I will start my update this month with a board-related goodbye and hello. Nick Nicholas was a Polk County Commissioner who served on Tri-Valley’s board for four years. Nick served as our Treasurer for a while and was also a member of our Audit/Finance Committee. Most employees don’t have a great deal of interaction with board members, but as the board members are collectively my boss, I do. I can tell you that I will miss Nick’s financial acumen and thoughtful questions a great deal. Thankfully, Nick has consented to being involved with our Audit/ Finance Committee for at least a little while longer. While we will miss Nick, we are excited to welcome Gary Willhite to the board. Gary won the seat on the Polk County Commission that Nick vacated and has been assigned to the Tri-Valley board. I had the opportunity to work with Gary as he was Crookston’s Mayor until the end of 2016. Gary will be an asset to the Tri-Valley Board of Directors. Work continues on the Orion to Abila transition. There has been a reallocation of consulting resources made available to Tri-Valley. That has allowed the process to move rapidly in a positive direction. We are still behind where we had hoped to be right now but we are very close to having what I consider “baseline functionality” in place. That should allow us to get back to a more normal Payroll and Accounts Payable schedule very shortly. Unfortunately, that means that we have not yet implemented some of the enhanced functionality that should have been in place by now. I continue to ask for your patience as audit prep is going to consume the Fiscal Department over the next few weeks. For those of you wondering about the hiring workflow, I am happy to report that the Cyber Recruiter implementation is still progressing according to plan. We were treated to a visit by Chris Flood, our housing consultant from Three Rivers Community Action, in January. Chris now lives in Philadelphia so having him in Crookston is bit more involved than when he lived in Rochester. Chris and I made the rounds updating various stakeholders on the Agassiz Townhomes project. While there is still uncertainty surrounding tax credit markets, we continue to move ahead with predevelopment work. We want to be in a position to move quickly once markets stabilize. One last project related update. After some discussion, Tri-Valley’s board has decided to pause on moving forward with a Food Hub in Crookston. There is still interest in seeing something happen to increase the availability of locally grown foods in northwest Minnesota but Tri-Valley will not be leading the charge, at least for now. I have communicated this to the gentleman who has been trying to develop a statewide network. While disappointed to be losing an active partner, he is going to continue on his own to leverage what he sees as unique opportunities in this part of the state and make a project happen on his own.
In This Issue:
In This Issue:
* CEO News and Notes * Making a Difference Together in the Life of a Child * Monticello Career Day * Upcoming February Events * Carlson Visits with Leadership Crookston
* Foster Grandparents Receive “Tanks of Thanks” * January is SNAP Education and Outreach Month * Rewriting the Rural Narrative * February Fitness Fever * Tri-Valley Board of Directors
Making a difference together in the life of a child By: Mavis Gonshorowski The Tribune (Greenbush, Minn.) The Badger school currently has two local ladies involved in the Foster Grandparent program. Founded in 1965, it is one of several programs sponsored by the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc., a non-profit community action agency. Barb Holum of Badger, Minn., became involved with the Foster Grandparent program at the Badger School in January 2015. What sparked Barb’s interest in becoming involved in the foster grandparent program? “I wanted to help the school make a difference in the kids’ lives,” she commented. “The staff is awesome and very concerned for their students but with the curriculum that has to be taught these days they are stressed for time. I hoped to help take a little stress off them and give their students some one on-one-time.” Those who are interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent are required to fill out an application, pass a background check, and be finger printed. “Foster Grandparent programs are currently in schools at Badger, Roseau, Warroad, Baudette, Fertile, Crookston, Thief River Falls, and others - needing Foster Grandparents in Greenbush and Middle River,” Barb said. Holum is at the Badger school Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m., and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon. “I was asked what grade level I wanted to work with and I said elementary because I felt I’m not able to work with those on the high school level. During the winter quarter, however, I did help Mrs. Lee’s FAQ’s class with sewing. Basically, I helped with a little guidance - I didn’t teach them anything.” She went on to say she was next placed with a sixth-grade student to assist him with math. “I said, okay, I’d try but if I didn’t feel that I was helping, I’d let them know. “Needless to say, I didn’t understand the math because it’s ‘new’ math. It isn’t so much helping them to do the work as it is keeping them focused on their work. For me, it was so fun…I told the student ‘you’re going to have to teach me.’ He took that as a challenge and I learned from him. We had it in school but I never ‘got it’.” Barb currently works with preschool through fourth grade. The fourth graders were solving math problems in different settings. It’s not all memorizing anymore. The students are being taught to ‘think out of the box’; learning to solve different problems in more than one way. In first grade the students are actually being eased into doing algebra without realizing it and pertaining it to every day life. “I understand now why they are doing it…I will never disagree with how they are being taught. It is hard for the parents who learned the ‘old’ way - I wish there was a way that was available so parents could go and learn, and be able to help their kids.” Holum also helps with reading being Accelerated Reading is really focused on. She said the Dick and Jane books where used for reading when she was in school. “Now they have the regular books and read them out loud to us. They take quizzes on the computer which are recorded as a part of their grades. There is also Accelerated Math on the iPads. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday forenoons are spent helping with 17 preschoolers in Mrs. Bergland’s classroom.
“They are absolutely wonderful. I relearned how to laugh, giggle, and be silly. My kids say, ‘Mom, is that you?’ “Mary Bergland is an amazing amazing teacher - you wouldn’t believe the activities she comes up with. “They are learning to interact, how to follow directions, how to use their manners, learning respect for others. They have come so far since school began last September. There is less tension; less little episodes.” Barb said that being a Foster Grandparent has given her a different perspective of being around kids. Now she enjoys every personality. “They say kids keep you young…I think it’s their personalities. Yes, you get tired - maybe that teaches you to enjoy the simple things. “The kids and the staff make me feel like I’m making a difference. I really love what I’m doing!” she said enthusiastically. Bev Holm is the other Foster Grandparent at the Badger school. This is her third year of being involved with the program. She volunteers two mornings and one full day each week. Holm stated, “An intergenerational relationship is a benefit for children - also having another adult in their life who sees them, hears them, believes in them.” Her day starts off with the kindergarten class. She generally plays educational games (activities) that their teacher, Mrs. Langaas, provides, which reinforces what the youngsters are currently learning in their class. She also does flash words to give them practice on the sight words they have been introduced to. “Next I go to the third grade room and Mrs. Schaan usually sends two students with me to complete what they are working on in class which generally involves reading a story together and completing a corresponding worksheet. My next assignment is with Mrs. Miller. The majority of the time she will send one of her special ed students with me to read a book that will help them towards their Accelerated Reading goal for the quarter.” It’s then on to Mrs. Warne’s first grade where a student will be excused to go with Bev to read an AR book. If they are ready to test on it, they will take a test. “It is so thrilling to see the students progress and to see their reaction when they meet their goal!” she exclaimed. Her next assignment is to be with those in lower elementary who are not able to go out for recess. A teacher is also in the study room so sometimes Bev isn’t needed during that half hour. On her full day, after lunch, she checks in with Mrs. Miller and then with the high school special ed teacher working primarily with one seventh grader, assisting with whatever Mrs. Nielson has on the agenda, which for the most part, is reading. Then it’s on to the first grade to assist with group activities. “I feel so appreciated by the teachers, the students, parents and the community in general. I am semi-retired and am so blessed that the Badger school participates in this program and that I am able to be involved in it. A Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc, newsletter reads... The Foster Grandparent Program, founded nationally in 1965, is a program that provides opportunities for volunteers to work with one of our most valuable resources - today’s children and youth. Foster Grandparents provide the mentoring and role modeling that so many of today’s children lack in their lives. The heart of the program is the one-on-one daily attention that Foster Grandparents provide. This special care helps young people grow, gain confidence, learn, and become full and productive members of society. The benefits to individuals are both immediate and lasting. Foster Grandparents are not intended to be a replacement for regular staff, but rather provide an added dimension of one-on-one attention that contributes to achieving developmentally appropriate skills for children of all ages. (Photo Caption)- Bev Holm (left) and Barb Holum (right) are Foster Grandparent volunteers at the Badger school. Sponsored by the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Crookston, the Grandparent program “provides opportunities for volunteers to work with one of our most valuable resources- today’s children and youth”. (submitted photo)
Carlson Visits with Leadership Crookston Tri-Valley's CEO Jason Carlson took part in the Leadership Crookston Service & Vision Day.
Monticello Center Hosts Career Day The Monticello center’s preschool 2 classroom held a theme building study learning about different jobs and what they could grow up to do in the future. Teachers invited a dad to come to the center and talk about what he does for a living and show the children some tools. The children were very excited to have this dad in the classroom and to learn new things about his job.
Foster Grandparents Receive “Tanks of Thanks” Northern Resources and the Cenex Convenience Store in Roseau presented a $50 gasoline gift card as a part of its Tanks of Thanks program to Roseau Elementary School Foster Grandparents and Reading Corps staff members. (L-R) Marshall Loken of Cenex, Dorothy Gerke (Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent), Helen Foss (Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent), Joyce Hulst (Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent), Diane Saurdiff and Brita Comstock-Title I Teacher.
Upcoming February Calendar Items: *Feb. 6 - Tri-Valley Board Meeting * Feb. 7 - Rewriting the Rural Narrative (TRF) * Feb. 8 - Rewriting the Rural Narrative (Crookston) * Feb. 14 - HS / EHS Policy Council Meeting * Feb. 15, 16 - Financial Literacy Training
Governor Dayton declared January as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education and Outreach Month!
Tri-Valley Board of Directors 2017
Chairperson Public Official Sector Marshall County
Vice Chairperson Private Sector Marshall County
Secretary Private Sector Marshall County
Treasurer Public Official Sector Polk County
Dr. Jodi Boerger-Wilder Private Sector Polk County
Public Official Sector Polk County
Low-Income Sector Polk County
Dr. Linda Neuerburg Private Sector Polk County
Private Sector Norman County
Low-Income Sector Norman County
Lee Ann Hall
Public Official Sector Norman County
Public Official Sector Norman County
Public Official Sector Marshall County
Low-Income Sector Marshall County
Low-Income Sector Marshall County
Not Pictured: Marsha Melting-Ogard, Low-Income Sector, Norman County
The mission of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for people and communities.
Tri-Valley January Newsletter 2017