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Healthy children, families, and communities is not just a one-agency mission. It’s a cause every person and group in Northeast Iowa understands and can be part of.

Prevention | Spring 2014

A newsletter to keep clients, supporters, staff, and volunteers connected

For decades, people have sought out Helping Services for assistance for themselves or others. In turn, we reach out to individuals and organizations to address these needs and to work together to accomplish a common goal: to make Northeast Iowa a healthier, safer place for children, families, and adults. The ongoing efforts to build that environment has been and continues to be a community endeavor relying on local passion and action. Together we’re making this mission a reality.

An Empty Nester’s Way to Stay Young and Invest in Others By Marilyn Zweibahmer

Cindy Simpson didn’t know anyone in Northeast Iowa when she moved to Decorah from Michigan. She made this leap of faith knowing it would be hard, but she knew she could connect with her new community by seeking out opportunities to put her skills and passion to work for good. As Cindy settled into her new job as Bank of the West Branch Manager/ VP, she thought about what she could offer this new community, especially as an empty nester. Cindy recognized that she loves kids and the traditions she had growing up. Perhaps by introducing a child to those traditions, she could make a difference in their life? When visiting Helping Services’ annual Holiday Lights Magical Nights light display, Cindy read over the materials about the agency and decided to become a mentor. Enter Tamie, a shy nine-year-old with a great sense of humor. She is a smart and very perceptive young lady who likes to do the same things Cindy likes. Over the last 14 months, these two have started their own traditions and have shared memorable experiences. “My favorite memory is going to the Pine Bluff 4H camp with Tamie. We crossed the swing bridge to the other

side of the river, and then we took a walking tour of the different trees on the nature trail. We found ‘treasures’ like special rocks, fossils, big sticks, golf balls, and clams. I was being a kid again,” Cindy remembers. Their relationship is about fun and making wonderful memories, but it goes deeper. They discuss topics like family, healthy relationships, and how to look at things in a positive rather than negative way. Despite Tamie’s shy nature, “She certainly has no problem sharing her feelings and opinions with me,” says Cindy. Cindy knows her mentee and all youth appreciate these discussions along with the adventures having a trusted role model brings. Her relationship with Tamie has gone above and beyond Cindy’s expectations. Tamie is a joy in her life. As a mentor she can see a change in Tamie. “I think that Tamie likes to tell people about the wonderful experiences we have together— especially about things we do that normally she couldn’t or wouldn’t be

able to try, such as being in the Bank of the West parades, or even just wearing the head of the bank’s bear costume. “I love taking pictures of our fun things and giving Tamie a hard copy photo so she can revisit the fun we have and build on traditions we are making. I hope she will pass those on to her family one day.” Initially worried about the time commitment, Cindy realized that it takes just a few hours each month for this unique relationship to make a difference. She feels being matched with Tamie keeps her young and is a win-win for both of them. As Cindy puts it, mentoring “helps bridge the gap between the two generations.” Cindy challenges, “Everybody has something to offer youth in this community. So much goes on in daily life that stresses family relationships.” Cindy believes sharing our abilities, like passion for kids and traditions, fosters a positive future of healthy relationships, nurturing families, and drug-free youth.

domestic abuse. Education and advocacy focused on medical, legal, law enforcement, social services, and mental health services.

Grassroots Action Starts It All By David Runyon, Executive Director

At each stage of the agency’s development, we have been inspired, guided, and nudged by impassioned, mission-motivated people. This has resulted in a community-based organization operating on the energy and vision of individuals and groups within the neighborhoods we serve. In 1970 parents and professionals acted on their concerns for the health and safety of teens. They started a crisis line, then an information center, and then a recreation center. In 1978 concerned citizens began to address the endemic culture of violence against women. Out of this effort, the crisis line was expanded, public education conducted, and safety and assistance was offered to individuals experiencing

In 1996 a concerned staff member, parent, and active community member saw a need and knew the benefits of children spending more active and engaged time with a caring adult. With a shoestring budget formed from generous donations from the community, this individual moved out in faith, believing that this need could be met. Eighteen years later the Mentoring Program continues to match kids and adults, and has grown to serve five counties. These big stories, along with countless examples of smaller successes, are part of our history. Because of a grassroots concern and community members like you who ply their interest, passion, and talent, programs are created, transformed, and sustained. Our door is always open, and we welcome your ideas and passions large and small. Come join in serving others. to make the center feel like their place by keeping things neat and helping maintain it,” said Barbara Hughey, a youth center volunteer.

One Couple Starts Life-Changing Teen Hangout By Jodi Tegeler In your pre-teen and teenage years, where did you go to relax, get to know your peers, or run off some energy? In Delaware County during the early 90s, teens didn’t have such a place. Merlyn and Linda Farrand, who currently serve on the Delaware County Drug and Alcohol Coalition, realized back then that the communities around the county were lacking a safe and drug-free place for youth to go. So in 1992, they founded the Franklin Street Underground Youth Center (FSU for short) in Manchester. The community has gotten involved, and now the New Life Assembly Church oversees carrying out the mission of the center: to maintain a place where physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of youth can be met in a drug, tobacco, and alcohol-free environment. The center provides activities for youth of all ages but primarily targets junior high and high school students. Each day 15-30 youth, who may or may not have the most healthy home life, seek


Prevention - Spring 2014

out this small treasure in downtown Manchester as a safe escape. Staff see relationships develop over a game of ping-pong or foosball. Teens come together to enjoy a movie or to work on homework. FSU makes the center accessible to youth of all backgrounds. For example, the directors offer incentives to earn treats from the snack center for completing small cleaning tasks. “This gives the kids a sense of ownership, and offers them a chance FSU hosts events like Halloween parties in addition to the daily activities such as board games, air hockey, and karaoke.

The FSU is a great example of how communities can come together and collaborate with local churches and organizations like Helping Services to open doors that brighten the future for children, nurturing the overall wellbeing of the community. The FSU provides a sustaining, safe, and drugfree place for kids to just let loose, grow, and be themselves. According to Barbara, “We have young adults who come back during college breaks to just hang out or help with anything we need to pay it forward for all the amazing things the center did for them growing up.” For over 20 years, the youth center has been an asset to Delaware County because it helps safe and healthy families and communities continue to grow.

Faith in Action By Katie Lawless Quietly, diligently, without being asked, they work behind the scenes to improve the lives of children and families in our communities. They don’t ask for praise or recognition, but we are impressed by their commitment, and grateful for their faithful generosity of spirit and willingness to give. Who are these people? They are the unsung heroes of our communities: church congregations. Close to 150 churches of all denominations, clubs and clusters, rosary societies and circles, Sunday schools, Catholic Daughters, and Women of the ELCA, have consistently supported Helping Services’ mission for Northeast Iowa throughout its 40 year existence. From generous cash donations to emergency commodities for domestic violence victims, churches help in many ways. Recently, a church’s Luther League put on a fundraising dinner for the Mentoring Program. Some churches provide Helping Services office space and rooms for hosting parenting classes free of charge. Many provide a safe space for our Domestic Abuse Advocates to meet clients. One client, trying to escape an abusive relationship, went to her church for help. The members put her and her five children up in a hotel for a couple days so the family could be in a safe

place. They also loaned her a high chair, gave her rides to the grocery store, and helped watch her children when she had meetings and court. The faith community not only shares their resources, they also share their skills. According to the women’s group from a Waukon church, they make quilts and tote bags for families involved in our programs using all donated materials. “We enjoy making them as much as people enjoy receiving them. A 93-year-old lady does all the binding. We like to spread the giving to all we can! We are just glad we can help the people you serve.” Because churches collaborate with Helping Services, more people are served. Last year the Domestic Abuse Resource Center staff helped 303 clients and answered 799 crisis line calls. These statistics represent real people–local women and children who received support. Even as funding has declined, the need for these services grows. A senior advocate said, “On behalf of the entire Resource Center team, we are extremely grateful for the generosity of area churches and their willingness to donate in so many ways for our clients. I don’t know what we would do without the churches. They go above and beyond to help; they step up and get involved. Their generosity is one of the most important factors contributing to successfully meeting client needs.” Thank you, faith community and supporters from all walks of life, for remaining dedicated to meeting this great need and to encouraging and sharing hope with local children and families. Support comes from faith groups throughout the counties we serve. This map shows where donations have come from in the past 14 years.

Prevention is published by Helping Services for Northeast Iowa, Inc. Administrative Office P.O. Box 372 Decorah, IA 52101 563-387-1720


Opportunities to help on a one-time or long-term basis are available for individuals or groups. Match your passion with a need at www.helpingservices. org/volunteer.

Upcoming Events

A list of trainings and events for you and your family is available at www.

Ways Churches Choose to Help We’re thankful for the faith groups who link people and families to our services by collaborating and donating in these ways: Things They Do • Print information about available programs, services, resources, and upcoming events in church bulletins • Share resources through bulletin boards, information tables, bathroom stall flyers • Provide space for a meeting or class • Send a representative to be part of a local coalition or advisory committee • Hold a fundraising event like a bake sale • Do a diaper drive or a used cell phone drive Things They Donate • Gas and grocery cards • Non-perishable food items to make a meal • Diapers, baby wipes • Paper products (toilet paper, kleenex) • Cleaning supplies (laundry soap, dish detergent, bathroom cleaner) • New/unopened personal care products (feminine hygiene, shampoo and lotion, toothpaste)

Board of Directors

John Kelly, President John Rodecap, President-Elect Jamie Hoey, Secretary Sandy Koenig, Treasurer Sylvia Mork Britt E. Rhodes Jim Wadsworth


Board Members Use Expertise to Meet Needs

Give Without Spending Your Own Money

By Deborah Jacobi

What if we told you that you can earn dollars to keep services available without dipping into your wallet? You can. Here are two options you can use to earn donations for the mission. CrowdRise Is it your birthday or anniversary? Are you competing in a race or big game? Use CrowdRise to celebrate while supporting the cause you care about. This secure tool helps organize, promote, and collect donations for fundraisers. Goodsearch The next time you go to look something up online, consider using Goodsearch. Powered by Yahoo, this search engine allows you to earn a penny for Helping Services with every search.

Helping Services’ mission sometimes feels bigger than our resources can meet. Fortunately, many committed community members share the local vision of a healthy, violence-free future. They support our programs using their connections, skills, and desire to make a difference in the tough issues our services address. This sense of purpose and community betterment is certainly true of the wonderful individuals on Helping Services’ board. Board Secretary Jamie Hoey joined the board of directors because she wanted to support an agency that focuses on youth and families. Jamie’s previous experience in foster care, courtrooms, and with the Department of Human Services, underlie her commitment to insuring that parents have access to resources that help make parenting, “the hardest job in the world,”a little easier. Jamie enjoys getting her own family involved, too. For example, they volunteer with her at Holiday Lights.

The board chair-elect, John Rodecap, learned about Helping Services through the mentoring program and as a member of Postville’s St. Paul Lutheran Church Council. John feels much can be gained by reflecting on the needs of neighbors, acquaintances, and his community. He saw how Helping Services works to meet those needs and chose to be actively involved. John provides a thoughtful perspective on the board’s financial committees, and he volunteers at Holiday Lights and other special events. With characteristic modesty, John downplays his big contributions, saying he enjoys doing “my small part if possible.” With funding uncertainties and busy staff schedules, we rely on people like Jamie, John, and you, who share their time and talents. The mission is attainable because local people get involved in preventing substance abuse, want domestic violence victims to have 24/7 help, and care about kids having positive, supportive relationships. $212 K

2013 Goal

We have created guides for these and other similar opportunities to help you try these tools at www. fundraise.

(Runs June 2013 to July 2014)

$195 K

2014 Status

$266 K

2014 Goal



Fiscal Year 2014 Fundraising Goal






Make an instant, secure donation online at, or send this completed form to: Helping Services, P.O. Box 372 | Decorah, IA 52101. Check



American Express

Acct #


Expiration Date

Name Address State



My gift to make families and neighborhoods safer and healthier. $50 Other

Cardholder Signature


Three months remain for reaching the fundraising goal. Thank you to everyone who has donated. Please help us attain this goal of securing funds to pay for next year’s expenses that grants and other sources do not cover.

Zip I would like to receive once-a-month email updates.

Helping Services is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Your donation is tax deductible.


Your gift will prevent local harms like domestic violence, underage drinking, or unhealthy childhood experiences from happening or reoccurring. Staff and volunteers will use your donation to encourage healthy families, friendships, and relationships, and to reinforce positive decision-making about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

added to the crisis services, policy work, and community outreach done by the phenomenal Clayton County CPPC team, puts them in the best position to address current issues facing residents.

gets you to the person who can help. “I don’t think she sleeps,” said Jazmon Boose, Child Advocate and Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator. “She’s always working on something, and it’s always great.” Within just 30 minutes, Kari has given a tour of the new space, answered phone calls, and tended to a walk-in. The click of her shoes across the hardwood floors gives a sense of urgency and of hard work needing to get done. She returns to the table, making a mental note to add one more detail to her growing to-do list.

It isn’t simple or easy to offer programs in rural communities where barriers always exist. Transportation is a big one. People don’t always have the time or resources to travel for services. If the service can’t come to them, they can’t use it. The Family Resource Center recognizes this, and with a new location and plenty of space for everyone, they’ve become a resource hub for the county. Helping Services staff work from here instead of home offices on days they serve in Clayton County. Workers from HAWC Partnership for Children, Life-Line Resources, and a handful of other providers serve out of here, too. Having a convenient location where people can meet eliminates some barriers for families. Kari and the team understand it takes a lot of coordination, time, and effort to help people overcome the obstacles they face, and they make the time to dig in and help.

Kari’s busied pace is needed to help her keep up with CPPC projects, like self-image workshops for youth. For the last two years, the group has hosted these workshops for boys and girls of different ages. It’s fun to hear them reflect on the experience; how the groups were different, what that says about boys and girls, how they can improve the experience, and the sense of fulfillment from their completed pieces. After the workshop, students present their pictures at an informal gallery at the Guttenberg Creativity Center, a unique experience youth won’t soon forget. These projects,

Kari and the band of collaborators get things done. It’s as simple as that. They personally understand the history, people, and needs in this county. Their work isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always welcomed by everyone, but that doesn’t stop them. They have hope for area kids: to have adventures, learn skills, and dream about their futures. They know if you want kids to dream big, you have to give them things to dream about. Sometimes, that just takes a dedicated leader with a group of hard-working teammates to pull the right services, organizations, and resources together.

How This Group Keeps Families at Mission Center By Katie Becker It’s 10:45 on Tuesday morning, 15 minutes before the Clayton County CPPC* meeting starts, and the crew is already busy planning for the upcoming spring and summer. The table, full of eager faces glowing in the mid-morning sun in the Family Resource Center office, discusses a grocery list of projects they hope to offer children and families. Each suggestion comes with a discussion about what families have time for, what kids will be willing to do, who can help meet the need, and of course, ‘kids these days.’ This is a common sight in this county: a table of five, six, or seven, throwing out ideas, contacts, and needs. There’s always a problem to tackle and at least three projects on a waiting list. At 11:00, a couple of late arrivals join the group, and it shifts from one topic to another. Throughout the meeting, Kari Harbaugh, the woman behind the Family Resource Center in Guttenberg, jumps to answer phones, walk-ins, and questions from service providers working out of this office. She seems to know everything happening in the space. Come with a concern, and Kari welcomes you, problem-solves, and *Community Partnerships for Protecting Children

My Unexpected Opportunity By John Kelly, Board President

My wife and I are both nurses. We’re originally from the Clermont area and moved here in 2010. In our work, we serve people from all backgrounds. Exposure to this diversity has deepened my compassion for my neighbors. As a nurse, neighbor, and friend, I can personally connect people to services that encourage healthy lifestyles and

relationships to help them prepare for hurdles that come. Occasionally in life an unexpected opportunity presents itself. I got such an opportunity in the fall of 2012 when I was asked to become a board member for Helping Services. With Helping Services, I have a great opportunity to join with likeminded individuals interested in bettering our communities by protecting and promoting healthy lifestyles and strong families. I’ve learned that there is usually a solution upstream for downstream problems. As a board member, I have a unique opportunity to affect literally hundreds of lives and by shaping and promoting solutions that prevent problems like alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse, before they get downstream.






The Great Collaboration Happening in Northeast Iowa

1 Empty Nester’s Way to Stay Young and Invest in Others 2 One Couple Starts LifeChanging Teen Hangout 3 Faith in Action 5 How This Group Keeps Families at Mission Center

Looking for More Collaborators

Dear Reader, Here’s the Truth We often say, “We couldn’t do it without you,” but it’s always an understatement. The truth is, each and every one of our collaborators make change possible, and they make it fun. You are the members of the church who so thoughtfully give your time and resources, pausing only to ask, “Is there anything else I can help with?” You are the service providers, who take on busy caseloads and work long days. Still, somehow, you make time to come to meetings because you recognize the importance of having your clients’ experiences represented. You are the volunteers, always busy helping with one thing or another, taking any extra


Prevention - Spring 2014

time in your day and deciding to share it with others. You are the administrators who go the extra mile to adopt new policies, even when it pushes your already stressed staff to a higher level of commitment. You are also the mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. Without each person, in their own way making people’s days brighter, no one of us alone could make any community stronger. That’s why we thank you all. To our collaborators and our community members, from everyone on the staff and board of Helping Services, we thank you.

It takes a diverse range of skills and relationships to best serve individuals and families in Northeast Iowa. This newsletter showcases much of that teamwork. However, opportunities for new partnerships constantly surface. Here are a few skills, experts, and willing groups that we are seeking to engage in making children, families, and communities safer and healthier: • Chickasaw County Churches • Girls (ages 5-16) who’d like a mentor as a role model • Primary Care Providers • Photographers • Safe Home Providers • Videographers/Editors Call our main office, 563-3871720, if you are interested in partnering with us or if you have a skill you would like to share.

Prevention Spring 2014  
Prevention Spring 2014  

Healthy children, families, and communities is not just a one-agency mission. It’s a cause every person and group in Northeast Iowa unders...