By Christopher Oak Reinier

At the September WCCS all-staff meeting, Christy Davila LMFT, Director of Counseling, described the Teen Diversion Program she manages. The program, funded by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, offers teen offenders the opportunity to attend interactive sessions with their parents instead of spending time in Juvenile Hall or doing some other kind of requital.

Three to six families meet every Wednesday evening for six weeks. For an hour and a half, parents and teens attend different but related classes about communication skills, discipline strategies, taking responsibility for actions, fair “fighting” rules, etc. After the classes, they meet together to discuss what they have learned, what they are good at, what they need to work on, how to apply what they’ve learned to their lives.

The program has been very successful. Last year, a survey of participants found that after six months, participants had only a two percent re-offending rate.

In other matters, Danielle, WCCS Housing Director, related that she is interviewing applicants for case-manager in Rapid Rehousing, a County-wide program focused on finding housing for the homeless.  She is also seeking applicants for a half-time housing locator for the same program. Housing units in Park Village in Sebastopol are being readied for occupants. Two new units are to be occupied by chronically homeless individuals in October.

Paulette and Brady, WCCS managers at the Park Village, in tandem with the non-profit Daily Acts group, hosted a Day of Caring. Fifteen people spent a day cleaning and improving the landscape at the Village, installing drip irrigation and planting fruit trees. Paulette has developed children’s activities which about fourteen of the kids who live in the Village attended by the end of the summer.

Tim, WCCS Executive Director, thanked the staff for the extra effort it took to move back into permanent offices in the Bank of America Building. He notified the staff that he is scheduling public meetings to get public response to the possibility the Board of Supervisors will vote to lend WCCS funds to purchase a home on Old Cazadero Road to house 5 chronically homeless individuals.

Miller, Activity Director at the WCCS Empowerment Center (EC), reported the EC’s Art Show will open at Coffee Bazaar, November 3rd, on the evening of the monthly Art Walk in town.  EC Members will be showing 20 paintings there, with other pieces being displayed at the EC through November.

Valerie, the EC Manager, expressed appreciation for the training the EC staff is receiving from Kalia Mussetter, of Living Bridges. Kalia volunteers her expertise in “peer service” to help the staff communicate effectively, hold boundaries, and provide appropriate support for members of the Center.

Jannette, Senior Case Manager at the WCCS Senior Center, when asked what she thought was the Senior’s greatest need, related that the need for emotional support is the major reason seniors need the services she and the Senior Center offer. Many Seniors in our area can become very isolated.

Emily, WCCS Director of Operations, reported the “Give-Back” event at the Cattle Company to benefit the Senior Center was one of the most successful yet. She also related that the Senior Center has received a County grant for shuttle transportation three days a week from the Senior Center to Santa Rosa for medical appointments and shopping.

In addition to the adult art class already offered by the Santa Rosa Junior College, the College will be offering a Memoir writing class and a computer class at the Senior Center.

Jennifer, WCCS Youth Employment Officer, reported the successful job placement of an at-risk youth, and tentative placement of another.

Roger, a media consultant to WCCS, described his role in helping WCCS get its story out to the community, informing the West County of the wide range of services performed by the agency.