SHWT seeks ways to fulfill its mission; Brainstorming follows reports at June meeting

Virginia Graziani

Redwood Times

Participants at Southern Humboldt Working Together’s general meeting, held Wednesday, June 6, began discussing ways to more effectively fulfill their mission vision statement by brainstorming what they like about SHWT and what the organization needs.

Much of the meeting was devoted to announcements and networking among the participants as usual, however.

Representing the Women’s Crisis Shelter in Southern Humboldt (WISH), Amie McClelland reminded the group of the $132,000 federal grant WISH recently received from the federal government (see related story in our May 9 issue).

Because the funds are paid out only as reimbursements to expenses occurred, it’s been "incredibly challenging," McClelland said. As WISH came to the end of its savings, the organization has been tightening its belt, relying on volunteer help and cutting spending, which reduces reimbursement opportunities.

McClelland said that WISH is looking for new board members. Anyone who is interested should contact her at 223-3063.

Dotti Russell reported on a day of training in communications skills, called the Meeting Leadership Workshop, sponsored by NORCAN, an association of Northern California non-profits, in Garberville in late May.

Teachers from the Cascadia Center for Leadership coached the 26 participants in ways to have effective meetings, including "meetings" involving only two people. They taught techniques such as identifying and handling emotional triggers and actively listening to others.

NORCAN will sponsor the second part of the Meeting Leadership Workshop at the Garberville Civic Center on Wednesday, June 27. Cascadia trainers Heather Equinoss and Mary Gelinas will lead the workshop, titled "Beyond a Minute at the Mic: Design and Facilitate Effective Community Meetings."

Cost for the all-day workshop is $80 for non-NORCAN members and $65 for members. Light breakfast and lunch are included.

For more information or to register, contact Amy Jester at the Humboldt Area Foundation, 442-2993, extension 274. More information can also be found at NORCAN’s website, Click on "Workshops and Events" at the upper right corner.

Mark Shaffner, who works for the Humboldt County Office of Education helping to develop job-training programs and for the Humboldt County Workforce Improvement Board, announced that he has joined the Northwest Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities.

This committee meets monthly, usually on the second Thursday of the month, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at The Job Market at 409 K Street in Eureka.

Persons with disabilities can contact them for help with training and job searching through The Job Market at 441-5627. Employers interested in hiring persons with disabilities should also contact The Job Market at 441-5711.

The Miranda Volunteer Fire Department will be holding its annual Fourth of July celebration on Wednesday, July 4. The day will include food, kids’ games, an auction, and lawnmower races.

This year the lawnmower races are for SoHum residents only, and all lawnmowers must be unmodified, "straight out of the garage," Shaffner said.

Shaffner encouraged all SoHum residents to ride the HTA bus. The larger intercity bus that makes several round trips from Garberville to Eureka with many stops along the way is earning its required fare box share, but the intra-city bus, whose route includes several stops in Garberville and Redway and along the Avenue of the Giants to Miranda, is falling short of its required fare box share and may be discontinued if ridership does not increase.

Sydney King of the Piercy Animal Welfare Sanctuary reported that PAWS still has vouchers available to help with the cost of spaying and neutering of feral cats and pet cats and dogs, but the supply is limited. Call her at 247-3020 if you need a voucher.

The Piercy Watershed Association has been working with Greg King of the Siskiyou Land Conservancy on a watershed restoration project that will cover about 140 acres in the Piercy area. The association plans a benefit concert featuring singer-songwriter Joanne Rand this summer.

Kim Nelson, a member of the Southern Humboldt Solutions Task Force, asked SHWT for help creating a resource center for people in need at the old county buildings behind the Garberville library.

The task force envisions a center where people can learn about available services and get assistance to access them, perhaps staffed by persons assigned to community service by the court.

Second district supervisor Clif Clendenen has promised assistance with the effort if the task force can demonstrate community support.

The customary free-flowing discussion left less time than anticipated for brainstorming about how to implement SHWT’s mission and vision.

Southern Humboldt Working Together’s mission statement is: "To promote and sustain the well being of the people, the communities, the environment, and the economy of Southern Humboldt, Northern Mendocino, and Western Trinity counties." The vision statement adds: "We will accomplish our mission through increasingly effective grassroots leadership and networking. We will identify the needs of our communities and seek solutions through use of local skills and local resources, as well as through work with our political representatives and compatible outside sources of funding and expertise."

The group was able to think of several things SHWT needs, including more participation in meetings, public outreach, a website, and a Facebook account.

But first SHWT needs a larger, stronger board made up of people committed to working to improve the organization. Only then should it attempt to do broader outreach. With a strong board and more membership, SHWT can resume an important part of its original mission, umbrellaing other, new community organizations.

The discussion will continue at SHWT’s next general meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Garberville Civic Club. No meeting will be held in July because of the Independence Day holiday.