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Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. “People Helping People”


DECEMBER NEWSLETTER From My View: Bitter cold welcomed us to 2014 but warm weather is on the way – they tell me. I have had unusual warning lights show up on the dashboard of my car. I am low on gas, my tires need more air and the temperature is too low to even display. All I get is dashes. Still, the engine starts, the heater works and the wheels go round and round. Welcome to northwestern Minnesota in January. Today, I will be interviewing a prospective Board member to represent the low-income sector of Marshall County. If successful that will leave only one opening on the Board of Directors. It would be great if we could keep the Board full this year. We have had lots of retirements as members move into retirement and move for new job opportunities. We have been blessed over these many years to have had so many Board members who have stayed with us for many terms. We can only hope that we are lucky in that regard going forward. With it being a New Year I thought you might like to see a few predictions from me. Here goes: First, winter will end, spring will come and we will have a wonderful summer and autumn in 2014. Second, the economy will pick up – albeit just a bit and we will see markets improve while salaries increase ever so slowly and unemployment will continue to decline. Third, with this being an off year election we will see way too many negative commercials regarding those running for office and in the end the face of the Minnesota legislature and the Congress will remain almost unchanged. Fourth, the Congress will pass some kind of Immigration Reform and they will actually pass a budget this year for 2015. Further, Seattle will win the Super Bowl. The Timberwolves will make it to the second round of the playoffs. The Winter Olympics will be a bust. And, the Twins will tank again this season. Oh, and the Bison will win a third national title. The Minnesota Legislature will commence on February 25, 2014. This is the off year session so little will take place relative to policy issues. Still, there will be a flurry of bonding proposals. I will be working with the MN CAP Association and the Minnesota Head Start Association on an effort to put more bonding funding into Early Childhood Education facilities around the state of Minnesota. Since 1992 the legislature has made some minor investments into facilities for young children. However, with the flurry of activities at the state and federal levels in this arena there is going to be an increased need for quality facilities for our youngest learners. Presently, we are looking a figure of $10 million for 2014-2015 but anything can happen during a legislative session. (Continued on next page)

In This Issue:

* From My View- Report from CEO Dennis P. DeMers * Vikings Game * Owatonna Home Visitor * Crookston Winter Wonderland

In This Issue:

* Upcoming January Events * LIHEAP Takes the Chill Out of Winter * Tri-Valley I-C.A.R.E. Holiday Donations * Minnesota Department of Education Article

(From My View continued)- With the Congress passing a temporary budget before the end of the year there is some renewed hope that some of the effects of the previous Sequestration might be mitigated. For Tri-Valley that could take the form of replacing some of the cuts to Senior Programs, Transportation Programs, LIHEAP, Emergency Services and Head Start. I am convinced that we will NOT see any significant replacement dollars but since we were forced to make cuts in 2013 any replacement funding would be very much welcomed. This year will mark the 50th Anniversary of Community Action. Although Tri-Valley did not become incorporated until 1965 the War on Poverty started with President Lyndon Johnson appointing Sargent Shriver as the first Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity while signing the enabling legislation on August 20, 1964. Over the next months there will be many stories (both pro and con) about the War on Poverty, OEO, and Community Action Agencies. Should you wish just “Google,” any of these items and you will find a plethora of articles to go to for further information. My biases will show through as I share some of the information about our heritage, our history and our tradition. Still, I will make every attempt to share balanced information over these forthcoming months. My first tidbit for your information is a quote and a factoid. First the quote from Ronald Reagan: “Lyndon Johnson fought a War on Poverty and poverty won.” This is a famous quote from President Reagan during his first term of office. The factoid is: In 1964 the poverty rate in the United States was 19.6%. In 1998 during the second term of office of President Bill Clinton the poverty rate had shrunk to 11.2%. Those data points represent a decline in poverty in the United States of nearly 43%. Although the poverty figures skyrocketed during the most recent recession, without programs like Senor Programs, Transportation, LIHEAP, Emergency Services, Head Start and many others the “effects,” of poverty in the United States would have been more pronounced and debilitating.

Connie Love (DQSA, East Grand Forks Head Start) and DeeDee Vos (Education Disability Specialist, Glencoe/ Hutchinson/Monticello) were the lucky winners of the Vikings tickets. The tickets were for the Vikings game against the Bears on Sunday, December 1 and the Vikings won 2320 in overtime. DeeDee said, “Thanks so much Tri-Valley for the tickets and such great seats right on the 50 yard line! It was such an intense game to attend and we actually got to see them win in OT!” (Pictured- Joel & DeeDee Vos)

I hope everyone has a nice Holiday Season and that together we can look forward to a bright and prosperous New Year in 2014. God Bless, Be Well and Enjoy the Moment, Denny

Edna Tudon (Home Visitor) works with home-based families from the Owatonna Center.

Tri-Valley LIHEAP Program Takes the Chill Out of Winter Energy bills during long winters with subzero temperatures can take a large bite out of household budgets. Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) wants families in West Marshall, West Polk and Norman counties to know that help with heating assistance is here if it’s ever needed.

Tri-Valley and T.H.E. Bus took part in Crookston's Winter Wonderland Parade. Despite frigid temperatures the event was a hit. T.H.E. Bus was filled with elves to wave to those who came out in the cold. Santa even stopped by T.H.E. Bus prior to the parade to see how his elves were doing and to remind them of all the hard work they have coming up!

LIHEAP consists of three components; primary heat bill, energy crisis, and furnace repairs (if you are a homeowner). For primary heat bill assistance, an application needs to be completed, signed and dated; families need to provide proof of gross income for the three months prior to the month in which they are applying. The assistance is determined on a graduated scale based on family size and income. Energy crisis assists a household from being shut off with a utility company or assists with a minimum fill for fuel oil or propane. Furnace repairs are for homeowners and help cover the cost to repair or replace the furnace. For the energy crisis and furnace repair program, a household must have qualified for the primary heat portion of the program Funding is available and is administered on a first-come, firstserved basis. Interested households should contact Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. by calling 218-281-9080, toll free at 1-866-264-3729 or visit the Tri-Valley LIHEAP web page at LIHEAP helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers. In 2012, over 1,600 families applied for and received assistance in the Tri-Valley service area and over 160,000 families received assistance throughout the State of Minnesota.

Upcoming January Calendar Items:

* Jan. 2- In-Service training for EHS and HS teaching staff.

* Jan. 6- Head Start / Early Head Start Policy Council Meeting. * Jan. 14- Tri-Valley Board of Directors Meeting. For more information





The West Adventure Center in Hendrum, MN recently held a Parent Meeting / Socialization called "Cooking with Kids".

I-C.A.R.E. About I-C.A.R.E.

Inspire and let yourself be inspired. Human generosity needs to be embraced, love and compassion are not luxuries. The simplest acts of kindness can overcome the toughest obstacles of life and its suffering. I-C.A.R.E.- promotes caring and generosity and was created with that vision in mind. I care for the Community I care for our Agency I care about Relationships The Tri-Valley I-C.A.R.E. group wants to thank ev- I care about our Employees eryone for their generous donations to those families in need in our area. The holiday baskets were greatly Tri-Valley is embracing and promoting the development of appreciated by those who received them! Photo- (Front) opportunities that will help reach our goal of supporting and Marion “Weasel” Henry- Transit Driver (Back L-R) motivating our employees for positive mental health and conAshley Peterson- Human Resource Generalist, Sherri tributing and giving back to the community. Christianson- Human Resource Director, Cindy Boudreaux- Health Services Manager. Not pictured, Norma Employees who are mentally and emotionally healthy have: Campos- Family and Community Services Specialist. To * A sense of contentment. learn more about the I-C.A.R.E. group visit www.tvoc. * A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun. org/about-us/tri-valley-i-c-a-r-e/. * The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity. * A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships. * The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change. * A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc. * The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships. * Self-confidence and high self-esteem. If you or your office would like to initiate a site specific I-C.A.R.E. subcommittee for your center or petition for funds for a special cause in your service area, please contact I-C.A.R.E. Committee Chair Norma Campos at norma@ This information is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities. Contact us at 1-800584-7020 or by calling the Telecommunication Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-627-3529. Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer/provider. EOE/M/F/D/V

Did You Know?... * You can receive more information on Tri-Valley’s programs and services by calling 218-281-5832 or 800-584-7020. * You can keep up with Tri-Valley news on the TVOC website at www.tvoc. org, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TriValley_TVOC. * Everyone can receive the Tri-Valley Newsletter. If you know of anyone who would like a copy please have them contact Mitch Bakken at 218-281-5832 or

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2013 CONTACT: Josh Collins, 651-582-8205,

More Minnesota Children Ready for Kindergarten Than Ever Before

72.8 percent of students prepared to succeed in school, according to data released by Department of Education today ROSEVILLE – Today the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the findings of their annual study of kindergarten readiness, showing that more Minnesota children entering kindergarten are prepared for success since the inception of the study in 2002. In fact, almost three quarters (72.8 percent) of children were determined to be ready for kindergarten, up from 60 percent in 2010. A child who is found to be ready for kindergarten is considered on track for meeting achievement targets on the third grade Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. Kindergartners demonstrated increased proficiency over previous years in all five learning domains of school readiness, including physical development, the arts, personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking. Each year MDE assesses the school readiness of Minnesota’s children during the first eight weeks of kindergarten by classroom teachers with a statewide representative sample of children entering kindergarten. The method uses a 75 percent proficiency target on all five learning domains of school readiness to establish a statewide percentage of fully prepared kindergartners. This research method was validated in 2010 by the Human Capital Research Collaborative, a partnership of the University of Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota. "Students who have access to high quality early learning are more likely to start school fully prepared and then stay on track academically," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. "Our focus has been on widening access to high quality early learning for all kids and aligning those programs with schools. Today’s announcement shows that more students are benefiting—and will continue to benefit—from our approach and the investments we are making." Children from disadvantaged backgrounds were less likely to be fully prepared for kindergarten than their more advantaged peers, a finding that is echoed in the first School Readiness Report Card, released by the Wilder Foundation in November. Governor Mark Dayton and the 2013 Legislature approved $40 million in scholarships for families to access high quality, Parent Aware-rated early learning programs this biennium, along with statewide full-day kindergarten that will begin in 2014. These initiatives are expected to have a positive impact on kindergarten readiness and early learning success in years to come. For the complete Minnesota School Readiness Study: Developmental Assessment at Kindergarten Entrance Fall 2012, visit the Minnesota Department of Education website at index.html.

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. (TVOC) is a community action agency headquartered in Crookston, MN. It is our Mission to provide opportunities to individuals and communities in order to improve the quality of our lives. In existence since 1965, TVOC provides services in 84 counties in Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota. For more information on services offered by TVOC please call 218-281-5832 or 800-584-7020.

TriValleyDecembernewsletter 2013  

Tri-Valley December 2013 Newsletter

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