April 2015 minutes

P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662  April 14, 2015
The meeting was held in Bristol Hall of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church beginning at 12:00 noon.

WELCOME: The meeting was called to order and conducted by EISCC President Diane Richards.
OPENING REFLECTION: Susan Morrisson provided the opening prayer from the Tao Te Ching.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 20 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the March 10, 2015, meeting were approved as submitted.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting and no report was offered.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Jan Starr, Hank Myers, Susan Morrisson, and Warren Marquardson for providing the day’s refreshments.  Sandy Lewis reported that we still needed a dessert for May and had only veggies so far for June.  She urged us to sign up as the list was passed.

Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs was not present and there was no report .

Backpack Meals: Jan Starr reported that they are providing 120 to 140 backpacks with meals each week.  Lifespring has been providing some food recently.  She noted that some family services were at risk in the new Bellevue budget currently under consideration.  She thanked congregations and individual donors for their support and reminded us that Backpack Meals will be a part of the GiveBig event on May 5.  Donations can also be made through their website atwww.backpackmeals.org. A question was asked about the relationship of our Backpack Meals program with other such programs in communities elsewhere.  She indicated that our program is not allied with other such programs.

Legislative Coordinator:  Jean Harris was not present, and we did not get a formal legislative report.  Diane reminded anyone interested in the progress of bills in the legislature that they can go to the Faith Action Network website atfanwa.org to find out the status of any pending state legislation.  Diane also read the letter that we had received from the City of Bellevue in response to the letter which we sent them related to the encampment issue.  State legislation related to encampments is still making its way through the legislature.

Bellevue Youth Theatre:  James McClain reported on this program, which is run by the Bellevue Parks and Community Services Department.  The theater has recently occupied its new home near the Crossroads Community Center. Participation in theater productions is open to all Bellevue residents at no cost.  Non-residents may also participate, but must pay a nominal fee to do so.  Roughly 75% of participants are Bellevue residents.  Everyone that wishes to participate will get a part.  There is a charge for viewing theater productions – currently in the range of $5 to $12 per person.  For ticket information, call 425-452-7155.

Begun in 1970, the program has grown into one of their most popular programs.  In 2014, they presented 10 productions with an average cast size of 50 and provided 8 weeks of summer and school-break day camps with maximum registration of 50 youth per week.  282 volunteers contributed 8,640 volunteer hours.  Almost 7,000 audience members viewed the productions.

The theater intends to be a youth development program that uses theater productions as a means to develop self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills.  They serve children and youth ages 5 and up, with a focus on middle school and high school teens.  Other community members including parents, older adults, and persons living with disabilities also perform and volunteer in the program.  The theater provides opportunities in the performing arts for all young people regardless of income or ability and allows the young people to perform before a live audience.  They also strive to provide the community with quality productions which are both entertaining and socially relevant for the entire family.

Poverty Simulations:  Samantha Kunkel spoke of her recent participation in a poverty simulation which was offered by the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry.  The simulations take approximately 2 to 3 hours.  Each participant is given a role – as a person at risk, a child at risk, a service provider, etc..  The individuals at risk had to navigate the challenges of finding adequate food and housing, health care, transportation, and other services with the providers of those services.  It soon became clear how impossible the task can sometimes be.  Reflections afterward allowed the participants to consider what needs to happen in the community to address some of these problems. Some action steps for dealing with the systemic nature of some of these problems within the legislative process were also discussed.  These simulations are highly recommended!

For information on simulations offered by Seattle University, look at the upcoming events at  http://faithandfamilyhomelessness.com/ .  For more information or to schedule your own poverty simulation, contact Lisa Gustaveson, Program Manager, Faith & Family Homelessness Project, at 206-296-2657 or by e-mail at gustavel@seattleu.edu .

Hopelink also offers poverty simulations.  To find out more about the Hopelink program, visit the Hopelink website at https://www.hope-link.org/take_action/poverty_simulation/.  Such programs are generally open not just to members of the host congregation, but to members of other congregations and other interested participants.

PROGRAM: Eastside Human Services Forum
Marnie Maldonado is the new Coordinator for the Eastside Human Services Forum, replacing Debbie Lacy.  She is also a former board member of the Forum.  The purpose of the Forum is to foster strong public/private partnerships to provide robust human services to communities on the Eastside.  Members of the Forum’s Board of Directors include elected representatives of King County, the cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, and Redmond and representatives of number of social service organizations such as Hopelink, Youth Eastside Services, Evergreen Health, and others (including, of course, EISCC).  They bring groups of people together to maximize resources and to educate and influence decision makers (elected officials).

They have established work groups to look into what is happening in different service areas.  They have a sub-committee on legislation and one on marketing (which focuses on communication with the wider community).  Their outreach includes articles in the local Reporter papers and the Issaquah Press.

The groups make plans for the year and consider legislation in process.  The hope is to raise awareness in the wider community (including, especially, the elected officials) about housing and homelessness, hunger, and other human services issues.

Their work plan includes elements dealing with advocacy, fostering partnerships, and access to opportunities.  They very much like connecting with groups to engage them in discussion.  They are concerned with seniors issues and will next be looking at youth and mental health (or perhaps just mental health more broadly).  She noted that there have been 4 recent suicides in Issaquah High School alone.  In the fall, they expect to begin looking into fundraising and how siloed donations affect care and services.  She looks forward to working with EISCC in the future, and thanked us for our participation to date.  To contact Marnie, call 425-220-3389 or e-mail to marnie@eastsideforum.org.  For more information about the EHSF, visit their website at eastsideforum.org.  You can find a copy of their 2015 Work Plan there.

This year, there will be two Eastside CROP Walks for Hunger  with Church Worldwide Services.  The first will be held on Saturday, May 17, 9:30 am to 1 pm.  Registration begins at 9:15 am.  This will start at Hopelink in Kirkland.  The second walk will be Sunday, May 18, 1 – 3 pm, at the Bellevue First Methodist Church, 1934 108th Ave NE, Bellevue.  Proceeds from both events will go to local organizations such as Hopelink and other international charities which work to eliminate hunger.  For more details on both events, go the Church Worldwide Services website  http://hunger.cwsglobal.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_wa .  More details about the events can be found at our EISCC website at eiscc.net/ ?page_id=316 .

Steve Roberts reported that the Winter Shelters run by Congregations for the Homeless have served roughly 90 people a night in Bellevue and 20 a night in Snoqualmie Valley.  They will run through April.  He thanked us all for the support that we have provided to these efforts.  He also noted that there were still several open dates for meals.

Their annual CFH Luncheon will be held on April 30, 2015, from 11:30 am to 1 pm, at the Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way NE, in Bellevue.  Their featured speaker will be Rex Holbein, Executive Director of Facing Homelessness.  You can register on their website at www.cfhomeless.org .  For more information, contact Katherine Jordan, Director of Advancement, at 206-579-6607 or katherinej@cfhomeless.org .

Esperanza Borboa of the Eastside Legal Assistance Program reported on two upcoming lectures that they will be offering.  A lecture on The New Immigration Law will be held Wednesday, April 22, 2015, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Issaquah Public Library, 10 West Sunset Way, Issaquah.  Attorney Jay Stratton, who practices before immigration courts in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, will be the speaker.  The second lecture on Social Security 101: Understanding Your Benefits will be held on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, from 12 to 1:30 pm, at the Bellevue Public Library, 1111 110th Avenue NE, in Bellevue.  Kirk Larson, the Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration, will be the speaker.  For more information, visit www.elap.org /workshop_schedule.htm? .

Eastside Baby Corner reports that they are trying to grow.  They have just merged with the Northshore Baby Corner.  They will be holding a fundraiser in the hopes of securing donations.  Because of their larger size, they are looking for new office space.  Please let them know of possible sites of which you are aware.  For more information about EBC, visit their website at www.babycorner.org .

Susan Morrisson reported that there will be an Interfaith Earth Day event on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 11:45 am to 1:30 pm in Room 160 of the Seattle University Student Center sponsored by Seattle University, Earth Ministry, the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability, and other environmentally engaged groups.  The focus of the program will be on Indigenous Rights, Indignant Wrongs.  Lummi Nation elder Jewell James will be there as well as Mennonite activists from Mexico.   For more information, visit their website at www.seattleu.edu/cejs/News/Events/.

CLOSING REFLECTION:   Sandy Lewis provided the closing prayer.

THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 12:00 – 1:30 pm 
PROGRAM: Congregations for Kids
Dick Jacke, EISCC Secretary

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