners and what a summer it has been! Our residents have been busy working in the garden and growing a bounty of different fruits and vegetables. Over the past 21 weeks the residents and clients have grown and harvested raspberries, kale, cucumbers, blueberries, beet greens, lettuce, radishes, and other items. These fruits and vegetables are used as supplemental additions to the food that we receive through donations and purchased items. Residents have learned the importance of working together as a team; and how each person’s position and input adds to the experience that they receive. It's been quite warm out there, and food is growing despite a few challenges. It's rather amazing to see what Mother Nature can do all on her own
On a personal note I was able to volunteer at our food bank and clothing store on Thursday, July 31st. I have been with Our House for a little over six years now and this was the first time I had the honor of volunteering at this wonderful program that we provide. Several of our clients, because of transportation issues and wanting to get to Esther’s when it first opens, were there to greet me when I arrived at 1PM. Esther’s Pantry and Tod’s Corner is open three days a week, and provides non-perishable and perishable food as well as men’s lightly used clothing and basic household items. Clients “shop” their way through Esther’s Pantry where they select their food boxes based on their dietary needs and current living conditions. The clients are walked through Esther’s Pantry where they select canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy.
What touched me most about the experience was the stories that were told while shopping. The past that each of these people had – where they were, what they had done in their lifetimes, and where they were today. I was also touched by the gratefulness that each of the clients showed for these programs. One client said to me that while they use several other resources for supplemental food, that Esther’s Pantry was by far their favorite. When I asked why they said “The amount of respect, kindness, and lack of judgment that I receive when I am here is like no other. No one cares about my HIV status, they care about who I am as a person.”
April showers changed our plans to cruise around the Rhododendron Garden but it didn’t get in the way of our AMAZING resident/client art show! A huge success this year. We had a great turnout of guests over the 2 day display of fabulous creations of all mediums. Artists mingled and
chatted with guests during the open reception and enjoyed all the well-deserved accolades for their artistic expressions. This year’s theme was “inspiring wellness through creativity”, a constant theme we carry throughout the OT department in our work. Thank you to all who attended.
Residents had a great time buying goods at the dollar store and a total blast at Wunderland Arcade to play all kinds of games and win prizes.
OT Amanda Moore returned to show us how to make paper – we made some amazing pieces AND we helped make kick a** decorations for the volunteer appreciation party.
Our Social Work department is currently interviewing for students, to start in Fall 2014! Victor Boomer-Jenks is running a Music Appreciation group every 2 months, open to both Our House residents and clients of NHCP - even staff are invited. Victor and Athena are continuing their group for both OH residents and NHCP clients called “Coming to Acceptance”. It is a group discussion, supportive in nature, and focusing on the concept of Radical Acceptance.
Pacific University did an evaluation of the NHCP Team and presented the results to the community and our staff last month. We also have hired consultants from OHSU to do a formal Program Evaluation for us for reporting to the State and other providers.
Between the months of April and the end of June we saw the following grant processes for grants specifically for the purpose of our NHCP program.
Collins Foundation: $35,000 NHCP Expansion
Hoover Family Foundation: $5,000 NHCP
CMS Healthcare Innovation NHCP expansion $2 million
OCF: $30,000 NHCP Expansion
Spirit Mountain Community Fund (LOI): $25,000 NHCP
OCF: $15,000 NHCP Expansion
Spring has sprung and our residents, staff, and volunteers have gotten into full swing with the Resident Garden. Since last year we have welcomed a new Garden Manager, Alan Winders (pictured), to the fold. As Garden Manager, some of Alan’s responsibilities will include coordinating activities including planning, preparation, planting, maintenance and harvesting. The garden group consists of Our House residents, clients and other volunteers. This volunteer position requires a few hours per week on site – planting, harvesting, etc., plus communication to manage team remotely. This is an exciting role for such a compassionate individual, like Alan, who loves gardening and wants to help motivate others to cultivate their green thumbs! Food that is grown in the resident garden will go to supplement food that is donated from Whole Foods and New Seasons as well as food purchased from Oregon Food Bank.
Erica Rickman (pictured), a BSN ACRV for Our House, was awarded a fellowship position with the Oregon Health Authority’s Council of Clinical Innovators! Ericka was selected among a pool of 25 applicants and wrote a substantial grant for this position. Ericka will be working on the garden project with a group of other fellows and their innovative projects to learn about programs that can be therapeutic while keeping costs contained. Erica was a large player in the development of the resident garden’s beginning stages and is an avid gardener herself.
Between the months of April and the end of June we saw the following grant processes for grants specifically for the purpose of our food programs.
TJX Foundation (food) $5,000
The Autzen Foundation (food) $5,000
Submitted (no response yet)
MAC Aids Fund (food) - $25,000