Oakmont Kiwanis honor Valley of the Moon Children’s Home
By Beverly Singer
Kiwanis has been around for 107 years doing projects to benefit children, helping to support schools, playgrounds, libraries, and way too many other projects to mention.
One local organization that the Oakmont Kiwanis Club helps support is the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home. The speaker at our recent breakfast meeting was Meg Easter-Dawson, MSW, program development manager at the center, which serves families, youth, and children as part of the Sonoma County Department of Human Services.
I asked Meg for information I could write about, so I quote from an article she provided: “For the past 50 years Sonoma County has been committed to providing emergency shelter and care to the most vulnerable youth in the community. Youth [who] have been abused, neglected, or abandoned have a safe place to stay with services to meet their varied needs, while their families navigate the foster care system.”
“Originally operated by the Juvenile Probation Dependency Unit, oversight and the administration of the shelter was transferred to the Human Services Department in 1991. Since then, the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home has served youth at the Los Guilicos campus under direction of the Family, Youth, and Children’s Services Division.”
“In 2016, California Assembly Bill 403 put into place a major foster care reform called Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). CCR has involved a restructuring of California’s foster care system to increase the accessibility of family homes for youth while they are in the foster care system and provide permanency for them. The law envisions that all children will live with committed, permanent, nurturing families as opposed to living in institutional settings.”
There is much more detailed information about how this plan is being applied, but at our meeting Easter-Dawson told us about future changes at Valley of the Moon Children’s Home. Plans call for two units at the center: one a short-term emergency placement unit and the other a treatment unit where children in need of more therapy can stay for a longer period of time.
More from the report: “Valley of the Moon Children’s Home is uniquely positioned to support the array of placement options youth may need. The center includes both the temporary shelter care facility as well as the caregiver resource unit, which is comprised of resource family recruitment, ongoing caregiver support, resource family approval, and the transition support unit, which facilitates child and family team meetings for youth on site and coordinates their next placement to a resource home or higher level of care, if needed.”
At the end of Easter-Dawson’s talk, Kiwanis Club members presented her with a large box of colorful flip-flops, sidewalk chalk, activity books, and art supplies for the children. The club always donates two children’s books, in the speaker’s name, to the Luther Burbank Elementary School library.
In addition to projects that help children, clubs are also involved in activities that help communities. For example, locally, the next Shred-A-Thon, held in Oakmont, will be Friday, June 11, from 9 a.m. to noon. Come early or the truck might be filled, and you’ll have missed your chance to shred all those records you have accumulated.
The Shred-A-Thon has become an unexpected fundraiser for the club. People who knew that we support local high school students with college scholarships began giving the club money, and now it has grown to become a worthwhile source of income to support us in our efforts with children.
Why don’t you consider joining us in our fun services? Kiwanis members live all over Sonoma County, not just in Oakmont. Contact Fran Lazzarini at [email protected] or by calling (928) 202-1105 for more information.
Reach Easter-Dawson of Valley of the Moon Children’s Home at [email protected] or by calling (707) 565-8383.