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Vida's Ark xx 020716

Feb 5, 2016|

AN INTERVIEW WITH JULIE HANKE, CO-FOUNDER OF VIDA’S ARK, AND DONNA COLOGNA, HOUSE PARENT, ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO WITH HELPING PARENTING AND PREGNANT TEENS.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is a microscope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program on your block some really like to introduce you to an organization in Vancouver called by this arc. My desire is doing everything they can tell teen mothers. I'd like to welcome Julie Hickey co-founder of by the circuit and Donna Cologne at your house parent has played has our welcome to metro school. Yeah I think it's a joy like you first get started with you listen to the co-founder vita Cirque first of all where did you get the name and what is what is Kirk. By this hour is named after. The woman who owns the house that we rent turning his abiding Anderson she is 93 years old. This was a family's home and we print them home from her. In her son who could. And that's for the name came from art is kind of like noah's arc shelter from lake storm the home is a home for. Opinion carotene teens who are coming from unsafe situations. Their families hit kicked in my notes. We've had girls sleeping in their car Ers domestic violence they come from all walks of life. Teenage due to a teenage mothers yes. Moved here in Vancouver Washington we're located strategically located across from Clark College in Hudson's bay high school. Hudson's bay high school hit as a teen parent program and there are. So the girls could attend high school during the day. They're required to take parenting classes and there's also a child development center for ages newborn Intel's three. So while the moms are in school their children are also and a child care said he. The moms spend one carried a day with their child. There is chill. Childhood education specialists there that work with the children with the moms so there it's really a beautiful partnership there. Buttons just perfect and now what you the am parenting coach that win but as our began. Know where how to push your connection with the parenting program act day. Kissinger case so. The story goes. Over fifteen years ago I was eighteen care case manager for the and a school district Vancouver school district. At that time there were a couple homes that the girls can go live bet one had moved out to the country on hot consent and the girls couldn't come to the teen parent program. And one they could stay out while they were pregnant. And then they had the lead after they had the Childs. So as one homeless girl became two and three. I could take called me 81 but when he came to two or three. My husband said nope we can only take wanted to tying to if it so sitting in my car when DA glanced over inside this home dead head bin. Completely abandoned every window was broken. And I found out who the owner was through a coworker. And and contacted them and ask them if they would be willing to rent the house so this was a house that have been in Vienna for two years. Had been broken into homeless people were living unit graffiti all over the place. And when I saw the inside of the house I seriously. Was thinking of needy extreme home make over more than -- house's domino will be as filters something new. And the only engine the owner son did not agree with that so he said he accounts and insurance money because. High school kids have broken in a flooded the basement and he said he could do some remodeling of the house and I said liking get some volunteers to paint. So we need an agreement on their rent for the house. And proceeded to fix up the house. So as owner volunteers said we resurrected in debt house within four months the house became show plays the house is eighty years old and it was gorgeous and has only original crown molding Harr wood floors. So the house accommodates four girls and four children each girl has a room for them their child. And then Donna has her own room downstairs in her own bathrooms in the house is five bedrooms and two and a half past. So WU how spirited used so that means you live at the house. Yes I'm going on my second year as house parent at fighters are. And I kind of Brenda. Show so to speak make sure that everybody's on task and do their job and I also have a separate job but. I lived there right in there pretty much every single day and I cycled away for a weekend or. Ticket trip or something but most of the time I'm I'm there. Tell me about a typical day advisors work. On a typical day hiatus. The girls will get up and and begin their activities we we insist they're up. By 9 AM or one hour before any appointment. So if somebody asked at school say for example at 730. You have to be up at 630. And out the door and they will take their child. With them generally. And either take that child day care so that they are going to work or work activities. Or go to school. And then I get up and I go to work and when I come home. It it's it's somebody's turn to do a certain tour for example. Thursday night was summer's night cup so she would cook on Thursday. And I would make sure that she had any support she needed quit when we first started sometimes girls don't know how to. Sometimes they don't know how to rent a vacuum cleaners they don't know how to clean a toy that they don't know how they've never been hot sometimes. Sometimes that there essentially children kids very well yes of their you know their abilities are. Our Mary yes they have and they come in at certain points in times. Maybe they did learn to cut but they never learn to clean because mom all the cleaning our. Maybe you learn to clean that mom said no one making dinner and they never learn how to cook or maybe they have raised themselves are a lot of our kids these days are raising themselves. There ratings themselves and their game their Brothers and sisters ready for school. And there are taking care of you know the new babies and sometimes that means they can't even get to school also quite as our can be a real refuge for some really. And then make sure that all the tourists get it done make sure every. All of you with their appointments and things like that. And sometimes we will sit down at the table and play game of skit below or we'll do a craft or something. It's just in depending on what. What day it is and what time of the year is sometimes we're making baking cookies or. Sometimes we are making cards for people who have been kind to us and there are so many lovely people who are just kind to us. So we have a a lot of things that we do. Tell me about the books in general terms to me about the girls at that come to my does work. The girl come devices are. If you can be anywhere from. Twelve years old. To nineteen years old. It is a place for teen mothers. So. They can have had a child can be pregnant with a child. And there are a lot of things that with a very young girl that can be very difficult for her. Number one it be very difficult to be away from your mother. It can be very difficult to be. To be a student and them either. And to not be ready. For high school let alone a child. You now at the age twelve or thirteen. And to not be prepared to. To really raise. This child. And those girls can be or they can come in with you know they've been. Pretty much on the ground and they feel very confident yet there's a gap in the understanding in the knowledge that they have. They may know many things but then not. No I have very common sense to know you don't but Greece down the drain when you're cooking hamburger about the there's a lot of that they they can be missing. From another you know those are simple things but. We really we really do rely on a lot. Just a village of people who help us you know make sure that they're they get some counseling make sure they have people who'll listen to them. People who will help them be able to raise her child nurse family partnership is a wonderful wonderful. Group of ladies who comment. And talk to the girls about their babies in about. What it's gonna be like to have a baby. So that they don't you know get. Scared to death enough and it's exciting to watch a young girl. Come in and not know how to make something and then be able to produces a beautiful meals or. Be able to successfully raise your child be it be a mom and be treating your child with. That loving care that you expect to mom to be able to traders the very exciting to watch whom we love to watch the successes and it's not very rewarding for me. To be able to see those girls. Coming in basically whip. Limited skills or low self confidence and be able to see them walk out with a whole range of abilities and eat very confident in who. They are. Can a girl be there for two years at a time. We have had. One girl there for five years she was pregnant and being raised by her grandparents and moved in at fourteen because they head. A prior granddaughter that they had raised it was a teen mom they said they couldn't do it so she was there for five years. She was in high school she did a program called a running start of the community college for two years. As she graduated high is on the continued up CUNY college and she is now worked teen in her son is in kindergarten this year. So they do stay on time. One thing I want it is C. Clearly that by it is our is a program and it's not for everybody we have a very intensive. Application process. In an interview process. We know that we can't save everybody. The girls that we taking a bite is our have to be very motivated to want to. Then and power themselves and make a better life for themselves and their children. They have curfew loose that they're not used to they have rules are not used to they have chore is they're not used to they have. Cooking nutritious meals that there are not used to sitting down at the dinner table. Being part of a family having it's it's a home it's not a shelter it is a home. So the girls so we be. Invite in to live up by his arc. Are part of a Stanley part of a community they have their own families that they can go visit twice a month and spend the night if it's safe. And they have their bite is our community they have their school community and they have. There are partnerships in the community either required to do counseling. And they might try to son at the desk part of the program. They're required to be in some educational program for job search pro limit they've completed their ged. Or high school diploma. There are encouraged to continue their education by going to community college or vocational program. But it's it's it's not just on an eye and you we have a whole community that is supporting by it is our. To wanting to make these girl successful and supporting their children. So the children of the next generation. And we keep saying to them. Lance Armstrong's mother had him at seventeen you don't know what wonderful thing is your child is gonna do so let's encourage them. They air encouraged to get their children in bed by 8 o'clock. There are encouraged to read to their children play with the children. We have a lot downtime for the telephones. That they can't be on their phones for a couple of hours they have to pay attention to the children. And what's going on in the house so it is a complete program. Sounds very structured. Very structured which is probably something these and some of these dual maybe didn't have an outside of violence or most of them have not had it took so and in fact we get a resident just come back. After she had left because she called us and said I need the structure. I missed the structure I know what's best for myself and my son is being in the structured environment and I need you so she came home well. All of this running by the circuit it I'm assuming it takes some money he got some some outside help cumin and favourites so we need. Have kept our budget as low as we can. And every dollar that we raise goes directly to the services of the girls were operating without a program director. So what we have done is we have had fund raisers. We have Britain's some grants we have people close calls and saved we wanna give you money but we can always use more now. So we really need is to some committed people to donate even when you're 25 dollars a month towards supporting your girl. The girls are required to pay some rent if they can through their temporary assistance to needy families. The use food stamps that they get to prepare one meal a week for the family to. And then on Sundays dominates the whole families that girls' families. The dads we won involve the dads if it's a healthy situation we encourage and dads to be there. When they can. So we can always do more we have volunteers that come and help work around the house they do maintenance on the house goes it's eighty year old house. We have people that debt coming due yard work that they would like we also operate something called the lighthouse community resource center. We were getting so don't so many donations eight years ago we started by his or begin to do with them. So we converted a detached garage into this community resource honor. And we get donations of clothing items up to age five for children. And diapers and whites and cribs and strollers and car seats. So what somebody any younger feeling in the community up to age 2425. Can come and volunteer their time. Every hour they volunteers worth ten dollars in merchandise so they volunteer. And then they can get items for their child and then what we've notices they come back when their child up grows the clothes and then the exchange him for bigger clothes but they've become part of our community and part of our family to. So there are benefiting from our program. Other items in the in the lighthouse where they've new items or they've. Kind of hand me down type things some gently worn items on diapers are always new. It OK I know I. And the clothing gently boring yes so we give people call us up and say we would like to donate could you use whatever. And if we can't use it we'll pass on to another organization in the community sure. Car seat no kid ever as the currency it's still probably in pretty good condition they can donated. To you guys are right how does somebody make a donation like that they give you cultivate. Just come to them totally know certain. A couple different ways of the finest on the website or they know about as they can give us a call at 693606953681. And and they can just dropping off on our interest as 1311 east reserve street right across from Hudson's bay high school could have. Two story White House it's gorgeous yeah. That's Olympics is on the website it's looks very nice. In a web site is by this arc dot org correct. Excellent so tell me how many families have you helped out so far is that you we started this in 2008 that's been. Credit fears now moved over 34 families. That's awesome and it's been great and some of the girls stay in touch most of them stay in touch. Because that's the family that they know that's right you've become the family that they know we tellem. You know just because you're leaving your doesn't mean we're not store your family right and oftentimes will get a call from one of the girls or shall say. Hey so and so my friend you know she really needs diapers can she come over to lighthouse and work a couple of hours absolutely and we we hook those girls up to so everybody in your family if your part of my desire. You're part of our family room. And everybody you know so evenly girl's friends will come over and who participate in some of the activities that we very very fun to watch. And we also. Welcome student interns if they're going to college and they need an intern ship somewhere it's a great way to start get a feel for. Organization the community especially if you have a heart for premium parenting teens. Tell me about where the the typical situation for a girl that comes to be really where's she coming from. Many different areas and when I was working in the high school as a teen carrying case manager a lot of the girls were referred through my cases. Because I would know the girl and they would build a family situation. So. Say for instance the girl was living with an alcoholic parent. And she couldn't focus on. Getting her education because the mother would come home drunk and she was responsible for watching her siblings. So. She would come to me really try to work with the parent to say okay. You know it's a really her goal to graduate. And these are some of the obstacles she's had being. And not if the parent was not willing to work with her cooperate. And she may see can I apply to buy designer and then my B situation. So the goal we first started by desire was to make sure that the girls after high school education the first year we opened we graduated three girls from high school that lived in the house. And we just continue. Now we're seeing more girls went into quantum vocational schools and go to Clark College which we encouraged to. Education is so key to success wouldn't risk. Right and we have like one of our girls are one of our very first residents went to cosmetology school social come back and cut the kids hairs and cut the girls hairs and it's so much fun that's that's really think. Typical American do the services rules until recent success stories of some girls that have gone through by the clerk and have continued on. They we have quite if she did go into the child care field it's really interesting I think because they started out as young moms. And they struggled so much that they learned so much. And I need to see girls and their like parking and child care centers we have girls are medical assistance we have quite a few as CNA east. Some working with people with disabilities. And they're doing just great. Conflict you have a houseful of helpers now. Yeah I thought I thought well you it's it's kind of like they have to grow and mature I mean we have the girls might complain about paying rent but we go. Well the site your parents' house working to lift for free. And you realize the cost up electricity. And toilet paper and paper towels. And heats. And with so we talked we talk to them about budgeting and what it's gonna be like when they move out on their own they're just gonna be we have one of our former residents come back and say. Let me tell you what it's like it's not fun to be an adult. Yahoo! chat following it to pay rent every month and worry about car insurance and gas and there were close learning some real life skills although there yes that's yes which is something that's not taught in the schools anymore. Yeah it's really home reckon things like that right up part of school in the market. Right how consumer listeners help out my as Kirk. Two good good refers to help out like you said before we can always use some like monthly sponsors. To. We do have a they and helped pay help pay for gas for the day and I gift cards. It was yeah last year when the statistics came out we realized. For 250 dollars a month a person could support the fight is in making Sammy dinner for Sunday night. We're we feel whole group of people. 490. Dollars a month you can pay for Internet. For a girl who is gonna be. Doing the job search is on line who is going to be. Doing online schooling sometimes. And it needs a place to sit down and do her wrestle mania or do research for school. Four. I think it's it's I think it's. 16100 dollars a month covers all of our costs. For the house. Meaning you know attraction at water and all that everything brits in utilities all of that so there's a lot of ways I mean. But then to you know there's also the upcoming events that we're gonna be happy. Including this. Coming next month march 18 from six to nine. At boomerang. Which is a consignment type shop but it's also wolf whirlwind BC nonprofit. So if somebody has may be a beautiful. Upscale. Dining. Room table set that they don't need it but they're it's just feel sick about taking it to goodwill because it's so nice and they could donated. In the name of my desire and then half of the money that we would be that would come from the sale goes directly to us. It would be the money that normally that would be there consignment. Money. Or you know even just are hurt or jewelry he or any of those things there's a whole list of stuff on there website if you go to. Boomer rings copy it said thank over Washington on main street he go to if you Google that you'll find a whole list of fun stuff that they liked a and also we're having an our annual sixth annual T. May eighth it's a fund raiser. We are going to have some raffle iTunes and then you would have an opportunity to sit down with Julian I. And some of the girls there will be there and they're babies and we're going to have just a wonderful speaker and a great time of delicious heat. And you'd be able to. Sit at the table and we get to hear about your life and we can share our lives and you become a part of our family. And one of our fight is their heroes so we would like to invite everybody to counter that. That information will be on our website very soon along with the brewer spoke boring event. Make sure we get that this. It's possible the early early great great things that often. And we always are welcoming volunteers to come in and spend a couple hours with the girls share their story we just hang out with some into slope on them. And I'll let you said before working around the house sorting baby clothes in the light house and just just being part of our community. That's really wonderful no wind is the big family dinners typically on a Sunday and yes just like the traditional friendly absolutely. One of the best places to learn is right around the kitchen table dining room table. So if you word. If you say for example you notice that somebody's not feeling. Happy in that particular day one of the great questions to ask is. Ultimate highs and lows everybody bush kinda day you can get it up the open they can talk about it. That you talk about how they feel what was your little Ole hole that's a bummer. You know really in just. Support each other around the table. And do you know things happen particular events sometimes we talk about those. What does it mean you know what is something that happened that that they didn't understand. For example. And to be able to encourage them because. Everybody's afraid when bad things happen now but how do you comfort your child when they know something is going line nimble the national of these would have been not understand it. How'd you come for your child and how do you respond in situations like. It's important for them to see somebody who is not freaked out. But says yes this happened but we're still OK. With this is our family. We're we're going to be fine. And that's a good model for them because they need to do that with their own childhood. So these are the things that we learned around the table it and we learned about each other every third. How funny can be and we learn how. Important it is. You can't seem like Eagles are just doing amazing work quite as dark and it's been so great to have you went in and talk about it thanks for letting me know letting all listeners know exactly what my America's. They care so much that was Julie hanky co-founder of vita saarc and Donna Colonna house parents also advises are. Get more information at their website by his arc dot org. Microscope is an Entercom radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks of if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like to let others know about. You can email me. My email address is microscope at inter com dot com remember to enter com extra to than eat and you can always go to this station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. If you'd like to hear this program again you can visit our website at microscope PDX dot com thanks for listening to microscope and enjoy the rest of your weekend.