Tag Archives: Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center

Katie’s Way…A safe place of healing and treatment for young adults with mental health challenges…

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The Mathis Family Lost Katie to Depression…

Katie’s Way… Click on the highlighted text, and take a moment to see the powerfully moving video clip…

“Katie’s Way was established in cooperation with The No Stone Unturned Foundation to provide services that promote social-emotional development, prevent development of mental health challenges, and address social-emotional problems that currently exist.”

“Katie’s Way was developed to overcome barriers by providing:

  • A non-institutional setting to overcome the stigmatism associated with an institutional model
  • Team-Based Care – psychiatry and psychology professionals all working together
  • All staff are specialty credentialed in child and adolescent psychiatry/psychology”

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We live in the rural community of Depoe Bay, Oregon in Lincoln County on the Central Oregon Coast.  We are blessed to live out our dreams in this beautiful and stunning coastal community.  We have big challenges just like many rural towns, including the lack of resources to help those who are mentally challenged, especially kids.  The stigma of mental health hits us hard just like everywhere else in America.  Most hesitate or even avoid telling parents and loved ones about feelings of severe depression and anxiety for fear it will not lead to a helpful outcome, or even worse, could keep them from achieving dreams of college, career, and building loving relationships.  We are devastated and traumatized whenever there is word of a death, suicide or accident connected with the need for vastly improved mental health treatment and healing resources.

One of the most recent tragedies in our community is the story of little London McCabe, who’s mother tossed him over the Yaquina Bridge in Newport, Oregon because she was hearing voices.  Other examples we can’t mention names in order to protect victims, include child abuse, sexual abuse and maltreatment.  My own life experience includes a severely toxic and sometimes violent home culture while growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s before leaving to join the US Navy in 1963… “I got away!”

The State of Oregon acknowledges the need to improve mental health support and treatment resources by making it a legislative priority.  Our local Depoe Bay, Oregon City Council formally put mental health on its agenda.  We participate in the local community governing process by sitting on both the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) and the Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC).  We are making room in our new Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital expansion to include space and beds for a detox treatment center.  Where we have a sticky problem is trying to build resources within our smaller communities similar to Katie’s Way, where getting help comes from a safe and secure setting managed by non institutional professionals and volunteers.

Katie’s Way is a non-profit public private partnership business model we need to get serious about right now!  There have been attempts in the past that have either failed or struggled to achieve sustainability.  We have the compassion, passion, and talent in Lincoln County to make it happen, we just need to go the extra mile.  I hope the story of Katie’s Way will give us the extra energy and commitment to move forward more quickly.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page.

Depoe Bay City Councilor

https://www.facebook.com/councilorsparks     Please “like” my page…

 

 

Screening Kids to Prevent Childhood Trauma… Ask not what is wrong with your child, ask what happened!

 

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CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) Click highlighted text for more…

 

 

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Tabitha Lawson and her two happy children

Parents and Teachers Help Prevent Childhood Trauma (ACES)  Quote from this website article from ACES too High News…

“When parents bring their four-month-olds to a well-baby checkup at the Children’s Clinic in Portland, OR, Drs. Teri Petersen, R.J. Gillespie and their 15 other partners ask the parents about their adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

When parents bring a child who’s bouncing off the walls and having nightmares to the Bayview Child Health Center in San Francisco, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris doesn’t ask: “What’s wrong with this child?” Instead, she asks, “What happened to this child?” and calculates the child’s ACE score.”

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When I was growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s the conversation at home and in school was “what is wrong with your child rather than what happened to this child.”  Childhood trauma is not new.  We still have toxic homes and neighborhoods, but parents and teachers know more in the 21st Century thanks to the CDC ACES study and testing.  “The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States.”

As a child advocate and vice chair of Neighbors for Kids, a popular after-school program in Depoe Bay, Oregon, we often have to address all types of special needs of kids, including the effects of trauma.  The more we know from collaboration with public school teachers and parents, we are able to pay particular attention to traumatized children and help them effectively.  I know from my own traumatic childhood experience that growing up feeling alone, scared, and asking myself “what is wrong with me” or hearing “what is wrong with you” had long term damaging consequences on my ability to build self confidence and feel connected with other kids and my adult mentors.  Eventually joining the US Navy at age 17 as a young adult saved the day.  No child should suffer from emotional neglect and abuse and believe there is something wrong with them…early recognition and special attention is critical!

When you observe a child bouncing off the walls, or looking scared and lonely, please show love and compassion.  As a teacher, mentor, and parent you are in a great position to help children heal from a traumatic experience by seeking more information about life at home by asking “what happened” and providing the loving care and attention all children deserve…sooner than later…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1, and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…  Click highlighted text for my author page…

Former Oregon Duck and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts urges “safety in sports” at the 5th annual Neighbors for Kids Charity Golf Tournament Saturday, July 19, at Chinook Winds Golf Resort…

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From the left, Logan, Steve, Janie, and Gray at Chinook Winds Golf Resort, Lincoln City, Oregon on July 19, 2014… Neighbors for Kids (NFK) 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament… Click photo for larger view…

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Steve, with Logan, Gray, and Janie, sinking a redeeming putt on the 16th hole! Click photo for larger view…

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Dan Fouts during the 5th annual Neighbors For Kids Charity Golf Tournament Saturday, July 19, at Chinook Winds Golf Resort… Photo / Joe Janvoksky

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Judy Sparks, Dan Fouts, and Lyn Morgan at Chinook Winds Golf Resort…Neighbors for Kids 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament…

 

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Pablo Arellano

Soul Searching…Beautiful Piano Solo… click highlighted text to listen and relax…

I have been away from my office and the joy of writing this blog for awhile…  My day job and passion in retirement is vice chair of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  We held our 5th annual charity golf tournament at Chinook Winds Golf Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, on Saturday, July 19, 2014…The charity event was a fabulous success with over 100 players, including 12 top high school sponsored golfers.  Dan Fouts, NFL Hall of Fame, 1993, San Diego Chargers played in the event again this year and urged safety in sports during an interview  with the Lincoln City NewsGuard…  (click highlighted text for more)

I was very proud and honored to have played in NFK’s 5th Annual Charity Golf event yesterday.  The kids in the photo above in my foursome include, from the left, Logan, (Steve), Janie, and Gray.  Logan is age 12, from Taft, and plays like a future Tiger Woods!  Both Janie and Gray, HS seniors from Newport, are very good on the course.  All three are exemplary kids and young adults…  I was able to redeem myself from time to time with some great shots, especially on the 16th hole pictured above.  It was one of the best times in my life on the golf course…  The experience touched my heart deeply…

This year’s tournament was also a defining moment for Neighbors for Kids.  The photos above make a powerful statement of who we are as we go forward making a huge difference for kids and the community we serve. We are so very grateful for the overwhelming community support for this event!  There is so much to be thankful for as we celebrate and appreciate the heartwarming work we do for children and families in Lincoln County, Oregon.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…  Click highlighted text for my author page…

Start at birth to build healthy minds by singing and reading to children…

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Dr. Leora Mogilner, a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital, gave a book to Kaylee Smith, 9 months, and guidance to her mother, Tameka Griffiths, 33. RUTH FREMSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES

Early child literacy…key to healthy minds… Quote from this website article by the New Your Times…

By MOTOKO RICH

“In between dispensing advice on breast-feeding and immunizations, doctors will tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth, under a new policy that the American Academy of Pediatrics will announce on Tuesday.”

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In my own work with children as vice chair of Neighbors for Kids (click here) in Depoe Bay, Oregon, literacy programs are a high priority.  We are building a library along with information technology learning resources.  As part of the US Department of Education, “21st Century Community Learning Centers” (click here) goals, monthly literacy nights with parents and kids called “read and feed” started this year and has become highly popular.  This program is a collaboration with Lincoln County School District (LCDS) (click here) to build sustainable after-school programs at key sites within the county.

Even more important to me as a child advocate and author, is the value of engaging in positive ways with kids at a very early age at home and in schools.  At risk kids in particular often come from stressful homes that can cause emotional neglect and abuse.  Parents, teachers, and mentors can help mitigate the risk of long term emotional damage to these children by practicing reading and singing for just a few minutes a day at home.  Kids are more likely to be comfortable at school engaging in fun literacy programs knowing their parents are doing the same as a regular practice at home.

It is often challenging to pay attention to your children at home following a hectic day and in dealing with life challenges.  Please know kids inhale the pain of parents and store it.  As a parent, you can provide a more positive balance and foundation at home by taking a little time each day reading and singing to your child.  It is the kind of quality time with your kids that makes a huge difference for the entire family and helps manage stressful home circumstances…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1, and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… click here to order my books…

Teach your children safety! Parents, teachers and caregivers…never let your guard down!

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Boston Children’s Museum…click for larger view…

Boston Children’s Museum Child Porn Bust… Quote from website article written by Paul Fest, WBZ…

According to prosecutors, an employee of the museum approached Boston Police and Suffolk prosecutors on April 9 after discovering an unfamiliar thumb drive in her car, plugging it into a computer, and finding that it contained apparent images of child pornography. The employee told investigators that she allowed some co-workers – including Fest – to use her car for errands and did not know who the owner of the thumb drive was.

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Click for larger view of this resource from Children’s Trust…

Family Support Training from Children’s Trust Massachusetts…  Quote from this website…

The Talking About Touching child personal safety curriculum is a research-based program for children Pre-K to Grade 3 developed by Committee for Children in Seattle, Washington. It offers age appropriate ways to teach children skills to keep them safe from the dangers of abusive situations. Talking About Touching empowers children to tell an adult to get help if something happened. Participants learn skills to take an active role in protecting children from abuse by learning best practices to teach Talking About Touching to staff, children, and parents, understand and train others on the indicators of abuse, how to handle disclosures, and about the responsibilities of being a mandated reporter.

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OneToughJob.org…click for larger view…

Child Safety for Pre-schoolers from OneToughJob.org…  Quote from this website…

Child personal safety tips for young children

  • Teach your child to know and say his first name and last name.
  • Discuss with your child what he can do to make sure other children do not get lost.
  • Teach your child about the “buddy system” and how to use it.
  • Help your child remember that guns are not toys. If someone wants to play with a gun, he should say, “No, that’s not safe,” and then tell a grown-up about the gun.
  • Teach your child the “always-ask-first-rule.” Teach your child that he must always ask you or another person in charge first to go somewhere with someone. Your child must understand that he must ask first to go away with someone. Practice the “always-ask-first-rule” with your child.
  • Tell your child that if someone is touching him and he wants them to stop, he can and needs to say words that mean “No!” Let your child know, the person must stop the touching. Similarly, if your child is touching someone else and that person says, “No,” your child needs to be respectful and stop.
  • Help your child practice safety rules , like saying “No,” getting away, and telling a responsible grown up.
  • Your child should know this rule: A bigger person should not touch a child’s private body parts except to keep them clean and healthy. If someone does, a child needs to say words that mean “No.” Then get away and tell a grown up.
  • Tell your child to never keep a secret about touching.

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As a board member and children’s advocate of www.neighborsforkids.org…”Kids Zone” in Depoe Bay, Oregon, this news hits close to home!  We just received, follow-up child safety training, entitled “Darkness to Light,” from the Lincoln County Children’s Advocacy Center…  As a non-profit public private partnership we are mandated to be up to speed on child abuse legal reporting guidelines and what to look for.  Child safety is our number one priority at Kids Zone!  Safety is probably the one topic we talk about the most with parents, staff, and at our monthly board meetings.  In our mission statement, “safe” is the most critical word we use.

“Neighbors for Kids’ mission is to provide youth in our region with educational enrichment, positive youth development, and recreational activities; all in a safe environment, which focuses them toward healthy lifestyles and leads them to become responsible, contributing adults.” 

Please take quality time and check out the story and critical resources referenced above.  Please do your part in helping to keep our kids safe!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

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Click for larger view…

Vice Chair, Neighbors for Kids, Depoe, Bay, Oregon

ChildAdvocacy

Children’s Advocacy Center…click for larger view…

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