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Partnership looks for new members

Sheila Gardner

Newcomers to Douglas County feeling overwhelmed by their new surroundings can turn to the Partnership of Community Resources for help.

Now in its fifth year, the Partnership provides a network of information about what’s available to residents who may be unaware of all the options available in social services and other community resources.

The Partnership started out in 1992 applying for a $22,000 grant. Last year, grants awarded totaled nearly $112,000 for programs in Carson Valley and at Lake Tahoe.

The organization’s new board of directors is hoping to attract more members to the multi-agency group which acts as a clearinghouse for information exchange between agencies.

“We’re encouraging people to get involved,” said Keith Logan, an investigator with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Partnership’s new president.

“When you come to our meetings, you can just listen, you don’t have to get involved. But we think once you get there, you won’t be able to help yourself,” he said.

The Partnership meets Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the Kahle Park building at Stateline.

Mary Wolery, a counselor at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, is vice president for the Partnership and has been with the group since the beginning.

She invited people to join the organization who care about the community.

Referring to a needs assessment which was compiled by the Partnership in 1993, Wolery said residents identified community safety as a top priority.

“Safety can mean physically and emotionally,” she said. “If safe means people all belonging somewhere, Partnership offers Teens With a Future and the open gym. If it means feeling safe by having access to emergency response, there is the Community-Oriented Policing program, if it means safe emotionally, there is mental health assistance,” Wolery said.

The Partnership doesn’t run the programs, but helps obtain grants and directs people who may benefit from the service.

Logan said the Partnership has worked since its inception to focus on programs in Carson Valley and at Lake Tahoe.

Programs that provide services at the Lake include Teens With a Future which meets occasionally at Whittell High School, Community Counseling Center with a drug-alcohol counselor available by appointment at the sheriff’s substation at Stateline, the weekly open gym at Kingsbury Middle school and the Juvenile Probation Office wilderness program.

Teens With a Future is one of the Partnership’s most visible successes. The program began in 1995 and provides volunteerism and career opportunities for youths ages 13-18, under the direction of Margie Mangieapelo.

“We saw a need for volunteer opportunities for teen-agers,” Logan said. “Some of them are earning high school credit for volunteering. They also have speakers and are learning educational life skills.”

The teen volunteers are available to the community at no cost. Since the first of the year, they’ve been busy with flood cleanup in the Gardnerville Ranchos and also have volunteered at the Genoa Candy Dance, Markleeville Death Ride, Carson City Children’s Museum, Project Santa and the Halloween Haunted House.

The program is in desperate need of a vehicle for transportation, Logan said, underscoring the Partnership’s reliance on grants which makes financing unpredictable.

“Many grants are earmarked for certain things,” he said. “Out of that money, a very minimal amount goes to personnel. We have one part-time staff member and it’s amazing what she does.”

Tanya Hill serves as the Partnership’s executive director. Her position was cut from full-time to part-time, based on the availability of grants.

“You never hear a single complaint from her,” Logan said.

The Partnership operates from an office on Library Lane in Minden which also provides space for the Community Counseling Center, Teens With a Future and a caseworker with the state’s Children and Family Services Department.

“Anybody who cares about what their community looks like and has hopes for what they would like to see in the future is invited to get involved,” said Karen Hamperle, Partnership treasurer and Douglas County social services supervisors.

“We have a wonderful group of people with varied experience in mental health, parks and recreation, social services and law enforcement,” she said.

The 1997 board of directors includes former county commissioner Bob Allgeier, Douglas High School counselor Mike Caughlan, chief county probation officer Scott Cooke, Tom Embree, director of Douglas Mental Health Center; Maryon Lewis of the American Association of Retired Persons; Steve Lewis, University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension; Carson Valley of Chamber Commerce President Roxanne Stangle; Marla Wilson, division of Child and Family Services; Wolery, Hamperle and Logan.

For information about the Partnership, contact 782-8611.