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June 2012

110th Anniversary Newsletter


Table of Contents Staff Spotlights Interview with Tyria Easterwood 5-6 Interview with Dianne Turner 7-8

Volunteer Spotlights What kind of volunteer are you? 9 What’s in Demand 10-15 How to help 16

Miscellaneous Flashbacks: A Timeline 17 Kid’s Corner 18-21 Reading List 22-23

Summer Events Camp Kaleidoscope 25 Golf and Dinner Auction 26 Carnival 27



Staff Spotlights Gatekeeper of the Kingdom Interview with Tyria Easterwood

Controlled Chaos Interview with Mrs. Turner


Gatekeeper of the Kingdom Interview with Tyria Easterwood Whether you are a volunteer, client, sponsor, or new employee, chances are that Tyria Easterwood will be the first person you come into contact with here at Kingdom House. We’ve all heard the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so we’re lucky to have someone as welcoming and talented as Tyria (Ty, for short), greeting you when you walk in the door. In the two days I spent shadowing Ty to learn the responsibilities at the front desk, I began to understand what a delicate and chaotic job she has. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all she does is greet clients as they sign in. If you want to keep up with Ty, you have to be able to juggle as many as four urgent phone calls at once, negotiate client requests with Kingdom House policies, attack a mountain of paperwork, remember every new visitor’s name, and, all the while, use your peripheral vision to see who’s standing by the side window waiting to be let in. And don’t for a moment forget to maintain a calm, pleasant, demeanor! “One thing that people always compliment me on is my smile, and my ability to remove myself personally from the situation and think about what others are going through,” says Ty. She has a unique aptitude for making people feel at ease as they tackle uncomfortable situations and begin to initiate difficult but Tyria Easterwood, meaningful changes in their lives. Administrative Assistant & Receptionist at Kingdom House

Ty has close connections to Kingdom House that span several generations. “I first came here in 1970-1971 as a child, when I was one or two years old.” As an adult she started off working as a substitute teacher in infant care (ages 13 to 24 months old), before moving to the front desk. Her daughter went through Kingdom House childcare services as well. Now her youngest son, Jacob-Tyler, enjoys the combination of learning, play, friendship and creativity that can be found in our accredited preschool daycare (also known as the Blue Room). In our interview, Ty emphasized the role that Kingdom House played in providing her a secure, happy childhood. Thanks to hard work and a little help from Kingdom House, Ty’s mother was always able to put on a happy face for her 3 daughters, so that they never knew how she struggled. Growing up, she never once thought of her family as “poor”. “I wasn’t even aware of poverty,” she says, “because my mom was a single parent and she gave us everything that she could while working and trying to further her education...she always made it possible to give us the best of me it just looked like we were a little happy family.” Now Ty helps other parents to achieve the same sense of comfort and stability in their households as she enjoyed growing up. Ty understands that it can be difficult for a client to walk through our doors and ask for help the very first time. When asked what advice she would give to a new client at Kingdom house, she offered words of motivation: “Don’t let this be a stopping point or a stumbling block. Take advantage of the services that we offer here so that you can become better at what you do. A lot of clients that come here can get stuck, so I try to encourage them 5

to use the services to their benefit.” She understands that Kingdom House is not a final destination, but rather a stepping stone to other opportunities, allowing thousands of locals to achieve self-sufficiency and work towards their personal goals every year. Self-sufficiency comes about through a combination of resilience, trust, and openness to new situations: ““I love our motto, ‘Change Begins Within’. Their situations can get better, if that’s what they want -- if they’re serious about it,” says Ty. To those who may be contemplating volunteering or applying for a job at Kingdom House, Ty offers some words of encouragement: “Whatever skills they may have, we’ll find a way to utilize them here. If they’re just entering high school, there’s always a need -- whether its just helping to maintain the landscape outside, working with the children, or helping out at our pantry, we’ll always have a job for you.” The most valuable volunteers are the ones who, like our clients, commit to making long-term changes. Every small task is equally vital to keeping this machine running. Meanwhile, Ty continues on the path to accomplishing a few of her personal ambitions. She recently completed her Master’s Degree in Human Resources Development and Training at Webster University. While her current work has allowed her to utilize her networking skills, she would eventually like to work in Development and Training to help

Tyria in October 1976, a month before her 6th birthday

“Don’t let this be a stopping point or a stumbling block. Take advantage of the services we offer here so that you can become better at what you do.” people improve their job skills, find their first job, or advance their career paths. She has been an incredible asset at the front desk over the years, and we can only imagine how valuable she will be in the future to those seeking personal career guidance.


Controlled Chaos Interview with Ms. Dianne Turner I spoke with Ms. Turner during afternoon nap time, and had to be careful not to raise my voice too far above a whisper. The children were resting in separate cots as soft music played in the background. Silent and still like this, they looked rather angelic. But anyone who has raised a four year old will tell you that getting twenty of them to calm down and rest at once is no small feat -- it takes a talented caregiver to orchestrate. Dianne Turner has been working with children at Kingdom House for over thirty-five years. She’s been working with ages 3-5 in the “blue room” (the designated color for this age group), for over twenty years. She exudes an aura of practiced patience and love which enables her to observe, understand, and nurture each individual child’s distinct needs before they enter kindergarten. It seems that each year she becomes more adept at picking up on subtle cues from the children, and learning to tailor to each individual child’s strengths. Before teaching pre-K, Ms. Turner worked in infant care. When I asked her what was unique about working with this age range, she emphasized the rapid pace of developmental growth that occurs before Kindergarten. When they first come in to the daycare, says Ms. Turner, they can’t hold a crayon properly because their hand muscles are not fully developed. When asked to draw or write, they will scribble with shaky, wavering, lines. But with daily practice writing, drawing, and completing arts and crafts projects, these muscles strengthen. Before you know it, they Children at our accredited have developed the fine motor skills to draw in a straight lines, pay attention daycare receive a balanced to details, and create distinct letterforms. This will give them a boost entering breakfast, lunch, and snack into elementary school. One of the mottos in Kingdom House daycare is “Learning Through Play”. On the surface, this sounds like little more than a nice arrangement of words. If the kids are just playing, some might ask, then what kind of education are they receiving that they couldn’t get at home with their parents? In fact, while “Learning Through Play” might appear spontaneous and carefree to an outside observer, it is actually designed quite strategically. When I stopped by to observe in the morning, the children were seated around the carpet, with two children at a time circling around a small chair. As Ms. Turner cheered words of encouragement, a tape played with upbeat music. Accompanying this soundtrack, a male voice would issue orders like “Walk,” Skip,” “Hop,” “Run!” and “Gallop!” When their turn came to circle the chair, most of the children seemed to relish being the center of attention, giggling profusely. A captive audience created all the more incentive to follow the auditory instructions! Eventually, the disembodied voice would cease to issue orders, leaving only the music associated with each motion to indicate the appropriate action. Thus, in one simple activity that looks an awful lot like recess, the kids sharpen their gross motor skills while learning to listen, follow instructions, and work with a partner. Of course, some skills are more urgent than others to develop before kindergarten - like letters, numbers, colors, and writing - the building blocks to literacy. Ms. Turner takes special care to give more intensive attention to those who seem to have 7

difficulty in these areas, without ever berating them or making them feel like they are somehow “slow”. This way, when she sends a group of children off to practice their home phone numbers and addresses while the rest of the children attack jigsaw puzzles, it is just an activity like any other, and they don’t feel that they are somehow being punished. It is this kind of delicate yet persistent nurturing that helps young children to develop a love of learning rather than a resentment of it. I am sure it must be physically taxing for Ms. Turner to control and direct the unbridled energy of twenty-five kids all day long, but thankfully she is not alone. At any given time she is assisted by at least one other teacher, whether that is Miss Startrice, Miss Wendy, Miss Porscia, or Miss Natalie.

While “Learning Through Play” might appear spontaneous and carefree to an outside observer, it is actually designed quite strategically. When I asked Ms. Turner for advice to new volunteers, she suggested that everyone schedule a day to come in and observe the whole program like a fly in the wall, intervening as little as possible, from morning to afternoon. This way, you’ll get to learn the kids’ names much faster and understand how to both encourage and discipline them. You’ll also get a better idea of what the daily routine feels like, and what activities you might bring to the table to vary that routine. I had been teaching art lessons for over a month before I finally stayed a full day, and gained a much deeper understanding of the program after doing so. Wherever your talents may lie - art, music, athletics, cooking, or gardening - you can add something to this experience if you are willing to plan ahead, make a commitment, and - perhaps most importantly - be flexible! It might take some adjustment to keep up with the short attention span and abundant energy of this age group, but on the bright side, they are quick to warm to new teachers. On my second day volunteering, I was already greeted with a resounding “Hi Miss Laura!” upon entering the room. I also spoke to a high school student who was just finishing up the two weeks of community service required to receive her diploma. She was sure she would come back frequently, even though she hadn’t originally planned to. “I don’t think I could leave these kids!” she said with a smile. 8

What kind of volunteer are you? Take Oprah Winfrey’s Quiz to find out what kind of work suits you best!

Take the Quiz!

Find openings

Apply to Volunteer!


What’s In Demand Thrift Store Boxers , Briefs, and Socks (New) Men’s Jeans (Good Condition) Men’s Shoes (Sneakers and Dress Shoes)

Food Pantry Toiletries (Bathroom Tissue, Soap, Tampons) Spinach Jam

Daycare Construction Paper, Gluesticks Beads, Yarn, String, Buttons Sculpey, Clay


What’s In Demand at the Thrift Store | Menswear




jeans To donate clothing, contact Andrea Dent at


What’s In Demand at the Food Pantry | Groceries


canned spinach

canned yams


fruit cups

apple sauce


pancake mix


What’s In Demand at the Food Pantry | Toiletries

bath tissue


hand soap


bar soap



body wash


What’s In Demand at the Daycare | Art Supplies

construction paper

Sculpey, Clay


felt squares


Yarn, String



To donate daycare supplies, contact Christine Cannon:


What’s In Demand at the Daycare | Activities



Picture Books (new)

Educational CDs

Music Lessons

Math Lessons

Dance Lessons

Language Lessons

To volunteer, contact Kenneth Pruitt at



1902: Original Kingdom House Building

Charlotte’s Web was published in 1952. Here, a teacher and student go over the story

Founder of Kingdom House

1954: The first residents move into Pruitt Igoe, which would ultimately fail due to lack of government support

Nurses Provide Medical Care

1962: Bouffants were real! We also had a Women’s Bowling League 16

A little bit of reading at recess: learning through play for over a century

1963: Kingdom House launches Program for Teenagers

1952: 50th Anniversay Celebration

1972: Boys dancing at Youth Social 17

Kid’s Corner Mad Libs




Today I went to the zoo. I saw a ____________(adjective) _____________(noun) jumping up and down in its tree. He _____________(verb: past tense) __________(adverb) through the large tunnel that led to its __________(adjective) __________(noun). I got some peanuts and passed them through the cage to a gigantic gray __________(noun) towering above my head. Feeding that animal made me hungry. I went to get a __________(adjective) scoop of ice cream. It filled my stomach. Afterwards I had to __________(verb) __________ (adverb) to catch our bus. When I got home I __________(verb past tense) my mom for a __________(adjective) day at the zoo.








Golf and Dinner Auction Save the Date! July 9th, 2012, at the Country Club of St. Alban’s Kingdom House is celebrating 110 years of empowering future generations in St. Louis this year! Join us for the Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction and celebrate as we come together for Kids, Kingdom House and Community. Kingdom House is a place where lives are truly changed - we provide hope to the hopeless and a future to those who have been told they have none. We recognize that with internal change comes personal growth and with personal growth comes true life success. We are continually looking to add to the family of supporters who are truly looking to be a part of our change initiative. Will you consider partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of individuals in our city?

Included in the $300 Registration fee this year: 18 holes of Golf and Cart at the Country Club of St. Alban’s $100 Nike Store item: Your Choice: Shoes, Golf Bags, Putter, Half Zip Wind Top, Duffle Bag, etc., valued at $106 (suggested retail). Lunch & Drinks on Course $35 Dinner & Drinks $60

Over $300 value! The 2012 Kingdom House Golf and Dinner Auction is July 9th. You won’t want to miss out on this amazing event for an incredible value. We are coming together for Kids, Kingdom House and Community.



ŠKingdom House 2012 All Rights Reserved This book was set in Univers and Centaur Swash Capitals by the publisher and printed in the United States of America Laura Beckman is the Graphic Design Assistant at Kingdom House. For more information visit




110th Anniversary Kingdom House Newsletter  

Summer newsletter for Kingdom House, a social services organization in South St. Louis.