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Phil Owen, director of SIDEWALK , a program of Interfaith Works whose mission is to eliminate homelessness in Thurston County was the speaker at the February 3, 2014, meeting of the Olympia Kiwanis Club.


Homelessness is down 17% in the US, since 2007.  In 2013, SIDEWALK placed 170 individuals in housing.  By using rapid rehousing to end homelessness - a rental assistance program that combines continued case management with rent support - the cycle of homelessness can be broken.  SIDEWALK is run almost entirely by volunteers, who receive 50 hours of training before they begin their volunteer activities.  For more information, contact:  www.walkthurston.org or call 360-515-5587.  Volunteer training happens every quarter.  

Jan B
  Posted on: Monday, June 1, 2015
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Community Youth Services Executive Director

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Charles Shelan
Charles Shelan

Charles Shelan, a Past President and longtime (34 years) member of the Olympia Kiwanis Club spoke at the June 1, 2015 club meeting. Charles will be retiring the end of July from Community Youth Services after a 36 year career there as their Executive Director.

Originally called the Thurston Youth Services Society, there was confusion that this was the “correctional” institution for youth in Thurston County. Once the name was changed to Community Youth Services – AKA CYS - this private, non profit organization was able to continue it’s mission to work across the continuum of care for children youth and families.

Charles remembers a bumpy, but productive, career with CYS. He started with 4 staff and an $80,000 annual budget. There are now 125 staff, 90 volunteers and a $10 million dollar annual budget that serves 3,000+ youth and families each year. He has move the organization through 6 different buildings / locales.

One of the lessons learned is that long, harsh sentences are counter productive to changing behavior. Locking children up does not have a good outcome. Our society is imperfect and we need to make tomorrow better than today. Most youth and families served today are victims of poverty, abuse, and/or neglect.

Don’t retire, rewire for something new!

For more information about CYS, check out their website at:  www.communityyouthservices.org

Jan B.

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