20th ‘working lunch’ has nearly that many agenda items

October 17, 2012 by

With topics ranging from commercial sex trafficking to a preschool reading program, the Sisters of St. Joseph on Wednesday welcomed lunch guests to the 20th gathering of the Community Needs Forum.

The biggest topic of what turned out to be a short “working lunch” meeting at the Nazareth Motherhouse was the anti-poverty initiative called “Hands Across.” A small group of volunteers have been working since early this year to design a program that fits the needs of people in Concordia.

That work got a boost this summer under the direction of a college student who had spent three months as a full-time volunteer with the Sisters of St. Joseph. But when the student returned to college in early August, the work stalled.

New York native Christina Brodie listens to the presentation Wednesday about the work so far on the “Hands Across” anti-poverty initiative.

Now the sisters are seeking another full-time volunteer, and one candidate — Christina Brodie, a retired marketing professional from Jensen Beach, Fla. — attended Wednesday’s lunch as part of a week in Concordia. Both she and the sisters are still considering whether she would be a good fit for the position leading the Hands Across project.

But Jennifer Stull, who works in the sisters’ administrative offices and has been involved with the anti-poverty initiative from the beginning, said she is excited about the possibility of a full-time volunteer taking over leadership.

“We’ve put so much work, so much time, so much effort into this,” she said of the volunteers who have designed the local program so far, “we just don’t want to see it fail.”

Other updates and announcements that filled Wednesday’s agenda were:

• “Reading with Leaders,” the storytelling sessions at Neighbor to Neighbor. Funded by a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation and originally designed for 30 children ages 3, 4 and 5, “Reading with Leaders” has been wildly successful, reported Sister Pat McLennon from Neighbor to Neighbor. Two sessions have already been held, and the third is scheduled for this Friday — and there have been so many calls to register that the sisters at the downtown center are almost doubling the size. This week, in addition to Dr. Bonnie Cramer reading “The Velveteen Rabbit” to 30 children in the upstairs playroom, Sister Ann Ashwood of Grand Junction, Colo., will be reading the same story to 20 children downstairs. And each of the 50 children will receive a copy of the book to take home. Funds for the additional books will come from a grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, Calif.

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski highlights one of several items on Wednesday’s busy agenda.

(The next Reading with Leaders session is Nov. 9 with Cheryl Lyn Higgins and Amy Lopliff reading “Harold and The Purple Crayon.” Reservations are required by calling Neighbor to Neighbor at 262-4215.)

• The workshop for board members of nonprofit organizations, which is set for Oct. 24.

The workshop will be presented by John W. Mize, a Salina attorney who has worked with nonprofit and tax exempt organizations for nearly 35 years, and will focus on his “Eight Principles of Effective Governance.”

The workshop is set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Motherhouse, and supper is included in the free presentation.

Registration is required before Oct. 19; call or email Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, at 243-2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org to reserve a spot.

• A special presentation on “Sex Trafficking and Exploitation,” with the founder of Veronica’s Voice in Kansas City. That is scheduled for 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Motherhouse, and the public is encouraged to attend.

The speaker will be Kristy Childs, who has been widely recognized for her efforts to end commercial sex trafficking and exploitation since starting her organization a dozen years ago.

Those planning to attend are asked call 243-2149 or email csjcenter@csjkansas.org.

• A special Soup Supper fundraiser also on Nov. 10, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event is offered by the Concordia Ministerial Alliance and will be held at the Concordia Lutheran Church, 325 E. Eighth St.

• Christmas Tree Lane, which this year will include 12 local organizations decorating trees for a silent auction. A ticket-only preview party is planned at the Motherhouse Nov. 30. Then the trees will be on display during the annual Christmas Open House on Saturday, Dec. 1. The winning bidders in the silent auction are announced at the end of the Open House, and all proceeds from both the events go directly to the participating organizations.

• The need for the Salvation Army “bell-ringers” to fund the Community Resource Center. Director Anita Strommen said that last year the local pre-Christmas bell-ringers brought in more than $3,000 to help people in Concordia. “And we need to do that again,” she said. “It’s the only way the Resource Center will be able to continue to do what we’ve done in the past.” Interested volunteers can check with Strommen at the Resource Center for more information.

The Community Needs Forum and its working lunches are a result of a process that started in the fall of 2008 with informal lunches with the Sisters of St. Joseph. In addition to identifying what participants see as the greatest needs in the community, the meetings have established smaller groups to seek solutions. The quarterly “working lunches” provide on an opportunity for updates on projects and a clearinghouse for new ideas.

The next working lunch will be Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013, and you do not have to have attended an earlier session to join the process now. If you want more information about the meetings, contact Sister Jean Rosemarynoski at 243-2113, ext 1225, or sisterjean@csjkansas.org.




One Response to “20th ‘working lunch’ has nearly that many agenda items”

  1. Loretta A. Jasper, csj on October 19th, 2012 6:19 am

    The forums have become very much like the mustard seed which has flourished into the tree, giving life and respite.

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