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.