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The Partnership gets people, funds together to help others

by Joyce Hollister

The Partnership of Community Resources has, for the past five years, drawn together people from different agencies to develop programs and share knowledge and insights that can help citizens of Douglas County.

Its 60 members include educators, representatives of juvenile probation and health and human services agencies, social services professionals, businesspeople and community members with expertise or interest in these areas.

By sharing information and ideas, more people who need help can be directed to the right program, according to Tanya Hill, executive director of the Partnership.

The non-profit group is the R-C’s featured organization of the month for February.

“The Partnership provides an opportunity for people in social and human services to get together on projects they’re working on and discuss the challenges they see in the community and solicit help from other people,” said Hill.

“It’s kind of a clearing house for information and a conduit for networking. Agencies know what others are doing and can better refer their clients.”

Hill also sees herself as a resource development person.

“People come to me,” she said, “and they’re interested in certain kinds of projects. I may be able to help them find funding sources.”

Hill has written many grants that involved several agencies, thereby obtaining money for each to use. For instance, the Byrne grant provides salary, equipment and supply funds for the alternative sentencing department for East Fork Justice Court. The partnership uses some of the funds for its needs and is responsible for reporting requirements.

The program is a joint project of the Partnership and the court, and all funds are disbursed by the county.

Another joint project for the Partnership and the East Fork Justice Court is the Violence Against Women Grant, which provides funds for training and equipment for a program that focuses on domestic violence and stalking.

Funds were obtained from a challenge grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (state of Nevada) and are used in family mediation and anger management sessions for juveniles and their families who are referred through Douglas County Juvenile Probation.

One of the most successful programs offered through the Partnership is the Teens With a Future program. Scott Jackson was recently hired as the director of this program.

He started in January, but already has directed the Valentine cards project in which teens made cards and cookies and took them to the elderly residents of Valley Meadows (formerly Cottonwood Care Center).

“I’m hoping to expend our outdoor, environmental kinds of projects,” he said. “Trail projects with the Forest Service and that kind of thing.”

Teens With a Future offers a way for young people in grades 7 to 12 do volunteer work. Students in 9th to 12th grades even earn a high school credit in community service.

Students have helped with the 1997 flood cleanup and reseeding during the 1996 Autumn Hills fire restoration programs.

They regularly go to the Valley Meadows facility to play games with residents. They have worked on landscaping projects at the City of Refuge, a home for unwed mothers, and cleaning up around the old power dam.

“It gives them (the kids) a sense of accomplishment,” said Hill. “And when they get a lot of kudos from adults, that’s really good for them. It gives them a way to work with adults in a positive way, and gives adults a positive experience with youths.”

Students have also staffed aid stations for the Markleeville Death Ride bicycle race and for various fund-raising walk-a-thons held in the Valley.

“I think this has been pretty successful,” Hill said. “We’ve had lots of kids go through it.”

Youths in the program may join on their own, and others have been referred by teachers, parents, friends, agencies and juvenile probation officers.

The Partnership board meets once a month. Officers for the year include Marla Wilson, president; Alicia Smalley, president-elect; Karen Hamperle, vice president; Keith Logan, past president; and Mary Wolery, treasurer.

“I find members have a lot of insight into not only county issues but also state issues and state legislation that will affect our community,” Hill said. “They’re very valuable in the respect and also in terms of their contacts and knowledge of projects that work well in other communities that might be of benefit to us here.”

As for the future of the group, Hill said she would like to see the Partnership continue being a resource for agencies and as well as for community members.

“I see us at some point offering training for non-profits,” she said, “hopefully drawing from Carson City and Lyon county areas.”

Training for such skills as grant-writing are usually held in Reno or Las Vegas, making travel difficult to people in rural areas.

Other ideas Hill is interested in developing are substance abuse treatment and after-school programs, and becoming a clearinghouse for volunteers who want to give their time to community projects.

“We’re hoping to broaden our focus – not only focus on youth but also on some of the other issues in our community as well,” Hill said.

People who would like to learn more about the Partnership may call Hill at 782-8611 or go to a meeting, held the third Wednesday of the month at 7:30 a.m. at Douglas County Cooperative Extension Office across from Lampe Park on Waterloo Lane.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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