Focus on children
Around 50 people gathered at the Ackerman School library on Jan. 23 to discuss what young people in Canby need in the way of support and services.
"We're here to identify needs, care and concerns for kids in Canby," said Tony Crawford, president of Canby's Kiwanis Club in his introduction. Crawford and his wife, Betty, came up with the Summit idea and Kiwanis sponsored the meeting. Also providing support to the Summit are the Canby School District and the city itself. Both Trip Goodall, superintendent of Canby School District, and Mayor Brian Hodson noted this is an important step for the city.
Canby does very well with its children, added Goodall, but indicated they still won't all grow up without some sort of trauma; they aren't going to grow up perfectly.
The hope is to develop a coalition to connect people and resources to provide support and services to address children's needs from pre-school age through high school. They have started to collect services and programs for Canby kids to put into a catalogue and distribute to parents. This too will cover children from even before pre-school through high school with lists of groups that offer activities, like Canby Swim Center and help with various services, like food banks or Love INC of Clackamas County with family and individual needs.
These will be bound together with their phone numbers and emails to help parents and children know where they can go to get help or maybe just to have fun. This was done to ensure that all sources for children are available. One group several attendees noted was not on the list was 4H, in which many area children participate and gives them responsibility. Also not on the list were children.
In the short term, the catalogue is one goal, while the other two include networking to bring other organizations into the new organization, and development of a children's survey to determine what children feel they need. The long term objectives are to work the group into a Coalition and provide ongoing support to that coalition.
Participants divided into small groups and were given several questions to answer: current strengths and programs; greatest needs; questions for the children's survey. After spending a specific time period on each question, their responses were read aloud, showing some similarities, but at the same time differences.
Among the strengths are Canby's current programs offered to kids including free and reduced lunch, being responsive to children's needs, scholarships for college and suicide prevention. But there still are needs that must be responded to; these may include mental health services for all ages, communication other than on phones, responding to homelessness, poverty and hunger, affordable housing and programs before and after school as well as youth sports, school clubs like for chess and drama and music and art.
And, finally questions for the children's survey included types of mentoring for parents and kids; how available are drugs and alcohol to you and your friends; have you or do you think about suicide; would you like to attend an activity center; do you have a best friend or a group of friends; do you know that CAT offers bus passes to students; connections between students and help; do you play sports; are there any pick-up games.
Other ideas improving communication programs, low-cost drop in child care, scholarships for kids interested but can't afford to play sports. There will be multiple opportunities to take the survey, including multiple languages, on-line and in social media, and various opportunities to administer the survey, which will be anonymous.
The next meeting is likely to be in May. Before that those in charge will have two days starting Feb. 1 to summarize the meeting.
—Feb. 1 to March 1: develop the survey;
—March 1 to March 20: give out the surveys and decide how to incentivize;
—April 1 to April 20; data analysis;
—May 1 to May 20; review data and discuss the next steps.