TOGETHER! We Rise

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What can we do together to advance the health and well-being of all young people in our region? Visit TOGETHER!’s blog to enjoy updates on our work and information on issues concerning families and young people.


All About Rural Transit

Did you know that TOGETHER! was a partner in making transportation accessible in rural areas of our region? Alongside Intercity Transit and Thurston Regional Planning Council, we support Rural Transit, which connects the communities of Rochester, Tenino, Bucoda, Rainier and Yelm, and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation to the greater tri-city area of Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey. Rural Transit connects to Twin Transit in Lewis County and Intercity Transit in Thurston County.

As of June 4th, Rural Transit offers more mid-day trip on Routes 3 and 4 to Chehalis Tribal Center and Centralia, as well as direct, no transfer trips to Centralia for veterans. Rides cost $1 each way and are free for veterans, active duty military and children under 5 years old. Rural Transit also accepts passes from Intercity Transit, Twin Transit, ORCA and STAR.

Access to services is a necessary part of advancing the health and wellbeing of all young people, and many youth and families in our area depend on public transportation in order to access education, healthcare, employment and social services. We are proud to be able to support this partnership with other organizations in our area.

If you'd like to know more or help us spread the word, please email info@thurstontogether.org with any questions, comments or suggestions, or to request fliers and schedules for your community or place of business.


Intercultural Foundations Work Continues!

TOGETHER! is excited to be moving into the next phase of our partnership work with YWCA of Olympia's Intercultural Foundations program. Since October 2016, TOGETHER! and Intercultural Foundations have been working together to assess and improve our individual and organizational capacities for building inclusion and equity in our community. This coming phase will consist of reviewing our policies, procedures and organizational structure with our Board of Directors and the Intercultural Foundations team and making revisions as needed to ensure alignment with our values of equity, mobilization and systems change.

from YWCA of Olympia:

"The Intercultural Foundations program of the YWCA of Olympia is built on the belief that if we invest in tools to build intercultural competence, we invest in a better world for all. We consult with local organizations to assess and improve their culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, at both the individual and institutional levels. By providing leaders in our community with the necessary tools to work across cultural differences, we create space for the perspectives of folks who are most impacted by marginalization to be centered and heard.

The Intercultural Foundations team is thankful to have had TOGETHER! as one of our first project partners. With this group, we have created a space to probe the depths of our socialization, revealing how implicit bias and internalized oppression impact our ability to make change in the community in an effective and equitable way. The commitment of TOGETHER!’s leadership to the process of deep internal assessment and structural change has been crucial to the program’s success, and serves as a model for our future projects."

We feel the same way! Thank you, Intercultural Foundations, for your guidance and support through this transformative process. Your service to our community is truly invaluable.


Awards of Excellence Returns on May 19th, 2018

TOGETHER!’s annual Awards of Excellence is an opportunity to honor those youth whose grace and strength shine through the stories of success they share with us. In the last two years since the event’s return, we’ve awarded youth who have balanced their academic and career goals with family responsibilities and personal circumstances. Awards of Excellence honorees parent young children; support friends, family members, and themselves through addiction or mental health issues; and respond to injustice in their community by bringing people together to heal and take action.

These young people are exceptional not only because of their accomplishments, but because of the often-unseen challenges that they have met and struggled through on the way. Whether they face barriers due to their race, class, gender, ability, immigration status, system involvement or family structure, what Awards of Excellence honorees have in common is the resilience that defines their leadership.   

Two awards will be granted based on the theme of “Service Above Self.” These will be awarded to youth who have shown leadership in service to their families and communities. Too often, acts of service that occur outside of traditional volunteer opportunities can be overlooked for recognition. We ask our nominators to look for those students who perform acts of service in their immediate communities, supporting their peers and family members, whether or not they have the time and resources to volunteer in traditional ways.

We’d like to thank Gateway Rotary for being the Presenting Sponsor of this event for the third year in a row. We are proud to continue this tradition for another year and to provide the recognition of achievement that is so vital to the continued success of our youth.

If you know a young person who you think qualifies for this award, you can nominate them here. The survey will close on March 31st, 2018.


Our partners at Tumwater School District are deepening their equity and inclusion work after a racist incident that occurred at a Veteran’s Day assembly.

By now, many of you are probably aware of the controversy that surrounded George Washington Bush Middle School’s Veteran’s Day assembly on Thursday, November 9th. At the assembly, a Confederate flag was displayed as part of a program featuring the chronological history of American flags from 1775 to the present.

Bush Middle School is one of the schools in Tumwater served by TOGETHER!’s Community Schools program. TOGETHER! holds equity as a core value in all of our work. Racism is a barrier to the success of our children and, as such, fighting against systemic racism is necessary to our mission of advancing the health and well-being of all young people.

The Confederate flag was never an official flag of the United States of America. Rather, it represents a movement within this country that continues, to this day, to threaten the safety of communities of color.  We agree with the district’s position that its inclusion in the assembly was historically inaccurate as well as deeply insensitive.

This incident shines a light on the importance of addressing systemic racism, not only for Tumwater Schools, but for our entire community.  The precipice of change in which we find ourselves compels us to focus on collaboration work that is focused on solutions with all of our partners. TOGETHER!’s role within the district has been and will continue to be a supportive one. Through extensive conversation with district leadership, we are deepening our collaborative partnership to support their growth towards providing a truly safe, inclusive, and equitable learning environment.

We do not expect this change to take place immediately or without difficulty. Our commitment to the district and the community is that we will continue doing the work that is so important to us, ensuring that all students have an equal chance to succeed in school and in life.

 

Sincerely,

Meagan Darrow & Meghan Sullivan Goldenberger


Thank You for Giving Local!

This month, TOGETHER! participated in the first ever Give Local online giving campaign, and we are amazed by the results! Fifty of you donated to our campaign, raising $3,550 to support the expansion of Community Schools into Rochester and Yelm. Your support helps us create more school-based Community Resource Centers, connect more students and families with needed resources, and build more supportive communities for all our young people. Thank you! We can't do this work without you.

We'd also like to thank the Community Foundation for coordinating Give Local; Coldwell Banker, Greene Realty, and Olympia Federal Savings for sponsoring the campaign; South Sound Partners for Philanthropy for sponsoring Giving Bonus Wednesdays; and the Dawkins Charitable Trust for providing a matching grant, ensuring that your donations will go even further. 

These funds will support programs like Right From the Start, which coordinates story times and play groups for children ages 0-5 while coordinating resources for their families, and Yelm Community Schools, which connects middle school students and their families in Yelm to networks of support to ensure they have everything they need to succeed in school. All of our Community Schools programs share, at their core, our values of equity, community mobilization, and systems change. We believe that all students deserve an equal chance to succeed in school and in life, and we are committed to building systems that work for everyone. But we can't do it alone -- your support means so much. Thank you for being a part of our community!


Right from the Start Joins TOGETHER!'s Family of Programs

TOGETHER! is thrilled to welcome Right from the Start, and early learning center that serves families with children ages 0-5 in Rochester, WA, to our family of programs. Right from the Start, previously overseen by The United Way of Thurston County, engages whole families and communities with educational opportunities for parents as well as children, family engagement and community building events, Parents as Teachers group connections, and referrals to community resources.

Services like weekly story times, play groups, and parenting classes welcome families to the center and allow Nancy Villanueva, program coordinator, the opportunity to assess need and coordinate services for families. Every family that attends a Right from the Start program gets connected to a supportive community where they can access support and resources they might not have known were available. 

Family engagement and community partnerships are the cornerstone of TOGETHER!’s work for youth, so Right from the Start is a perfect fit with our organization. Access to high-quality early learning is crucial for ensuring that students are ready for kindergarten, setting them up for success through the rest of their K-12 years. Right from the Start not only makes early learning accessible, but provides comprehensive services that support the whole child and whole family. It’s the kind of work that TOGETHER! is proud to partner on, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to do this work in Rochester.


Support Community Schools through Give Local

TOGETHER! is thrilled to announce our participation in the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound's Give Local campaign! 

Give Local is an opportunity for the community to support the rural expansion of TOGETHER!'s Community Schools initiative, and with Give Local, your support goes even further thanks to a generous matching grant by the Dawkins Charitable Trust.

To view and support TOGETHER!'s campaign, visit our campaign page. You can support us by donating, liking, sharing the campaign, commenting on our social media posts, and telling your friends! If you wish to share the campaign with your networks, you can sign up as a Champion under the "Champions" tab. Learn more about what you can do as a Champion by reading this Champion Guide.

All proceeds from the campaign will support the expansion of Community Schools programming in Yelm and Rochester through Yelm Community Schools and Right From the Start. You can help make sure that all kids in Thurston County have the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life! Thank you for your support.


Celebrate TOGETHER! on #GivingTuesday

This holiday season, let’s Celebrate TOGETHER! All year round, we offer programs and services that enrich our community by caring for some of our most vulnerable members: our children. TOGETHER! works across sectors to advance the health and well-being of all young people through impactful youth development, health promotion, community engagement, and family support programs. But you already know that – if you’re reading this, that means you’ve made it to our website, probably through our newsletter or social media accounts, meaning you’re already a supporter of our organization, either as a donor, a volunteer, or just a friendly community member. Thank you for coming this far with us.

No one is quite sure what the future holds. 2018 bears the promise of new projects and partnerships that will serve our community in ways sorely needed, but also new challenges, some of which we can’t foresee. All we know is that we want to be there to support those youth and families who need us, the ones we already know and the ones who are yet beyond our reach. We want to be there for our community and help that community grow, no matter what happens.

With every backpack we give to a child before their first day of school, with every connection made between a student and a staff member they can trust, with every day that kids have somewhere safe, fun, and supportive to go after school, our community becomes a little bit stronger, a little richer, and a little more equitable. Every student should have an equal chance to succeed in school and in life. Our work is to make sure they do.

During this season of giving, you have the chance to be a part of that work. It all starts on #GivingTuesday, the day when we take a break from the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and give something back. We hope that you will consider TOGETHER! on this day, and help us reach our goal of raising $5,000 to kick off our year-end campaign!

CS Lewis wrote, “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Click here to help us dream the dream of a world where all young people are supported, healthy, safe and valued.


IDEA Group Works to Address Systems of Oppression in TOGETHER!

With the adoption of TOGETHER!’s core values of equity, community mobilization, and systems change, we launched an exciting new branch of our work that concerns addressing the systems of oppression that impact our agency, our program participants, and our world. Through a partnership with the YWCA of Olympia’s Intercultural Foundations program, we have begun assessing and working to improve our intercultural competency through trainings and other educational opportunities for our staff. To guide this work, we formed the IDEA Group, to nurture and lead TOGETHER! to examine and address systems of oppression both inside and outside of TOGETHER! This work is essential to equitably advance the health, wellbeing, and success of all young people.

In the last year, IDEA Group has coordinated several film screenings, lunchtime discussions, and special projects within our staff. Moving into the future, we hope to deepen and expand this work by making necessary changes to policy and program where we find that we have not been adequately addressing the systems of oppression that impact our organization and the families we serve. To learn more about the history and mission of IDEA Group, what we mean by “systems of oppression,” and why this work is crucial to our mission, please visit the IDEA page here.


Early Bird Conference Rate Extended to April 10!

Early Bird Registration Has Been Extended to April 10, 2017!

 

Early Bird Full Conference Rate (April 24-27, 2017) - ECPG Member and previous Together Conference attendees $300, Non-Member $350, Student $250

 

Early Bird Two Day Conference Rate (April 24-25/April 25-26/April 26-27, 2017) - ECPG Member and previous Together Conference attendees $150, Non-Member $175, Student $125

 

To register for the conference, please visit our website at focusonthefuture.evergreencpg.org.

 

Registration

Please complete your registration by April 20, 2017. Early Bird registration deadline is April 10, 2017.

Online registration is available here, or you can download a fillable registration form  to send by mail or fax. 

 

Hotel

Hotel RL

2300 Evergreen Park Drive
Olympia, WA 98502


Guest room rates:

$99 Single/Double (plus taxes)
Special rate is good for April 23-28
Registration deadline: April 10
Complimentary Parking


Reservations:

Call 1.800.733.5466 or head over to the  online hotel reservation portal.
When making reservations, identify yourself as a Focus on the Future - TOGETHER! attendee. 

Have questions? Please contact:

Johnna Knoerr, Program Director

TOGETHER!

JKnoerr@thurstonTOGETHER.org360-493-2230 ext. 110