Page 1

March Newsletter


March historically begins with the last week of fieldwork for our annual audit. March 2017 was no exception to the historical norm. Our audit firm, Wipfli, had a team here from the 6th to the 9th. While the results have not been completely finalized, I am happy to report that we had no findings in 2016! Thank you to all involved with the stewardship of grant funds. The care we give in handling public funds is vital in maintaining our capacity to carry out our mission. A special thank you to our fiscal staff who were able to keep our audit on schedule in the face of our Abila transition. The partner in charge of our audit remarked more than once that she couldn’t believe Nikki and crew were ready for the audit as scheduled. Speaking of Abila, our transition keeps moving along. At the end of March, we were able to move the software from the cloud to an on premise situation. The cloud environment provided to us initially just didn’t have the functionality we were looking for. Now that the software is on our servers, we will be able to focus on fiscal and HR getting the training they need to train others in how to run reports and create budgets. Expect to hear more very soon. Trust me when I tell you all involved are moving as fast as workloads and outside vendors allow us to move. I thank you for your continued patience as we work through this challenging time. Challenging is a good term to use to describe the situation in Washington D. C. right now in terms of trying to forecast what may happen with the federal budget. More than any time since I have been politically aware. If you are concerned about the impact of proposed cuts I encourage you to exercise the rights (and I would argue duties) of being a citizen of this country and contact your elected representatives. Remember to do that on your own time as a citizen of a political district and not as an employee of Tri-Valley. With that said, I will encourage you to respond quickly to requests from groups we are associated with for information. It is perfectly acceptable to educate elected officials about the impact of proposed legislation. Some of you may have heard that our Administrative Office is moving. I reported last month that the issue was being studied. At the March meeting of the Board of Directors, the data collected for the study was discussed. The conclusion is that our current facility is not viable for the long-term. I will be working with the Building Committee to now consider our options. Our current situation works for now so we are a good place as far as being able to take the time necessary to make a fully informed decision.

In This Issue:

In This Issue:

* CEO News and Notes * Crookston Head Start Celebrates Dr. Suess’ Birthday * Foster Grandparent March In-Service * Energy Assistance Excellent Reviews * Foster Grandparent Helps with Gardening Project

* Upcoming Calendar Items * Peter the Slug Visits East Grand Forks * New Childcare Center in Sleepy Eye * Upcoming Tri-Valley Community Forums * Tri-Valley Board of Directors

Foster Grandparent In-Service

Crookston Head Start Celebrates Dr. Seuss’ Birthday The Crookston Head Start center celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday on Thursday, March 2. The children enjoyed activities centered on Dr. Seuss, including reading books and green eggs and ham. In addition, many of the staff dressed up to take part in the festivities. It was a great day! - The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss

On Friday, March 3, a Foster Grandparent in-service was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston. The Foster Grandparents were fortunate to be able to hear a presentation in the morning from Tara Miller, MSW, LICSW. Tara is a school-based mental health professional and Family Service Specialist. She spoke on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and how the more ACEs an individual has the greater risk for chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence. There was a lot of interaction with questions and answers being given. The afternoon speaker was Sara Geist who is an education professional at Highland School in Crookston. Sara spoke on Teaching Children from Poverty and Trauma. She handed out a nice power point presentation for the volunteers to follow along with. The presentation showed the statics that 51% of students in public schools live in poverty households and that 50-80% of students living in poverty has been traumatized. Sara answered questions the many questions that the Foster Grandparents had.

Energy Assistance Program Receives Excellent Reviews Tri-Valley's Energy Assistance Program sent out client satisfaction surveys recently. Clients overwhelmingly responded with "Excellent" on services, respect, and helpfulness. Just a couple of quotes from clients: "You all do very well at your jobs and I appreciate your help! Thank you!!!" "Everyone is a delight to talk to and get help from and always are very helpful." Great job Energy Assistance staff !!!

Peter the Slug Visits the East Grand Forks Center

Foster Grandparent Helps with Gardening Project Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent David and the children at the Christian Adventist School in Thief River Falls are working on a gardening project. The children will plant the seeds, grow the plants and sell them, with the income from the plant sales going to the school!

Upcoming Calendar Items: * April 11 - Tri-Valley Board Meeting * April 12 - Polk County Community Forum (Crookston) 9 AM * April 12 - Marshall County Community Forum (Warren) 2 PM * April 13 - Norman County Community Forum (Ada) 11 AM * April 29 - MSHA/MSEHS Policy Council Meeting

The East Grand Forks center welcomed Peter Schultz on March 20th! He is the author of the children's book, Peter the Slug and the Great Forest Race. Peter, the slug, had a dream of running in the Great Forest race. An impossible dream, but nothing was going to stop him. It's a story about "doing your best with what you've got." After he read the story, the children met the 6', Peter the Slug and shook his hand or gave him a hug. Each child and teacher were given a Peter the Slug book bag with the book and a deck of card games.

New center is here to alleviate shortage of local childcare options The Learning Tree — a childcare center to meet the needs of all families. By Deb Moldaschel, Editor (The Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch) Kurk Kramer, Sleepy Eye EDA Coordinator, said the shortage of childcare options for Sleepy Eye families has been on his radar for several years. “Through my visits with local business people, and discussions with EDA Board members and parents in the community, it was clear that we needed more childcare options here,” he said. The EDA began to study the issue, including asking for input from local home-based childcare providers. “The providers say we need it,” said Kramer. “They have waiting lists of families needing childcare.” Why does the EDA care? A shortage of childcare becomes an issue of importance to the local economy, explained Kramer. Businesses need their employees to have childcare services available. “It’s been a topic of conservation at the economic development workshops and meetings I go to for some time,” said Kramer. “It’s a problem across the state.” Kramer approached Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, the community action agency that operates the seasonal migrant Head Start program in Sleepy Eye. He found that the Tri-Valley facility (located just south of the public school) had space available to add a childcare program. After many months of meetings and paperwork, a community childcare center opened in the building in January. The mission of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for people and communities with a focus on child and family programs. Tara Morrison, Tri-Valley Program Area Manager, said the childcare center is not connected to the Head Start program in the building. “Childcare is another program we offer in Sleepy Eye—to meet a community need,” she explained. “The programs share a facility, but are operated separately.” Center Manager, Patty Fernandez, said they have openings for children in all age groups: infant, six weeks to 15 months; toddler, 16 to 25 months; and preschool, three years to entry in kindergarten. Each group has a classroom and there is a playground in the backyard. The center operates somewhat like a preschool. The care providers are all teachers (qualified under the Department of Human Services) and use the Creative Curriculum, with programming tailored for each age group. “We are a Four Star Parent Aware rated program that prepares children for school,” said Fernandez. “We are here for everyone in the community.” The childcare center offers two, three, and five day per week agreements. Open all weekdays, from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the only days the center is closed are federal holidays and Christmas week. “We always have staff here: there are no vacation-type closures,” said Fernandez. Cost for care is the standard rate that the county pays for their clients in other center-based childcare programs. Both women agreed that the center needs a real name, not just plain “childcare center,” but just hadn’t thought of one. A last minute phone call from Fernandez brought good news. “We have a name,” she said. “The Learning Tree.” For more information on The Learning Tree, contact Fernandez at 794-7911.

Tri-Valley Board of Directors 2017

LeRoy Vonasek

Mark Kroulik

Shawna Peterson

Don Diedrich

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

Gary Willhite

John Gerszewski

Public Official Sector Polk County

Low-Income Sector Polk County

Dr. Linda Neuerburg Private Sector Polk County

Dale Svaren

Sarah Kjono

Private Sector Norman County

Low-Income Sector Norman County

Marvin Gunderson

Lee Ann Hall

Domita Mack

Lana Glover

Greg Burris

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.

March newsletter 2017  

Tri-Valley March Newsletter